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Coined by Ernst von Glasersfeld in 1974, Radical constructivism argues that knowledge is constructed rather than perceived through senses. In fact, knowledge is considered to be the outcome of a self-organized cognitive process. Human beings may be trained like dogs and horses, but what really differentiates them from animals is their ability to think. It is because of this feature of humans that knowledge is actively constructed by thinking rather than being received from the environment. Therefore, language is regarded as a tool for thinking. It teaches humans how to think. 

Radical constructivism simply states that men create their own realities, so the individual learner is regarded as a constructor. Knowledge is made rather than discovered. From the radical constructivist point of view, "all of us – scientists, philosophers, laymen, school children, animals, indeed any kind of living organism -face our environment as the burglar faces a lock that he has to unlock in order to get at the loot" (Glasersfeld, 1981, p. 3). Thus, Radical Constructivism claims that as individuals produce knowledge, there is no need for teacher. Individuals should see the problem as their own problem, and so try to solve it by themselves using their cognitive capacity. Teachers can only teach how to think. A teacher's role shifts from a presenter of knowledge to a provider of experiences, as knowledge cannot be transferred from a teacher to learners as if it were a commodity. Rather, individuals have to build their own knowledge.


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Arguing that children are curious by birth and active participants in their own learning processes and believing that they are excited by the discovery and development of new understanding, Vygotsky states that children's cognitive abilities are socially guided and constructed. Unlike Piaget, who underscored the importance of the self-initiated discovery, Vygotsky attached more importance to social contributions to the process of children's development. That's why Vygotsky believed that culture serves as a mediator for the formation and development of children's abilities, such as learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving. To put it another way, he believed that children are apprentices, whereas Piaget thought that they are scientists, who learn on their own.

Although Piaget believed in children's self-initiated discovery, he, on the other hand, argued that they should interact with the environment, as this interaction will facilitate their learning, which means that he doesn't totally defy the importance of social interaction. Vygotsky, however, puts much more emphasis on the social aspect of cognitive development, holding the view that mental constructs are formed through this social interaction.

There's another distinction between the two regarding learning and development in this way. Piaget argues that learning comes after cognitive development, whereas Vygotsky suggests that development can precede learning, or it can lead to development.

Similarly, referring to scaffolding as a tool for growth, Vygotsky claims that it helps children achieve independence. Learners accomplish manageable steps until they achieve a goal. Supported by more skilled elders or more knowledgeable mentors help children learn better and make connections. Vygotsky's 'zone of proximal development' application is also very important as it can be used as a guide by teachers in formal instruction. It defines the distance between the child's actual developmental level and his/her level of potential problem-solving capacity and development in collaboration with more capable adults.


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Positing that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences, Piaget concentrated on how children make meaning in regard to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas. He argued that children are the builders of their own cognitive tools, thus constantly exploring the interaction between their own experiences, reflexes as well as the behavior-patterns of themselves and the humans around them. Based on this view, it can be argued that knowledge, events, phenomena, and facts are constantly reconstructed through personal experience.


Muhammed Özgür YAŞAR

Merhaba, ben Muhammed Özgür YAŞAR. Dil sınavlarına yönelik yayınlanmış 14 adet kitabım bulunmaktadır. YDS, YÖKDİL ve YDT, YKS-DİL'e yönelik Online Canlı ve Yüz Yüze dersler vermekteyim. Özel ders için iletişim: [email protected] 

Dil sınavlarında uzmanı olduğum alanlar: YDS, YÖKDİL, YKS-DİL, Tıpdil, Gramer, Çeviri Teknikleri, Vocabulary ve Writing.

Aynı zamanda Osmangazi Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi İngilizce Öğretmenliği Bölümü'nde Öğretim görevlisi olarak çalışmaktayım. 2000 yılında Çukurova Üniversitesi İngilizce Öğretmenliği Bölümü'nden mezun oldum. Akademik olarak; ELT, MOOC, Flipped Learning, Applied Linguistics ve Language and Technology konularına ilgi duymaktayım.

Akademik çalışmalarımın olduğu alanlar: MOOCs, LMOOCs, Flipped Learning, Language and Technology, SLA, EFL, ELT

Yüz yüze Eğitimlerim: Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi ESOGÜSEM - Tel: 0222 239 9628 / 0222 239 3750 Dahili: 5071/5072 web:

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