Constructivism, as both an epistemology and pedagogy, covers a range of theories about the nature of knowledge and its acquisition. Constructivist theories have in common a manifestly structuralist epistemology, typical of 20th-century modernity, that challenges the dualistic Cartesian and empiricist conceptualizations of knowledge—as well as the positivistic behaviorist theories and pedagogies—and the presumption that internal knowledge represents or mirrors the external world.

To varying degrees and in different ways, constructivist scholars hold that, rather than being passive receivers of an objectively available external truth, individual subjects actively construct knowledge through the development of increasingly sophisticated mental structures and by building knowledge on top of previously acquired knowledge. Challenging the primacy of rote, memorization, and lecture in classical pedagogy, many constructivists agree that students should develop ...

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