| Von Glasersfeld's answers - September II 2005  |


Question 1:

Dr. Glaserfeld: I am pursuing my doctorate in journalism education. I
have conducted a case study of a specialized documentary program. I want
to know what your thoughts are with regard to what I see as a tension or
conflict between holding a radical constructivist perspective and some of
the academic requirements for doctoral level research. That is, I am
being asked to "adhere" to accepted protocols of data analysis, to adopt
an existing theoretical framework for the analysis of observations and
interviews, and I'm a bit paralyzed by my belief that it is somewhat of a
sham to fit interpretation into a prescribed template while at the same
time admitting that all interpretation is based on a person's experiences
and beliefs. How do would you argue for "original" methods, or
individualized methods, in current academic environments?
Mary Greenbank


Answer 1:
Dear Ms Greenbank,
Radical constructivism is in no way opposed to the practice of science or
the thinking up of models to systematize and "explain" experiential data;
it only objects to the passing off of such models as the gospel truth.
You do not betray your convictions if you "adhere to accepted protocols
of data analysis, to adopt an existing theoretical framework for the
analysis of observations and interviews." You don't have to discuss the
epistemological status of the theoretical models with your profs, the
models will be good if they work.
Best wishes,
Ernst von Glasersfeld
Question 2:
I am a graduate student at the University of Georgia in the Department of
Mathematics and Science Education, a place you know well I believe. I am
taking Mary Atwater's curriculum course and would like to know a little
bit more about you and your beliefs.
Specifically, I have a question for you: I would am interested in the most
important theoretical foundations of constructivism and how these
foundations could be applied to science education and specifically in
terms of science curriculum. I would appreciate any response for which you
have time.
Thank you! - Jessie Draper
Jessie R. Draper, MA
Graduate Student & Assistant
Department of Mathematics and Science Education
Learning & Performance Support Lab-LPSL
University of Georgia
706-354-1564 (home)
706-247-5211 (cell)
Answer 2:
Dear Jessie Draper,
I appreciate your interest in my ideas. However, the question you ask is
so general that I would have to rewrite several book chapters and a
dozen papers to answer it. I would suggwest that you look at my
bibliography at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/EvG/  and choose
something to download from there. In addition I think you should go and
talk to Professor Les Steffe in the former UGA Department of Math.Ed.
Best wishes,
Ernst von Glasersfeld





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