This volume provides a needed elaboration of theories and potential applications of constructivism in science education. Although the term "constructivism" is used widely, there has been a dearth of materials to guide science educators concerning the potential of constructivism to influence what is done in the field. In fact, there has been a tendency for constructivism to be viewed as a method that can be used in a classroom. This view tends to diminish the power of constructivism as a way of thinking about education, and in particular, about science education. The chapters in this book address the need to document the theoretical roots of constructivism and to describe how practitioners have applied constructivist oriented beliefs in the practice of K-12 teaching of science and mathematics, as well as teacher education. Not only does this book contain different theoretical perspectives on constructivism, but it also features a chapter that critiques constructivism as an epistemology. Specific topics covered include:
* cooperative learning,
* the negotiation of meaning,
* problem centered learning,
* social construction of knowledge,
* science in culturally diverse settings,
* curriculum planning and implementation, and
* instructional technology.
Issues associated with the preparation and enhancement of science teachers and the reform of science education are also explored.
Contents: Preface. Part I: The Nature of Constructivism. K. Tobin, D. Tippins, Constructivism as a Referent for Teaching and Learning. E. von Glasersfeld, Questions and Answers about Radical Constructivism. A. Bettencourt, The Construction of Knowledge: A Radical Constructivist View. W.W. Cobern, Contextual Constructivism: The Impact of Culture on the Learning and Teaching of Science. R.G. Good, J.H. Wandersee, J. St. Julien, Cautionary Notes on the Appeal of the New "Ism" (Constructivism) in Science Education. Part II: Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics. M.C. Linn, N.C. Burbules, Construction of Knowledge and Group Learning. G.H. Wheatley, The Role of Negotiation in Mathematics Learning. E. Jakubowski, Constructing Potential Learning Opportunities in Middle Grades Mathematics. W-M. Roth, Construction Sites: Science Labs and Classrooms. A.J. Gallard, Learning Science in Multicultural Environments. J.J. Gallagher, Secondary Science Teachers and Constructivist Practice. L.P. Rieber, A Pragmatic View of Instructional Technology. Part III: Teacher Learning and Change. K. Tobin, Constructivist Perspectives on Teacher Learning. F.P. Peterman, Staff Development and the Process of Changing: A Teacher's Emerging Constructivist Beliefs about Learning and Teaching. T. Russell, Learning to Teach Science: Constructivism, Reflection, and Learning from Experience. K.L. Shaw, M.L. Etchberger, Transitioning into Constructivism: A Vignette of a Fifth Grade Teacher. P.C.S. Taylor, Collaborating to Reconstruct Teaching: The Influence of Researcher Beliefs. J. Confrey, Learning to See Children's Mathematics: Crucial Challenges in Constructivist Reform. Part IV: Conclusions. T.M. Dana, N.T. Davis, On Considering Constructivism for Improving Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning.