Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
While I believe that there is room for a criticism of constructivism on numerous grounds, and may even one day endeavour to understake such a criticism, I don't think that offered by Chet Bowers is it, or even close. I managed to get about halfway through before abandoning the effort to read it. That said, Leigh Blackall has performed a considerable service by extracting the key arguments from Bowers's book, The false promises of constructivist theories of learning. You can see what irked me about the argument. For example, Bowers makes sweeping generalizations that are probably wrong - "Generally overlooked in the worldwide effort to promote the Western model of development is that one of the primary driving forces is the further automation of the process of production" - um, I mean, what? And he argues against people by pointing out what they don't say, rather than identifying what they do say, and engaging them on that. Perhaps before saying "[Dewey's] silences and misconceptions [include] his failure to recognize the world's culturally diverse knowledge systems..." it may make more sense to describe and discuss what he does say about cultural pluralism (which is a lot).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Oct 01, 2023 01:15 a.m.

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