Social construction of beliefs about learning
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
This article looks at the way in which different cultures have different beliefs about the way in which learning takes place. Debates about the possibility of genetic foundations of intelligence take place amidst emotive responses in the West to such theories. Some societies are more inclined to believe in inherited cognitive abilities and others to the Marxist view of educational enculturation. Social and cultural influences on beliefs are also found both in the way in which the school curriculum changes from society to society and over time. Varying beliefs in individual autonomy or social authority produced significant differences in teaching and learning assumptions. This, for example, raises questions about why radical constructivism has found a sympathetic response in some disciplines and some Western countries, yet is incomprehensible in other contexts. These differences appear to lead to different learning affinities, and these raise issues of equal opportunities of different cultural groups in a society as well as causing inter-societal misunderstandings.
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