Reflections on Constructivism, Criticalism & Postmodernism (Journal 5B)

Journal 5B

Please reflect here on your learning experiences during this topic and also during the unit as a whole…take the opportunity to review your overall learning journey.

In reflecting on your learning journey (i) what has been of most interest and value to you and (ii) what issues/concepts might you be struggling with or are simply less interested in?

At the first time, I think that this unit just provides the understanding the powerful of constructivism epistemology. However, since I wrote the previous journal on using constructivism as a referent and this journal on including the moral value makes me understand the integration of conceptual understanding for applying constructivism. I am exciting that that this journal helps me to realize the other things that I used to be ignored. Since I worked on this journal, I realize and reflect on pedagogical practices which I found that I ignored my students as human being who need to handle with care. I thought that school is a “formal” place to “transfer” the knowledge which put more emphasize on cognitive aspects rather than emotionally. Even though, my lecturer taught me about the psychology development of the children, but it just became the memorizing knowledge of emotional development of students (again to pass the unit in my undergraduate degree). Moreover, I remember my parents (both of them have been teaching for more than 20 years) told me that my feelings and how I handle my students will influence my students understanding and behaviour. They points out that view based their own experiences which encourage them to be the caring teachers. A couple years ago, I just thought, because they taught elementary school, so, they need to be caring and patient with the students, but since I wrote this journal I realize the ethic of care is vital in education, in the relationship between teacher and students.

Moreover, the other rule of moral accountability in education is dealing with several education problems such as students’ misbehaviour. I remember when I thought secondary school which all the students were boys and had misbehavior and I used to see the teachers applied the physical punishments to deal with the students. The results were the students were afraid and well behaved just when the teachers were available. As a result, they became resistance with the punishment. The punishment as a solution is failed, since the problems in that school was getting worst, such as 90% were failed in national examination, students were absent for at least one month, students involved in drug, fighting, and criminal. I think that if the emancipatory ethic and ethic of care are integrated in that school, the problems of students-teacher relationship, students’ learning process, and students’ misbehaviour could be handled. Therefore, these values are important to be integrated in the learning process.

In addition, I found the readings on this last journal (for me) is really challenging, not only because of the difficulties on language, but also the philosophy both postmodernism, constructivism, and values in education it self which need depth thinking on it. Moreover, the reading by Taylor helps me to understand the importance of ethics and care. When I read this journal, I felt that I read about myself as Peter’s student. If Peter asked to judge the quality standard on pedagogical thoughtfulnessJ, I will answer, the reading is really engaging on identifying and reflecting of myself as a learner and an educator. Moreover, my appreciation for Peter, my lecturer who not only gave me the understanding of the importance of ethics and care in education, but also always interacts in that ways. As a lecturer who never judge my “narrow” understanding, my “slender” transformation process, and my “floating” thinking. I view Peter as an educator who is “emphatic, honest, interdependent and trustful relationship”, as the role model teacher who I want to be.

Moreover, I realize the powerful of constructivism approach and transformative learning to be applied in my classroom. Based on my learning experiences within the transformative learning process, I can fell how the learning process stimulates me to think critically, think and reflect of myself, and envision my future life, especially on my pedagogical practices. In addition, I also comprehend the politically-driven of education system in my country as well as my roles as a government employee who has to face the bureaucracy. I had to face the reality that it’s easy for me to trap on the myth of objectivism, rationalism, cold reason, and hard control (Taylor, 1996). However, I prefer to struggle to shift my paradigms into the transformative educator, rather than I give up staying within my comfortable zone as a controller teacher and a passive learner. The suggestions from Taylor on the communicative action on educational relationship and ethics of care will help to deal with the challenges that I will face in my classroom. I believe that the education is the long-life process which is difficult to separate it with the moral, values, emancipatory ethics, and ethic of care.

Furthermore, before I write my reflections on overall this unit, I read again my writing on my entry journal and I found that I had uncertainty on how online learning experiences can be engaging and meaningful. But, I can say now, this unit is the most challenging and engaging on my depth thinking. In addition, the learning experiences is also integrating, since every time I write my journals and reflect on my own practices, I need to back again to re-examine my understanding on previous topics.

The most interest that I learnt in this topic is radical constructivism, since I am really curious about the concept of this constructivism which used to criticize by others. Even though, I really struggle to understand the depth-philosophy on the reality and the ways of knowing the reality (I almost gave up when I wrote down journal two ;)). In my religion, we believe that the absolute truth about the reality is “the God eyes”, human are just trying to find out the truth. Therefore, human will never know the ‘absolute truth’. I reflect it into my understanding on teaching science, and then science knowledge becomes the historical process, rather than the absolute truth of knowledge. However move on social constructivist and socio-culture of science classroom, I becomes having “soft” understanding which allow me to understand that my reality is subjective and need to be negotiated with others through socially process. The “truth” which is determined by “science community” or “western science” community stimulates me to think about my own “science culture”, if I have my own science culture, where can I put in my classroom to engage my students? Since I never think about it and used to serve the privileged of western science.

The other interest issue that I concern is using constructivism as a referent which will helps me to deals with my own teaching context. The suggestions by Tobin and Tippins on the teaching, assessments, and research under constructivism view are really applicable. Now, I didn’t think constructivism in teaching as the impossible approach to be applied in the large number of students and under standardized system. Applying constructivism in the assessment remind me to think about the goal and the basic principle of doing the assessment which is not only for getting the grade as the administration requirement, but also for understanding my students ways of thinking which will allow me to apply different approaches of assessments. Moreover, I also comprehend that using the constructivism as a referent for doing my research, understanding myself and others will help me to using research as the way to empower myself and others, develop my pedagogical practices, and give contributions for my institutions, my country, and the knowledge.

The value that I learnt in this unit is becoming the communicative teacher who has emancipator ethics and the ethics of care. I realize that, it is important to understand my students as human being, rather than the “chamber” to replicate the science knowledge. These values will help me to deal with the transformation process of myself and my students, to engage my students within the communicative education relationship. Moreover, I also realize my role as teachers’ educator who has responsible to educate my students’ teacher to develop the trusting and caring relationship with their students (Lake, Jones, & Dagli, 2004). I have to be careful that I could become the role model for my students’ teacher. Therefore, I should learn to view my students not as the individuals under my control who could be forced, but as human beings who need to handle with care. I should learn how to appreciate my students’ learning process, learn not to judge their understanding as “the wrong” ways, and learn to be emancipatory, empathic and caring teacher.

Now, I think that I have more understanding (I am afraid to say “depth-understanding), J on the constructivism. Since I learnt different type of constructivism, I think that I have to struggle now to put all those puzzles into my own understanding on constructivism view, since I used to have simple understanding of the constructivism. I realize that the powerful of constructivism to be applied in the classroom. In addition, on applying the constructivism and the transformation process in my pedagogical practices, I will refer to Willison and Taylor (in Press) on integral perspectives on different views (modernism and postmodernism, objectivism and constructivism, etc.), dialectical thinking, constructivism as a referent, emancipatory ethic, and ethic of care. These all concepts will help me to deal with the problems and to think reflectively and critically within any situations.

Finally, I closed this journal by saying thanks for these inspiring, exciting, and challenging learning experiences. This journey opens the “closed window” of my thinking which putting the great emphasize of critical and reflective thinking and depth-understanding. Finishing this journal doesn’t mean the end of my journey, but it becomes my starting point to move forward to learn to be a transformative learner and educator, and a life-long learner.


Lake, V., Jones, I., & Dagli, U. (2004). Handle with care: Integrating caring content in mathematics and science methods. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 19(1), 5-17.

Taylor, P.C. (1996). Mythmaking and mythbreaking in the mathematics claasroom. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 31(1,2), 151-173.

Willison, J.W. & Taylor, P.C. (in press). Complementary epistemologies of science teaching: Towards an integral perspective. Draft chapter of Analogy and Metaphor in Science Education. The Netherland: Kluwer Academic Publishers.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Joanna Jamolod on December 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Very interesting!
    I’m glad that you’re having this journey! 🙂


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