Constructivism and authentic pedagogy: state of the art and recent developments in the Dutch national curriculum in secondary education
The recently introduced national curriculum for the first stage of Dutch secondary education requires not only a change in educational content but also a change in educational processes. The knowledge students acquire is expected to be related to everyday life, and to be meaningfully embedded in society. Furthermore, the student is expected to use social and cognitive strategies such as researching, collaborating, and expressing opinions. The accompanying learning environment necessitates active and interactive learners as well as teachers who use various strategies to promote 'authentic learning'. To what extent do Dutch teachers use teaching strategies to foster authentic learning? From 1993 to 1996, three large Dutch secondary schools (between 1000-1400 students) were subjected to an in-depth inquiry. These schools were expected to implement the state-mandated innovations in the 1993-1994 core curriculum. The results show that none of the schools scores highly on the characteristics of authentic pedagogy. Authentic pedagogy demands a major change in the teacher's role, including a change in the use of curricular materials and the development of new teaching strategies embedded in a supporting school organization. The results are viewed in the context of the recent discussion on information-processing theory versus radical constructivism. Implications for curriculum and classroom practice are suggested.