Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
In the United States, constructionist learning theory (i.e. constructionism) underpins many instantiations of pre-college engineering education both out-of-school and in-school. In either context, constructionism has been framed as a means to breakdown traditional teaching/learning hierarchies, reconstituting education as student-centered, design-based, and hands-on. The common positioning of the teacher or adult by constructionism is that of the facilitator or coach who provides young people with resources and a context for creative and self-directed exploration but does not lead, lecture, or insist on predetermined outcomes. It has long been recognized that the constructionist positioning of the teacher creates tensions and difficulties when pushed up against the standardized and top-down structures of traditional schooling. Considering this history, how does the constructionist positioning of the teacher play out in 21st century pre-college engineering education? To begin answering this question, this paper uses a descriptive case study methodology to analyze qualitative data of one Upstate New York middle school technology teacher who embodied constructionism while exposing students to engineering design across in- and out-of-school contexts. This case reveals how the constructionist positioning of the teacher can create a pedagogic double bind where self-directed and hands-on learning with constructionist technologies may be simultaneously perceived as an advantage for personalized student learning and development, and also as a disadvantage for their achievement in larger educational structures in- and out-of-school.
Lachney, M., & Allen, M. C., & Green, B. P. (2020, June), The Double Bind of Constructionism: A Case Study on the Barriers for Constructionist Learning in Pre-college Engineering Education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35303
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