1st Edition

Constructivist Instruction Success or Failure?

Edited By Sigmund Tobias, Thomas M. Duffy Copyright 2009
    392 Pages
    by Routledge

    388 Pages
    by Routledge

    Constructivist Instruction: Success or Failure? brings together leading thinkers from both sides of the hotly debated controversy about constructivist approaches to instruction. Although constructivist theories and practice now dominate the fields of the learning sciences, instructional technology, curriculum and teaching, and educational psychology, they have also been the subject of sharp criticism regarding sparse research support and adverse research findings. This volume presents:

    • the evidence for and against constructivism;
    • the challenges from information-processing theorists; and
    • commentaries from leading researchers in areas such as text comprehension, technology, as well as math and science education, who discuss the constructivist framework from their perspectives.

    Chapters present detailed views from both sides of the controversy. A distinctive feature of the book is the dialogue built into it between the different positions. Each chapter concludes with discussions in which two authors with opposing views raise questions about the chapter, followed by the author(s)’ responses to those questions; for some chapters there are several cycles of questions and answers. These discussions, and concluding chapters by the editors, clarify, and occasionally narrow the differences between positions and identify needed research.

    Foreword, Robert J. Sternberg


    Part I. Introduction

    Chapter 1. The Success or Failure of Constructivist Instruction: An Introduction

    Sigmund Tobias and Timothy M. Duffy

    Part II. The Evidence for Constructivism

    Chapter 2. Reconciling a Human Cognitive Architecture

    David Jonassen

    Chapter 3. Constructivism in an Age of Non-Constructivist Assessments

    Daniel L. Schwartz, Robb Lindgren, and Sarah Lewis

    Chapter 4. Taking Guided Learning Theory to School: Reconciling the Cognitive, Motivational, and Social Contexts of Instruction

    Phillip Herman and Louis M. Gomez

    Chapter 5. Beyond More Versus Less: A Reframing of the Debate on Instructional Guidance

    Alyssa Friend Wise and Kevin O’Neill

    Chapter 6. Constructivism: When It's the Wrong Idea and When It's the Only Idea

    Rand J. Spiro and Michael DeSchryver

    Part III. Challenges to the Constructivist View

    Chapter 7. What Human Cognitive Architecture Tells Us About Constructivism

    John Sweller

    Chapter 8. Epistemology or Pedagogy, That Is the Question

    Paul A. Kirschner

    Chapter 9. How Much and What Type of Guidance is Optimal for Learning?

    Richard E. Clark

    Chapter 10. Constructivism as a Theory of Learning Versus Constructivism as a Prescription for Instruction.

    Richard E. Mayer

    Chapter 11. The Empirical Support for Direct Instruction

    Barak Rosenshine

    Part IV. An Examination of Specific Learning and Motivational Issues

    Chapter 12. Learning and Constructivism

    Walter Kintsch

    Chapter 13. From Behaviorism to Constructivism: A Philosophical Journey from Drill and Practice to Situated Learning

    J. D. Fletcher

    Chapter 14. What’s Worth Knowing about Mathematics?

    Melissa Sommerfeld Gresalfi and Frank Lester

    Chapter 15. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens" What about Direct Instruction?

    David Klahr

    Chapter 16. Beyond the Fringe: Building and Evaluating Scientific Knowledge Systems

    Richard A. Duschl and Ravit Golan Duncan

    Part V. Summing Up

    Chapter 17. An Eclectic Appraisal of the Success or Failure of Constructivist Instruction

    Sigmund Tobias

    Chapter 18. Building Lines of Communication and a Research Agenda

    Thomas M. Duffy


    Sigmund Tobias is Distinguished Research Scientist at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education and Visiting Professor of Cognitive Studies in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His scholarly credentials include a long list authored, co-authored, and edited scholarly publications; grants; awards; invited addresses, and conference presentations. In addition, he is one of five former refugees who participated in the documentary film, Shanghai Ghetto, describing how a group of European Jews found safety from the Holocaust in Shanghai, China, during the Second World War, and which which won an Audience Choice Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Tobias returned to Shanghai as a Visiting Professor at the Shanghai Institute of Education, where he began a memoir describing the life of his family in the refugee community in Shanghai. The book was subsequently published as Strange Haven: A Jewish Childhood in Wartime Shanghai.

    Thomas M. Duffy is the Barbara Jacobs Chair of Education and Technology at Indiana University and the founding director of the Center for Research on Learning and Technology. He is a professor in instructional systems technology and the cognitive science program. His academic career has been dedicated to exploring the design and use of information in education and the workplace. Professor Duffy has written or edited several books and is the author of over 100 papers on learning, performance, and technology. He and his colleagues have also developed the Ready Program (adult literacy instruction), Strategic Teaching Frameworks (multimedia, teacher professional development), and ACT, an asynchronous collaboration tool for small group problem solving.

    "I highly recommend this book to everyone in the field of educational technology, regardless of their "bent" for or against constructivist learning environments."--Educational Technology