Theoretical dissertation construction - what is a thesis statement in a rhetorical analysis









theoretical dissertation construction

theoretical dissertation constructionTheoretical dissertation construction -This and many other such incidents initiated an intense interest in differences in ways of doing things, and during the next few years (6) (which means into the time when the work in this volume was starting), "style" was almost as much in the air as the "soap-sculpture." I was very much troubled by questions about whether styles were categorical or a continuum, whether they were correlated with gender or ethnic cultures or personality types.Moreover, since one of the reasons for poor teaching is that teachers do not enjoy teaching reluctant children, it is not implausible that teaching would become better as well as becoming less necessary.A conceptually simple case is the addition of new elements to LEGO construction kits and to the Logo microworlds, so that children can build more "active" models.Both of these aspects of style are very relevant to the idea of constructionism.A variant of the strong claim is that this is the only framework that has been proposed that allows the full range of intellectual styles and preferences to each find a point of equilibrium.And if they did want to learn it they would, even if teaching were poor or possibly nonexistent.But if I am being really serious about this, I have to ask (and this will quickly lead us into really deep psychological and epistemological waters) what reasons I have to suppose that you will be willing to do this and that if you did construct your own constructionism that it would have any resemblance to mine?This boy was appropriating mathematics in a deeply personal way. I'll tell another story to introduce a second idea.Here again I hear answers to questions about taking down walls that too often separate imagination from mathematics.They were using this high-tech and actively computational material as an expressive medium; the content came from their imaginations as freely as what the others expressed in soap.For example, sensors, miniaturized computers that can run Logo programs, and motor controllers allow a child (in principle) to build a LEGO house with a programmable temperature control system; or to construct forms of artificial life and mobile models capable of seeking environmental conditions such as light or heat or of following or avoiding one another.Although it is conceivable that science may one day show that there is a "best way," no such conclusion seems to be on the horizon.instructionism when discussing directions for innovation and enhancement in education.In some cases there may be no way to do it one-on-one but a mutual understanding could still be socially mediated: for example (to recall the context of discussing how to use this volume) we might both find ourselves in tune with Carol Strohecker and her evocative descriptions of working with knots. But what if we didn't find a route to any understanding at all?Those who like to play with images of structures emerging from their own chaos, lifting themselves by their own bootstraps, are very likely predisposed to constructionism. In Chapter 9 of this volume, Sherry Turkel and I analyze the epistemological underpinnings of a number of contemporary cultural movements.It then adds the idea that this happens especially felicitously in a context where the learner is consciously engaged in constructing a public entity, whether it's a sand castle on the beach or a theory of the universe.Here I mention two simple cases which happened to move me especially deeply.These two key ideas set the stage for the evolution of constructionism.We show how trends as different as feminist thought and the ethnography of science join with trends in the computer culture to favor forms of knowledge based on working with concrete materials rather than abstract propositions, and this too predisposes them to prefer learning in a constructionist rather than in an instructionist mode.It does not follow from this that you and I would be precluded from constructing an understanding about constructionism in case you happened not to be in any of the "predisposed groups" I have mentioned. I am not prepared to be "reductionist" quite to that extent about arguing my own theory, and in the following pages I shall probe several other routes to get into resonance on these issues: for example, stories about children are evocative for more people than recursions and can lead to similar intellectual positions.(1) But there is no guarantee; I have no argument like what is supposed to happen in formal logic where each step leads a depersonalized mind inexorably along a pre-set path.theoretical dissertation constructionThe chapters in this book offer many constructions of new learning-rich activities with an attempt to reach that quality.But many of its elements can be related to real experiments described in the book.In particular, it illustrates the sense of the opposition I like to formulate as constructionism vs."Even the girls are making space ships," one girl told us.Fantasy and science and math were coming together, uneasily still, but pointing a way.LEGO/Logo is limited as a build-an-animal-kit; versions under development in our lab will have little computers to put inside the snake and perhaps linear activators which will be more like muscles in their mode of action.The other takes off from a more subtle idea which we call "closeness to objects"--that is, some people prefer ways of thinking that keep them close to physical things, while others use abstract and formal means to distance themselves form concrete material.It is also obvious that instruction in mathematics is on the average very poor.It is also plausible that if this were to happen, certain concepts and ways of thinking presently regarded as far beyond children's ken would enter into what they know "spontaneously" (in the sense in which Piaget talks about children's spontaneous geometry or logic or whatever), while other concepts--which children do learn at school but reluctantly and not very well--would be learned with the gusto one sees in Nintendo games.But these are not the questions to guide research in the next few years for they presuppose that the concept of constructionism has reached a certain level of maturity and stability.The metaphor of a painter I used in describing one of the styles of programmer observed at the Lamplighter school is developed in Chapter 9 by Turkle and Papert in two perspectives.Constructionism--the N word as opposed to the V word--shares constructivism's connotation of learning as "building knowledge structures" irrespective of the circumstances of the learning.And he knew it, for he added with pride: I want to be a person who puts math and art together.I find an interesting toe-hold for the problem in which I called the playful facet--the element of tease inherent in the idea that it would be particularly oxymoronic to convey the idea of constructionism through a definition since, after all, constructionism boils down to demanding that everything be understood by being constructed.I do not mean to imply that construction kits see instruction as bad. The question at issue is on a different level: I am asking what kinds of innovation are liable to produce radical change in how children learn. It seems obvious that as a society we are mathematical underperformers.Some members of our group have other ideas: Rather than using a tiny computer, using even tinier logic gates and motors with gears may be fine. But what is important is the vision being pursued and the questions being asked. Which favors dreams and visions and sets off trains of good scientific and mathematical ideas?But when the concept itself is in evolution it is appropriate to keep intellectual doors open and this is where we are now.Some programmed their space ships as if they had read a book on "structured programming," in the top-down style of work that proceeds through careful planning to organize the work and by making subprocedures for every part under the hierarchical control of a superprocedure.But we noticed that although everyone had space ships they did not make them the same way.The weak claim is that it suits some people better than other modes of learning currently being used. theoretical dissertation construction The slogan vivent les differences might become inappropriate at that stage.I was struck by an incongruous image of the teacher in a regular math class pining to own the products of his students' work!And this in turn implies a ramified research program which is the real subject of this introduction and of the volume itself.The painter-programmer would put a red blob on the screen and call over her friends (for it was more often, though not always, a girl) to admire the shuttle.Experiments carried out so far still fall a little short of this idealized description, and, moreover, have been mounted systematically only in the artificial contexts of schools or science centers.(In fact, the origination of the Logo Turtle was inspired by the soap-sculpture image and a few others like it.) About 10 years later, I was working with Sherry Turkle (5) and John Berlow at the Lamplighter School in Dallas, TX, the first elementary school where there were enough computers for children to have almost free access to them.Moreover, even if there were, individuals might prefer to think in their own way rather than in the "best way." Now one can make two kinds of scientific claim for constructionism.A fifth grader who was in his second year of working with Logo Writer was showing a spectacular sample of screen graphics he had programmed.Last week, I watched a tape of children from Project Mindstorm at the Gardner Academy in San Jose, CA.But it does not follow that the route to better performance is necessarily the invention by researchers of more powerful and effective means of instruction (with or without computers).In the math class students are generally given little problems which they solve or don't solve pretty well on the fly.Her experiments show that children's attention can be held for an hour a day over periods of several months by making (as opposed to using) educational software--even when the children consider the content of the software to be utterly boring in its usual classroom form.But there is also a line of descent from the style idea.And in some domains those who play alike think alike.But it is perfectly plausible that further refinement of the components (combined, be it noted for further discussion below, with suitable marketing) might result in such "cybernetic" activities (as we choose to call them), thus becoming as much part of the lives of young children as playing with toys and dolls, or other more passive construction kits.Others seemed to work more like a painter than like this classical model of an engineer's way of doing things.But where a knife was used to shape the soap, mathematics was used here to shape the behavior of the snake and physics to figure out its structure.An ambition was born: I want junior high school math class to be like that. But little by little by little we are getting there.One ("bricolage") takes its starting point in strategies for the organization of work: The painter-programmer is guided by the work as it proceeds rather than staying with a pre-established plan.It is easy enough to formulate simple catchy versions of the idea of constructionism; for example, thinking of it as "learning-by-making." One purpose of this introductory chapter is to orient the reader toward using the diversity in the volume to elaborate--to construct--a sense of constructionism much richer and more multifaceted, and very much deeper in its implications, than could be conveyed by any such formula. theoretical dissertation construction In fact, at Muzzey School there was no screen, only clanging teletype terminals connected to a distant "time-shared" computer.Only in this way will there be something rich enough in your mind to be worth talking about.After a while someone might say: "But its red, the shuttle is white." "Well, that's the fire!I didn't know exactly what "that" meant but I knew I wanted it. For a long time it existed in my head as "soap-sculpture math." Soap-sculpture math is an idea that buzzes in the air around my head wherever I go (and I assume it was present in the air the students who wrote the chapters in this volume breathed). As you read the chapters you will find many examples of children's work that exhibits one or another of features of the soap-sculpting class.This vision is presented as a thought experiment to break the sense of necessary connection between improving learning and improving teaching.More like the tinkerer, the bricoleur, we can come to agreement about theories of learning (at least for the present and perhaps in principle) only by groping in our disorderly bags of tricks and tools for the wherewithal to build understandings.I might appear in the previous paragraph to be talking about accepting or rejecting constructionism as a matter of "taste and preference" rather than a matter of "scientific truth." But a distinction needs to be made.Experience shows that people who relate to that kind of thing often play in similar ways.For a while, I dropped in periodically to watch students working on soap sculptures and mused about ways in which this was not like a math class.But in saying all this I must be careful not to transgress the basic tenet shared by the V and the N forms: If one eschews pipeline models of transmitting knowledge in talking among ourselves as well as in theorizing about classrooms, then one must expect that I will not be able to tell you my idea of constructionism. Instead, I must confine myself to engage you in experiences (including verbal ones) liable to encourage your own personal construction of something in some sense like it.So changes in the opportunities for construction could in principle lead to deeper changes in the learning of mathematics than changes in knowledge about instruction or any amount of "teacher-proof" computer-aided instruction.At the time of the Muzzey project in Lexington, Logo had not yet acquired the feature for which it is best known to most educators: It had no graphics, no Turtle.When asked how he did it, he explained that he had to figure angles and curvatures to obtain the greatest "grace." His product was no less desirable than the soap sculptures, and its process much more mathematical than anything done in a usual math classroom.The joke is relevant to the problem, for the more we share the less improbable it is that our self-constructed constructions should converge.Children might come to want to learn it because they would use it in building these models.Building and playing with castles of sand, families of dolls, houses of Lego, and collections of cards provide images of activities which are well rooted in contemporary cultures and which plausibly enter into learning processes that go beyond specific narrow skills.The diffusion of cybernetic construction kits into the lives of children could in principle change the context of the learning of mathematics.This would be tragic if we were locked into a classroom (or other power ridden) situation where one of us has to grade the other; but in the best phases of life, including real science and mathematics, it turns out much more often than is admitted in schools to be right to say: vivent les differences!Last year, at Project Headlight of the Hennigan School in Boston, MA, I watched a group of children trying to make a snake out of LEGO/Logo.To give a sense of the methodology of this early "pre-paradigmatic" stage I shall tell some stories about incidents that fed the early evolution of the idea. theoretical dissertation construction A conceptually simple case is the addition of new elements to LEGO construction kits and to the Logo microworlds, so that children can build more "active" models. theoretical dissertation construction

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