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Commentary 2 on reflections on theories of learning. (English)
Sriraman, Bharath (ed.) et al., Theories of mathematics education. Seeking new frontiers. Berlin: Springer (ISBN 978-3-642-00741-5/hbk; 978-3-642-00742-2/ebook). Advances in Mathematics Education, 53-61 (2010).
Summary: One of the great clashes of ideas of our times is that between psychology and sociology. Sociologists accuse psychologists of being narrowly technical, supporters of what the critical theorists term instrumental rationality. Psychologists have also been stereotyped as apolitical and closed minded about social and political issues and social/political influences on human life in general and on learning in particular. In return, psychologists accuse sociologists of sacrificing scientific truth and accuracy of detail for broad politically motivated generalizations that do not help people with their interior lives and their learning. Ironically, both sets of accusations are both true at times and false at others. Because both psychology and sociology are broad areas of thought housing many ideas and schools. Sociology can be mechanistic, on the one hand, focusing on structural mechanisms that leave the individual relatively without agency or an internal life. On the other hand sociological explanations can be rich and multi-faceted exploring individual agency and power in the construction of knowledge and institutions.
Classification: D20
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