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Ernesto Villasenor

Social Justice Fellow, LA County Education Foundation (LACEF)

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Constructivist Learning and Teaching: A possible way of addressing education disparities?

Constructivist learning and teaching imply the notion and suggest that learning is most effective when the individual is actively engaged in the learning process rather than being in a passive environment, the latter being the case in most learning environments.

There has been a surge in the US in terms of implementing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education initiatives, with the primary focus of preparing our students for the future's economic and societal developments, which will revolve primarily around science and technology.

As an individual that has acquired much information and experience within the STEM fields through the accessibility of programs that encourage constructivist learning and teaching methods, do you believe that such methods of learning could reduce education disparities throughout the entire board, specifically focusing on the K-12 public education?


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    Sep 4 2012: A big problem with education today is that people are better and better educated about fewer and fewer things. The STEMs are good, but far too incomplete. They must be balanced by the right-brain equivalents to make them relevant to more. They must also be connected to reasons other than money (other fields of inquiry), because when one steps out of the paradigm that you seem to be describing, money is no longer a motivator and self-imposed slavery is no longer worthwhile.

    Ken Robinson notes that we cannot prepare students for the global economy to come. What he doesn't say (because he speaks of education) is that the economy to come will not be like the one we have now - the one that is failing quickly because of growing population combined with growing automation leading to the elimination of consumers that now sustain the economy. Combine the corrupt economic model that was instituted by the few to create a "race of laborers" (slaves) with the growing number of people who are aware of what has happened to them, and the future will be very different indeed, and the STEMs that you mention may be far less important for most, than how to can vegetables.
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      Sep 4 2012: Yes of course!

      The way the country is moving in education, focusing on the STEM fields and the heavily tech-influenced economy creates for an education industrial complex within both K-12 education and at times, higher education.

      The thing that is not taught in school, something that is crucial, is the following: if you pursue your passions in education and through a career, money will not be an issue.
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      Sep 5 2012: Breaking old paradigms cen be an intensely traumatic process. No one does it out of choice.
      Add to that the efforts of the plutocracy to keep the sheep on the farm and the task begins to look daunting.
      The benefits need to be demonstrated clearly and personally.
      De-specialisation is a thing that few can trust whilever the myth of time-scarcity is accepted as fact.
      All that was missing from previous agrarian and hunter/gatherer models was ubiquitous communication.
      In both these models, there was an abundance of surplus time in which individuals could follow passions and accomplish mastery - but word-of-mouth was the only method to capture the value generated by these passions.
      If network infrastructure can be preserved through a collapse or transition, we then face a quandry - the internet is becoming our repository of human knowledge and value - we need only google to know almost anything at all, our brains no longer need to retain these things but what is mising is the means of further acquisition - if you can google it, you do not need to develop the skills to generate it. This needs to be addressed. The alternative is the tragedy of the LIbrary of Alexandria. THis is important.
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        Sep 5 2012: I would love to find information about the history of the Iroquois nation. I know the basics but not the details. This is a federation of nations that lived in peace for more than 200 years. They did so until the Europeans came, threw off the balance of nature (plundered the hunting grounds that allowed them to live in peace - sharing earth's great bounties and helping one another).

        Of course, they weren't overpopulated like we are, but they did choose to come together and take the risk of declaring peace, and it worked very well. They had a representative government, but it was limited in its areas of governance (as the USA government is supposed to be, but is no longer since the Supreme Court threw out the constitution as the law of the land.)

        I too worry that there could be a 2nd destruction of the knowledge of humankind. It IS important to preserve the knowledge repository. But I disagree that googling inhibits the "desire" to develop skills.; For me, it inspires. I've learned more in the last 5-10 years than I learned in the entirety of my "education".
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          Sep 5 2012: yes - I think it would be a worthy persuit to learn more of a culture that was at peace and did not over-populate. It's a shame the Iroquois had no internet.
          If you gain a comprehensive knowledge of them, do you intend to record that knowledge on wikipedia?
          And for the sake of the topic - do you know anything of their mode of education?

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