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Democratic constructivist science education: enabling egalitarian literacy and self-actualization

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Although pedagogical approaches drawing on constructivist learning theories often place students in environments that are to resemble professional knowledge-building communities, paradoxically, they also orchestrate students' re-constructions to harmonize with canons of Western science. Under the cover of social-constructivist epistemologies and Vygotskian pedagogies, students' prior conceptions are denigrated, their experiences regulated, their investigations shepherded, and their conclusions restricted. Such actions are undemocratic-citizens' literacy is confined to that narrowly defined by society's eĀ“lite and, therefore, is not egalitarian. Students have few opportunities to become self-actualized-to develop in ways unique to their needs, interests, abilities and perspectives. After elaborating these concerns, I provide a framework for curriculum development that may help democratize science education. It is an approach that gives priority to personalization, inclusion, problematization, explicitness, apprenticeship, authenticity and freedom.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-11-01

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