In ELT, It’s Time for Constructivists to get Real

| December 29, 2006
Title
In ELT, It’s Time for Constructivists to get Real

Keywords: No Keyword

Authors
Shaun O’Dwyer
David English House, Hiroshima, Japan
School of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Bio Data
Shaun O Dwyer received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of New South Wales in 1999. He now teaches English as a foreign language to children and adults at David English House in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, and is a visiting research fellow in the School of Philosophy, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He has published papers on a number of subjects, including classical pragmatism, contemporary Confucian philosophy, feminist philosophy, metaphysics and the philosophy of English language education.

Abstract
The philosophy and psychology of constructivism has become more and more influential in English language teaching, especially through the popularity of books such as Williams and Burden s Psychology for Language Teachers (1997). However, so far there has not been much critical examination of constructivism in ELT. In this article I argue that the subjective and dualistic notion of reality that some constructivists espouse is incompatible with their professed experimental and social interactionist conception of English language learning. This leads them to an incoherent understanding of language classroom realities. I propose a more philosophically robust and consistent understanding of those realities to serve as a background for reflective teaching practice.

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See pages 233-253

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 8 Issue 4