Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 22, Issue 4, Summer 2003

Tapio Puolimatka
Pages 5-12

Constructivism and Critical Thinking

The problem with the traditional model of education is that the student is largely receptive. The constructivist model corrects this defect by promoting learning within a highly interaction oriented pedagogy. The problem is that sometimes it combines this with a constructivist view of knowledge, which does not provide an adequate epistemological framework for critical thinking. Even though individual creativity should be encouraged, students’ constructions must be subject to critical scrutiny. This assumes the development of the capacity for critical evaluation on the basis of generally valid rational criteria. The constructivist view of learning is most useful, when it is combined with moderate foundationalism about knowledge. Adequate knowledge constructions presuppose the development of the capacity for critical thinking with its constitutive habits, skills and attitudes.