FocusThe structure of one’s knowledge
- Knowledge is … assembled object
- Knowing is … what one has put together
- Learner is … a builder (individual)
- Learning is … assembling, putting together
- Teaching is … giving access; making components available
SynopsisFoundationalism is a formalization of the Construction Metaphor. Invoking the image of a building, the perspective argues that justified beliefs rest atop other justified beliefs, all of which ultimately sit atop a foundation of unquestionable (or, at least, unquestioned) truth.
CommentaryFoundationalism is one of the uninterrogated orthodoxies of traditional education. Although little more than a metaphor, it serves as a truth to define sets of basics/fundaments, to orient curriculum development, and to justify regimes of testing.
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesAristotle; René Descartes
Status as a Theory of LearningFoundationalism belongs among Folk Theories.
Status as a Theory of TeachingWhile not a theory of teaching, Foundationalism is evident in pervasive interpretations of what is to be learned in terms of an edifice with a “strong foundations.” That notion is integral to most of current educational discourse.
Status as a Scientific TheoryIn spite of its popularity and resilience, Foundationalism meets none of our requirements for a scientific theory.
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Foundationalism” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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