Discussing Constructivism on the basis of teaching ESP to students of philosophy

Halina Kozdęba-Murray


The article discusses the ideas of Constructivism while teaching ESP to students of philosophy. One of the main proponents of the constructivist approach – J. Dewey considered education to be an active process, in which the student follows their own path of thinking. Constructivism, which has become infl uential in the methodology of teaching since the middle of the 20th century, plays a signifi cant role in the interaction between the student and the teacher. The former becomes an active inquirer, rather than a passive recipient of knowledge, whilst the role of the latter is facilitating the learning process. In the article, the constructivist theory has been juxtaposed with the experience of teaching ESP to students of philosophy, who prove their theses by providing coherent and logical argumentation. Dialogue and discussion become the key learning techniques while discussing philosophical dilemmas, and as such they are close to the ancient method of dialectics as practiced by philosophers such as Socrates, or Plato. The latter has been accused by J. Dewey of favouring the passive knowledge of a spectator – an allegation which the author of the article fi nds objectionable. Whilst it is true that each student is a unique individual, in the case of philosophy forming argumentation and drawing conclusions occur through a debate. They cannot stem merely from the student’s private opinion, but have to be primarily grounded in logic. Dialogue is crucial for both the students and the teacher – a fact emphasized by another philosopher of the 20th century – Martin Buber, for wh om the presence of another person – Thou meant the beginning of an important and valuable relation.

Słowa kluczowe: constructivism, philosophy, English for Specifi c Purposes, student, reason, dialogue

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