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Constructivist Pedagogy


by Virginia Richardson 2003

This article constitutes a critique from the inside of constructivist pedagogy. It begins with a short history of constructivist pedagogy and its relationship to constructivist learning theory. It then addresses four issues in the ways in which constructivist pedagogy are being approached in research and practice. The first issue recommends more of a research focus on student learning in classrooms that engage in constructivist pedagogy. The second leads to the suggestion of theory development that provides an understanding and descriptions of more and less effective constructivist teaching. The third centers on the necessarily deep subject matter knowledge required of teachers who adopt constructivist pedagogy; and the difficulty this requirement imposes on elementary teachers who must deal with many subject matter areas. And the fourth issue raises the possibility that the vision of constructivist pedagogy, as presently recommended, if not mandated, locally and nationally, is strongly ideological and may impose, inappropriately, a dominant view of pedagogy on those who wish to operate differently.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 9, 2003, p. 1623-1640
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11559, Date Accessed: 12/15/2017 7:03:18 AM

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About the Author
  • Virginia Richardson
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    VIRGINIA RICHARDSON is Chair of Educational Studies, School of Education, University of Michigan, and Professor of teaching and teacher education. Her research interests focus on teacher change through teacher education, professional development, and organization change as well as the moral dimensions of classrooms. She has written and edited a number of books, including the Handbook of Research on Teaching (4th ed.), and Constructivist Teacher Education: Building a New World of Understanding, and many articles and chapters. She recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
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