Til en socialkonstruktionistisk læringsforståelse: Et teoretisk eksperiment

Til en socialkonstruktionistisk læringsforståelse: Et teoretisk eksperiment Eva Bertelsen & Ane Haxø DK 431 K

This thesis is an experiment. It offers a critical presentation and discussion of the main ideas in social constructionism, in order to investigate which understanding of learning we can construe with a social constructionist approach towards learning. To obtain this goal we specifically examine the expression power of social constructionism in three central areas: 1) The relationship between subject and object, 2) the telos of learning, and 3) the mechanisms of learning.

Concerning 1) we conclude that the traditional epistemological focus on the relationship between subject and object with the social constructionist approach is moved to the relationship between subjects. Knowledge is being created not only socially, but does also obtain its legitimacy in the social space. In this way the object is being theorized as an intersubjective construction, and learning becomes a matter of participating in this intersubjective construction of meaning and knowledge.

Concerning 2) we narrow the telos of learning to become an issue of solidarity. A social constructionist ideal of education contains an ironic approach and accept of the contingency in every observation and description of the world. Formation thus becomes a question of form rather than substance - about a certain way to look at and relate to the world.

Finally about 3) we find that with a social constructionist approach, mechanisms of learning eventually must be looked upon as social processes. Via learning the subject and practice are being constituted and changed in a two-sided process where the subject itself becomes a subject (subjectified) and the social world is being constituted, challenged, and changed. The investigation of learning from a social constructionist perspective moves focus from the question of how learning is working cognitively, inside peoples minds, to the question of what learning do to us and the concept of learning is hereby expanded to an existentialistic level.

We conclude that social constructionism contributes new aspects to theory of learning in the form of an anti-individualistic approach towards learning and the emphasis on critical awareness in educational processes.

Throughout the whole thesis we examine what consequences a social constructionist-based theory of learning has in an educational context. We argue that such a learning theory would pose a challenge to the school system; a challenge where the traditional relations of power in the educational situation must be made objects of a critical (linguistic) awareness. The school should point beyond itself by equipping students with the ability to reflect on and relate to constructions of meaning and relations of power in general.