You are on page 1of 3

Running head: VON GLASERSFELD REJOICES CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING

Thought Paper 3:
Von Glasersfeld Rejoices
Constructive Learning and
Rejects Behaviourist Theory
Heather Woodland
24544041
University of British Columbia

Author Note
This paper was prepared for ETEC 512, Section 64 B, taught by Professor Sunah Cho.

Running head: VON GLASERSFELD REJOICES CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING

Von Glasersfeld Rejoices Constructive Learning and Rejects Behaviourist Theory


" to assess the truth of your knowledge you would have to know what you come to know
before you come to know it" (Von Glasersfeld, 37)
" it appears that knowledge is not a transferable commodity and communication not a
conveyance". (Von Glasersfeld, 48)
In Von Glasersfelds article, Learning As Constructive Activity, he states the above two
quotes. What is meant by these quotes and how do these ideas impact constructivist teaching?
Overall both quotes reinforce his belief in the importance of constructivist theory and the
detrimental effects that behaviourist theory brings to learning and education.
What was Von Glasersfeld implying through his first quote? Initially as you read through the
quote it seems an improbable possibility that someone (in particular a student/ child) could find
the extent of their knowledge before they have learned it. Knowing before you know appears to
put the horse before the cart. It seems that Von Glasersfeld realizes that a learner works
beyond a robotic system of inputs. The learner works, through experiential activities and
interaction with the world and begins to construct a full picture of anyone part of knowledge.
However, the student is aware and amicable to a process where they are continually refining the
result of the full picture. This refinement process is continually repeating through a series of
reflections. In the youtube video titled Ernst von Glasersfeld on teaching and radical
constructivism, Von Glasersfeld formulates that this refinement process can be traced as
talking fosters reflections and reflections foster understanding and understanding fosters
reflections (Ernst von Glasersfeld, 2003)
The second quote seems to be a direct reaction against behaviourist notions. Von Glasersfeld
refuses to allow knowledge to be gained through facts that can be given by a teacher to their
students to be an acceptable way to gain knowledge. He outright rejects this as a method of
learning.

Running head: VON GLASERSFELD REJOICES CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING


References
Ernst von Glasersfeld on teaching and radical constructivism. (2003). YouTube. Retrieved
October 24, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YozoZxblQx8
Von Glasersfeld, E. (2008). Learning as a Constructive Activity. AntiMatters, 2(3), 33-49.