The status of constructivism in chemical education research and its relationship to the teaching and learning of the concept of idealization in chemistry

Foundations of Chemistry 8 (2):153-176 (2006)
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A review of the chemical education research literature suggests that the term constructivism is used in two ways: experience-based constructivism and discipline-based constructivism. These two perspectives are examined as an epistemology in relation to the teaching and learning of the concept of idealization in chemistry. It is claimed that experience-based constructivism is powerless to inform the origin of such concepts in chemistry and while discipline-based constructivism can admit such theoretical concepts as idealization it does not offer any unique perspectives that cannot be obtained from other models. Chemical education researchers do not consistently appeal to constructivism as an epistemology or as a teaching/learning perspective and it is shown that, while it draws attention to worthwhile teaching/learning strategies, it cannot be considered as foundational to chemical education research and tends to be used more as an educational label than as an undergirding theory.



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