X-Message-Number: 19194
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 00:41:40 EDT
Subject: Re: CryoNet #19186 - #19188

In a message dated 6/2/02 2:00:54 AM,  writes:

<< From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Constructivism
Scott Badger is certainly correct in noting that many science educators have 
embraced this theory in constructing new teaching strategies, loosely grouped 
under the term 'discovery learning.'  I grant that in this context the 
constructivist theory takes on an aura of plausibility and legitimacy.  
However, it is the very same theory that has been used in other context to 
trash empirical science.  Regarding discovery learning, per se, I don't 
believe that the results are fully persuasive, even so.  It sounds good and 
it works perhaps to motivate students to engage more fully with the science 
curriculum, but as a model for teaching everything there is to know in the 
sciences, even at the elementary level, it is cumbersome to the point of 
ludicrousness.  We may be motivated to begin a learning process through some 
sort of rediscovery experience, but we don't absorb all the knowledge we 
should know about the world through rediscovering it.  The Science Education 
Directorate of the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies 
have spent tens of millions of scarce tax dollars shoring up the discovery 
notion over the last two decades, and they have precious little to show for 
it in improved science education as far as I have been able to tell.  They 
have, however, provided gainful employment for a lot of sociologists and 
other social scientists and educators of a particular philosophical bent to 
promote the ideology of social constructivism.  This does not serve to 
strengthen public understanding of what science is all about, IMO.  This is 
rather off topic for cryonics, of course, except that, in the long run, good, 
solid, science education is going to be a friend of cryonics and other 
important and future-oriented endeavors such as cloning, understanding the 
basics of life, extending lives, and searching for extra-terrestial 

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