[IAEP] Concise explanation of Constructionism from the Learning Team

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Sun Aug 17 04:10:54 EDT 2008

On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 11:11 PM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 7:21 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 4:04 PM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 6:03 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 10:52 PM, Albert Cahalan <acahalan at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> Unfortunately, the cold hard facts don't support the ideas.
>>>>> In study after study, including the largest educational study
>>>>> ever done, the ideas have been proven to fail.
>>>> Links or it never happened, Albert. I have asked you over and over
>>>> what your evidence is, and you have never yet replied.
>>> I did, at least twice.
>> Not in a form I recognized as such. Make a page on one of the Wikis
>> for your evidence.
>>> Search the mailing list archives if
>>> you need to. (on laptop.org I believe, not sugarlabs.org)
>> What would I search for, and in which list? Searching for
> I forgot about lo-res.org, where the post resides.
> http://lists.lo-res.org/pipermail/its.an.education.project/2008-July/001361.html

Oh, that nonsense. Carol Lerche dissected your post quite well.
"Burning straw men", she said.

Project Follow Through did not investigate _Constructionism_, and the
report does not lead to the conclusion you draw. The actual conclusion
was that woolly-minded "systems" based on Dewey and on Piaget's
_Constructivism_, with no tested lesson plans, failed abysmally, and
that the one "system" that did include tested lesson plans was usable,
and thus the winner of _that competition_. To conclude from this study
that no other method is viable is one of the most woolly-minded
notions possible.

Now we in the Sugar community propose to think through and test a set
of lesson plans on both discovery and mastery (which would include
those basic skills you are pressing for). No woolly-mindedness

> I gave you **three** links. Please read them all.
> Note that it is directly a follow-up to you. I'm 99% sure
> that you got your own copy.

Oh, that nonsense. Carol Lerche dissected it quite well, I thought.
"Burning straw men."

>> "Can I get you to agree that all children
>> must memorize traditional arithmetic methods long before getting
>> any exposure to vector calculus? Can I get you to agree that
>> constructionism does not work for teaching math?
> ...
>> The answers to your questions are
>> * No, children can grasp the concepts of vectors, calculus, and vector
>> calculus visually without any arithmetic. (You are confusing geometric
>> vectors with their numeric representations.)
> That sounds like a Math Appreciation course.

I suppose they _all_ sound like Math Appreciation, to *you*. It is
actually quite difficult to get college students who have been taught
how to calculate using numerical representations of vectors to grasp
that a vector is not any of its numerical representations. It exists
prior to the choice of an orthonormal basis for calculating

> It's a lot
> like a Music Appreciation course: an easy "A", and you
> don't really have to learn how to do the Math/Music.
> Superficial understanding is not of great value.

Among the greatest virtues of both Math and Music is that they deal
with mastery and performance, which cannot be faked. Unlike, say,
Literature or History. Or Music Criticism, or the Philosophy of Math.

On the other hand, all understanding of Math is quite severely
superficial. Knowledge is necessarily finite, and ignorance infinite.
Nevertheless, that superficial understanding has been quite seriously
valuable for thousands of years that we have records of.

>> * No, none of us agrees that Constructionism does not work for teaching math.
> So you are OK with this:
> http://mathematicallycorrect.com/ml1.htm
> More:
> http://mathematicallycorrect.com/nychold.htm

Of course not. It's woolly-minded rubbish. It has no connection with
Constructionism, either.

>> You have not named or linked to your alleged study. So, again, links
>> or it never happened.
> Maybe it's still in your inbox.

Yes, now that I know what terms to look for I can find it. But let's
try this once more. Project Follow Through says nothing about
Constructionism. Do you have any refutations of Constructionism?
Links, or it didn't happen.

Silent Thunder [ 默雷 / शब्दगर्ज ] is my name,
And Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place,
And Truth my destination.

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