Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enactivism

“All doing is knowing and all knowing is doing” (Maturana & Varela, 1987, p. 27) is a slogan exemplifying enactivism, a new philosophical world view.

I was particularly interested in Dr. Qing Li’s presentation today about enactivism and the article she shared with the class. I was drawn to the reciprocal relationship implied with enactivism. However, I’m wrestling with comparing enactivism with my understanding of constructivism.

In the article, the authors claim that enactivism means that “our mind, body, and the world are inseparable.” In addition, one of the criticisms of constructivism is that “constructivism is concerned only with cognitive knowledge. It does not explain unformulated or subconscious knowledge, it does not consider how things might be known intuitively or instinctively, and it does not consider how emotions are constructed or their role in learning” (Begg, 2000, p.2). Is it really true that constructivism is only concerned with cognitive knowledge?

In the article, objectivist, constructivist and enactivist assumptions are compared not to suggest one should be replaced by the other; but to provide a different lens to look through. Always referring to myself as a constructivist I was a surprised by the dualism comparison. I can’t say that I considered constructivists believing in a “knower vs. known” dichotomy and separating the physical from the mental. Personally, I think of everyone as a learner. When engaged in learning, there is potential for learning construction by all learners – teacher and student and others.

Enactivism implies the knower and the world are mutually specifying and co-emerging. This sounds a lot like connectivism. I would also be interested in seeing how connectivism contrasts with enactivism.

1 comment:

Muhammad Amir said...

There is overwhelming evidence that those who live in poverty have little access to books at home, technology and education