Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patrick R. Lowenthal & Rodney Muth
In education, constructivism refers to theories of knowledge and learning. These theories state that knowledge is constructed rather than received from an objective world or external reality. For example, knowledge does not exist in a book but rather is produced by the reader in the process of reading. In day-to-day practice, however, constructivism is much more complicated; philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, scientists, and educators approach and understand this “simple” theory of knowledge and learning quite differently. Thus, constructivism perhaps is understood best as an academic construct or metaphor that describes many different ways of thinking about learning and knowledge acquisition, as summarized in this entry. Constructivism does not have a clear beginning: No single person or movement appears responsible for developing or laying the foundation for modern-day constructivist theories. The seeds of constructivist approaches, though, regularly are traced to Giovanni Battista Vico, Paul Goodman, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, John Dewey, and ...