Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 7

In Chapter 7, Papert discusses the term “constructionism” and its meaning.  To my understanding, the word means that the puzzles to which students need to create an understanding of the concepts in a particular subject are present.  Very similar to the way a building is built, you first need all of the necessary components before any sort of construction can commence.  Once they are present, workers will begin to erect a building according to the blueprint.  Students will do the very same thing with learning.  They will take the pieces of the concept and put them together to gain enlightenment.  Maybe I’m completely wrong its meaning, but, again, that’s my take on it.

I love the African proverb mentioned in this chapter: “If a man is hungry you can give him a fish, but it is better to give him a line and teach him to catch fish himself.”.  I believe this is the aim for all of us to instill in our students.  A motivated desire to learn on their own with the knowledge of how to do so. I’ve mentioned before that students should be hunters and gatherers of information, but it is hard to do so when they have no clue on how to “hunt” and “gather”.   Until we start making the move to teach students how to learn on their own, they will continue to only wait for the fish to come to them instead of going after the fish themselves.

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One Response to “Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 7”

  1. I agree with your comment on constructivism being a learning process where the students take pieces of knowledge and put them together to form something. That to me is the only way to learn. I don’t, unfortunatly, know how to teach that way, but I do know that there are people out there that are moving us in that direction. I hope to be able to put students in my classroom because they want to be there instead of have to be. I would love to see students ask what are we going to learn next; instead of the normal what are we doing today. I also wanted to add to your “teach them to fish” idea. I really think that if you give students the information they will not be able to apply it when needed and will also forget it quickly. If you teach them how to figure it out or work it on their own it will stay with them longer and be able to apply it when asked to later. I wonder though, will I ever have an entire class of students that are motivated to learn? Is that possible?


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