In My Opinion: (Mis?)Constructing Constructivism

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  • 1 State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260

Many educators base recommendations for teaching mathematics on “constructivist” thinking. However, they often misunderstand constructivism, so their recommendations may be incorrect or inappropriate. We need to examine what constructivism is and is not, what myths have grown up around constructivism, and what characteristics define it.


Douglas Clements conducts research in the areas of computer applications in education, early development of mathematical ideas, and the learning and teaching of geometry.

The author would like to thank Mary Lindquist, Julie Sarama, Leslie Steffe, and Grayson Wheatley for their helpful comments on early drafts of this manuscript. Funding for this material was partially provided bx “An Investigation of the Development of Elementary Children's Geometric Thinking in Computer and Noncomputer Environments.” National Science Foundation research grant number FSI-8Q54664. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

The views expressed in “In My Opinion” do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Panel of Teaching Children Mathematics or the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Headers are encouraged to respond to this editorial by sending doublespaced letters to Teaching Children Mathematics for possible publication in “Readers' Exchange.” Manuscripts of approximately six hundred words are welcomed for review for “In My Opinion.”

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Teaching Children Mathematics


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