Constructionist Feedback

Course by Chinese Group



.. feedback is a process of sharing observations, concerns and suggestions between persons or divisions of the organization with an intention of improving both personal and organizational performance. Negative and positive feedback have different meanings in this usage, where they imply criticism and praise, respectively

FeedbackThe general purpose of this learning event is to

  • demonstrate how to design for constructionist approaches in classroom teaching
  • motivate students’ interest in giving feedback

The learning outcomes are defined as:

  • Improved feedback based on
    • interactive questionnaire
    • face to face discussion
    • blog-written comments
  • Increase students’ understanding of Latina course design principles.
  • Increase students’ awareness of using game-like learning objects (with mathematics as an example) for self/study and interaction.
  • Increase awareness of and ability to identify preunderstanding using digital stories, oral presentation and discussion about family life.

The technical/operational environment consists of:

  • Google Docs questionnaire
  • Digital story
  • Blog comments
  • Flash-based game-like learning objects

Schedule (totally about 60 min)

  • 11:00-11:05 Outline
  • 11:05-11:10 Questionaire (3 questions) + presentation
  • 11:10-11:15 Free talk: the pre-understanding of Chinese family life
  • 11:15-11:20 Showing 2digital stories: one from Haikou + one from Beijing
  • 11:20-11:25 Group Discussion:  family life in different countries
  • 11:25-11:30 presentation
  • 11:30-11:40 Commented slideshow on Mathwiz
  • 11:40-11:50 Giving examples of teaching by animation + group work+ presentation
  • 11:50-11:55 Common analysis : students give comments on our lecture by writing their blogs
  • 11:55-12:00 Summary

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social constructionism

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Social constructionism and social constructivism are sociological and psychological theories of knowledge that consider how social phenomena develop in particular social contexts. Within constructionist thought, a social construction (social construct) is a concept or practice which may appear to be natural and obvious to those who accept it, but in reality is an invention or artifact of a particular culture or society. Social constructs are generally understood to be the by-products (often unintended or unconscious) of countless human choices rather than laws resulting from divine will or nature. This is not usually taken to imply a radical anti-determinism, however. Social constructionism is usually opposed to essentialism, which defines specific phenomena instead in terms of transhistorical essences independent of conscious beings that determine the categorical structure of reality.[citation needed] Although both social constructionism and social constructivism are concerned with ways social phenomena develop, they are distinct. Social constructionism refers to the development of phenomena relative to social contexts while social constructivism refers to an individual’s making meaning of knowledge relative to social context. For this reason, social constructionism is typically described as a sociological construct whereas social constructivism is typically described as a psychological construct. Social constructivism has been studied by many educational psychologists, who are concerned with its implications for teaching and learning. For more on the psychological dimensions of social constructivism, see the work of A. Sullivan Palinscar [1]

A major focus of social constructionism is to uncover the ways in which individuals and groups participate in the creation of their perceived social reality. It involves looking at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition by humans. Socially constructed reality is seen as an ongoing, dynamic process; reality is reproduced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it.

Constructionism became prominent in the U.S. with Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann‘s 1966 book, The Social Construction of Reality. Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge, including the most basic, taken-for-granted common sense knowledge of everyday reality, is derived from and maintained by social interactions. When people interact, they do so with the understanding that their respective perceptions of reality are related, and as they act upon this understanding their common knowledge of reality becomes reinforced. Since this common sense knowledge is negotiated by people, human typifications, significations and institutions come to be presented as part of an objective reality. It is in this sense that it can be said that reality is socially constructed. The specific mechanisms underlying Berger and Luckmann’s notion of social construction are discussed further in social construction.

July 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Feedback is a very important concept in a systems view and refers to the process of receiving input from the environment based upon the actions or output of the system. It is somewhat related to the application of consequences, although it is a more encompassing term (Kearsley, 2003).

According to the definition provided by Stuart Umpleby at the Principia Cybernetica Web, feedback is “information about the results of a process which is used to change the process itself. Negative feedback reduces the error or deviation from a goal state. Positive feedback increases the deviation from an initial state.” In this context, feedback could be information about one’s action or thinking, but does not necessarily involve the application of consequences. Viewed from an information processing perspective, feedback could be positive or negative as Umpleby states or it could simply be neutral in that it indicates information that the thinking, affect, or behavior was perceived and understood. For example, when a person simply repeats what another has stated that could be considered as neutral feedback (i.e., it neither increases nor decreases future activity).

An important consideration of Umpleby’s definition is the difference between negative and positive feedback. If one has already attained a specific end goal, then negative feedback (don’t do that) will reduce deviations from that point. Similarly, if one is aiming for a specific end result, then negative feedback (change this error) will result in moving toward that end point. However, if the specific end result is ambiguous or unknown (environment is changing too fast to be certain or person has so little experience that the desired end result seems unreal), then positive feedback (that’s a good start, keep going) will result in movement from the beginning point. Both aspects of feedback are important; proper use depends on which is the focus–moving from the initial state or obtaining the desired goal.

Another important point is that feedback is generally thought to be from external sources, whereas consequences can come from either external or internal sources. That is, one can change behavior (including internal as well as overt behavior) as a result of the application of reinforcers or punishers from external sources or by the individual. In the latter case, the individual is using the application of consequences in a self-regulatory manner.

The following is a proposed model of the role of feedback in the model of human development. It incorporates the classical and operant conditioning theories, the influence of the biological and spiritual aspects of the person’s nature, as well as the consideration of cognitive psychology and conation/volition.

The fundamental hypothesis of this model is that action (including both internal and overt) can be correct or incorrect with respect to accomplishing a desired result and that it can stem from conscious knowledge, unconscious knowledge or both.

Unconscious knowledge can result from one or both of the primary components of human nature–spiritual/soul and genetics/biology–and/or the prior conditioning that the individual has experienced. To the extent that others review the individual’s behavior and make changes in the environment that result in changes in behavior, this results in knowledge of which the individual is unaware and therefore remains unconscious knowledge.

To the extent that a person reviews his or her actions and corresponding results (including any conditioning controlled by others), this leads to a change in conscious knowledge. A personal decision and commitment is then required if this conscious knowledge is going to lead to a change in behavior. The paradigm for this sequence is the following:

Thought/Reasoning –> Conscious Knowledge –> Decision/Commitment –> Overt Behavior.

This model thus stipulates that both conscious knowledge and volition (conation) are required if one is to take control of one’s life. While conditioning can produce changes in behavior, unless the individual is aware of the laws of conditioning and is personally reviewing both action and results, personal control towards a personally desired goal will not take place. If that personal review does not also consider the feedback provided by others’ review of his or her behavior, personal control in meeting others’ expectations will not take place. Critical thinking and sound reasoning, often proposed by educators as desired end results, are therefore necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for personal growth and development. It is also necessary that the person plans and commits in order to connect that knowledge to action. It is also necessary that the individual has acquired the specific skills essential to successfully implement desired plans.


July 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment