Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Facet of Constructivism Relating to Career Work

Helen Kershaw of drew attention to the posting Learning: Three Basics to Improve Teaching by Kevin Washburn, Ed.D., on the Edurati Review, on Twitter. It contains quite a good description of the rĂ´le of conscious thought in the learning process:

The brain constructs learning. “We often talk of knowledge as though it could be divorced from thinking, as though it could be gathered up by one person and given to another in the form of a collection of sentences to remember,” explains Richard Paul. “When we talk in this way we forget that knowledge, by its very nature, depends on thought. Knowledge is produced by thought, analyzed by thought, comprehended by thought, organized, evaluated, maintained, and transformed by thought. Knowledge exists, properly speaking, only in minds that have comprehended it and constructed it through thought.”

To learn, the brain labels and sorts incoming data, seeks patterns within it, and recalls prior experiences related to it. The new data and the prior experiences are then blended to construct understanding. Unless we engage students in thinking about new material, they will not learn. And they will lack the ability to use new knowledge because…

Authentic learning empowers transfer. Students transfer learning when they use it outside of the classroom.

Following this line of reasoning, when a person seeks to 'know' what career path they should follow that person is seeking a form of knowledge and that knowledge must be constructed. It is not the career developer's task to create a 'package' of knowledge to be learned as if by rote by the client. Rather, the career developer's job is to support clients in their own construction work.