What is Dialectical Constructivism?

In Cognitive Psychology and Instruction by Roger H. Bruning, Gregory J. Schraw, and Royce R. Ronning, the general term of constructivism is defined as a psychological leaning which "generally emphasizes the learner's contribution to meaning and learning through both individual and social activity… In the constructivist view, learners arrive at meaning by selecting information and constructing what they know." (1999, p. 215)  The authors indicate three types of constructivism: exogenous (reconstruction of pre-existing ideas), endogenous (new abstract knowledge developing through cognitive activity based on predictable sequences), and dialectical (source of knowledge is based on social interactions between learners and environments). (Bruning et al., pp. 216-217)

Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky , according to Bruning et al., viewed "all higher human cognitive functions [as having] their origin in each individual's social interactions in a social cultural context." (p. 217) In Vygotsky's theory, he ascertains that a zone of proximal development can be defined as "the difference between the difficulty level of a problem a child can cope with independently and the level that can be accomplished without help." (Bruning et al., 1999, p. 218)  A helpful diagram of his proposed stages can be viewed at this site.

The concept of constructivism is permeating the field of education.  Teachers are asking themselves if their common classroom practices fall in line with this train of thought.  One purpose of this site is to determine whether or not the assignment of homework, specifically in grades K-12, supports the concept of dialectical constructivism.


"...In the constructivist view, learners arrive at meaning by selecting information and constructing what they know."
(Bruning et al., 1999, p. 215)

Home Page | What is Dialectical Constructivism? | The Perceived Problem with Homework | Research of the Pros of Homework, Part 1 | Research of the Pros of Homework, Part 2 | Research of the Cons of Homework | Concerns Affecting Homework, Part 1 | Concerns Affecting Homework, Part 2 | Suggestions for Teachers | Conclusions