Psychology and constructivism in international relations pdf
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- International relations theory
- Psychology and Constructivism in International Relations
- The Relevance of Constructivism to Foreign Policy Analysis
International relations theory
Social constructivism emphasises that all cognitive functions including learning are dependent on interactions with others e.
Therefore learning is critically dependent on the qualities of a collaborative process within an educational community, which is situation specific and context bound Eggen and Kauchak, ; McInerney and McInerney, ; Schunk, However learning must also be seen as more than the assimilation of new knowledge by the individual, but also as the process by which learners are integrated into a knowledge community.
According to social constructivism nothing is learnt from scratch; instead it is related to existing knowledge with new information being integrated into and expanding the existing network of understanding.
The successful learner is therefore one who embeds new ideas within old and for whom understanding expands to encompass the new experience. Therfore, a social constructivistic learner's view of the world will always be subjective, as each individual will interpret experience via a different pre-existing framework of understanding and will develop their own unique view of the world.
Social constructivism in its modern form has been in existence for approximately 40 years. Strictly speaking while it is thought of as a learning theory,with roots in cognitive constructivism Piaget, and sociocultural theory Vygotsky, it is more correctly an epistemology or philosophical explanation about the nature of learning Hyslop-Margison and Strobel, According to social constructivism, knowledge is a human product, which is socially and culturally constructed in an active manner and not something which can be discovered Geary, ; Gredler, ; Ernest, Knowledge is therefore neither tied to the external world nor wholly to the working of the mind, but it exists as the outcomes of mental contradictions that result from ones interactions with other people in the environment Schunk, Social constructivism maintains that learning is based on real life adaptive problem solving which takes place in a social manner through shared experience and discussion with others such that new ideas are matched against existing knowledge and the learner adapts rules to make sense of the world.
Social constructivism places the focus on the learner as part of a social group, and learning as something that emerges from group interaction processes, not as something which takes place within the individual. Learning is seen as an active socially engaged process, not one of a passive development in response to external forces McMahon, ; Derry, To the social constructivist, to learn is to see the meaning or significance in a social experience or concept.
Therefore social constructivism acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the individual learner and values, utilizes and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process Wertsch Social constructivists believe that reality is constructed not discovered through human activity, so that societies together invent the properties of the world Kukla, Social constructivism maintains that while it is possible for people to have shared meanings which are negotiated through discussion, it also acknowledges that no two people will have exactly the same discussions with exactly the same people.
To this extent social constructivism allows that multiple realities exist. In social constructivism the motivation of the learner is regarded as having both intrinsic and extrinsic roots. The intrinsic motivation is created through curiosity about the world and the extrinsic motivation is provided by the rewards which can be accessed through the knowledge. Social constructivism is most closely associated with the work of the developmental theorist Lev Vygotsky and psychologist Albert Bandura but it is also nested within the theories of Dewey , Piaget and Bruner Schunk, The linked pages aims to provide a brief resume of the pertinent aspects of these theorists work in relation to social constructivism.
Social constructivism views learning as an active process where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves Brown et al. A main focus of social constructivism is the role that social interaction and social processes play in creating knowledge. Vygotsky believed that learning could not be separated from social context.
He argued that all cognitive function begins as a product of social interactions. Social constructivism requires one primary element, two or more participants. These participants must be involved in some form of interaction for knowledge to be constructed and they must have knowledge of prior social experience Gergen, It is a shared understanding among individuals whose interaction is based on common interests that form the ground for their communication.
This meaning does not have to be strictly language based, but can also be a product of actions. Thus, construction of social meanings involves intersubjectivity among individuals and any personal meanings shaped through this will be affected by the intersubjectivity of the community to which the people belong.
A key emphasis of social constructivism is the value of cultural background. According to social constructivism, culture gives the child much of the content of their thinking, that is their knowledge. Secondly it provides the child with the cognitive tools needed for development, thus culture can teach children both what to think and how to think. The role of culture in learning is a complex one. Bruner stated that what a person learns is framed by the surrounding culture and learning is a sharing of that culture.
Thus according to Bruner all learning is induction into a culture including all the values of that culture. Social interaction, via working in groups with peers, is essential to social constructivism and these peer group interactions have been shown to create a culture that is open to learning. Social constructivism encourages the learner to arrive at his or her version of the truth influenced by their culture. Au and Mason found that Native Hawaiian students performed poorly in reading lessons, showing a considerable degree of inattentiveness, when teachers conducted lessons following the rules for conventional classroom recitation.
These students paid more attention to reading, discussed more text ideas, and made more logical inferences about the text when their reading lessons were conducted in a culturally responsive manner.
In the culturally responsive lessons, the teacher allowed the students to follow rules for participation much like those in talk story, a common speech event in the Hawaiian community. In talk story-like reading lessons, unlike classroom recitation, the students could collaborate in producing responses and there was a high degree of overlapping speech. This example illustrates how a social constructivist approach, including collaborative learning, can be flexible among many cultures, as it gives children more freedom to work together in a way that is suited to their cultural values and standards for behaviour.
Below is a YouTube video of an example where a social constructivist approach has been successfully implemented in an American school, in order to help the children learn about and understand the British literature they were reading. Again emphasising the multicultural use of social constructivism.
Social constructivism is distinct from cognitive constructivism in that social constructivism arose out of concerns regarding the role of the teacher in the classroom. Social constructivism is concerned with the importance of collaboration with others, either student with student or student with teacher and views social interaction as the primary means by which learners construct new meanings Vygotsky, Social constructivism is different to constructivism in that the latter views learning as following development as the learner acts on his environment, while the former views learning as leading development and as something that occurs as the learner engages in social activities with others.
According to social constructivist theory, cognition and learning exist in a dialectical relationship with the social world, whereby discussion is utilised to resolve cognitive conflict and as a result produces higher levels of mental functioning. Conflicts are resolved through a social process and knowledge is something that is distributed across, between and within individuals and the collective. This knowledge is not transmitted from the social world to the learner but is appropriated and transformed as individuals engage with others - which is an active process McMahon, Therefore knowledge is emergent as the learner acts upon the social context and the social context acts upon the learner.
Social constructivism is related to but distinct from sociocultural theory Vygotsky, While both theories give importance to the contextual nature of learning and the construction of knowledge, sociocultural theory places emphasis on the mediating role of historically situated cultural tools and artefacts. In other words it is not the social context alone which produces new understandings, but also the cultural tools and artefacts within it that produce and shape new knowledge Cole and Wetsch, Social constructivism and social constructionism differ in that social constructivism focuses on the Vygotskian notion that the individual mind is first social and then individual and also of the importance of social context in learning.
The difference between the two theories rests on the role of the individual mind. In social constructivism, the individual mind internalises ways of learning through collaboration with others in social context, while social constructionism eschews the notion of the mind as an individual container and instead focuses on what happens between the minds of people.
To recap, social constructivist perspectives rely on the interdependence of social and individual procedures, making clear that the absorption of knowledge is a cooperative process that exists between many Palincsar, The differences are; a teacher is an imparter of knowledge, whereas a facilitator encourages the learner to achieve their own appreciation of the content.
In the first scenario, the learner can quite easily play an unreceptive role, whereas with a facilitator they are encouraged to play a more functional and effective role within their own learning. Moreover, this dramatic difference in the expectation of a facilitator as opposed to a teacher suggests that within social constructivist learning, the educator plays a largely different role to what is expected of a teacher Brownstein, For example, a teacher offers answers that are in line with a traditional program, while a facilitator offers strategies that allow the learner to achieve his or her independent conclusions Rhodes and Bellamy, The critical goal is to support the learner in becoming an effective thinker Di Vesta, But I can only show you the door.
You're the one who must walk through it. In a social constructivistic educational setting the responsibility for learning falls on the learner, while the teacher is a facilitator, who guides direction and promotes new patterns of thinking.
The goal of any social constructivist teaching exercise is to develop skills in heuristic problem solving, metacognitive knowledge, creativity, and originality as a by-product of increasing the level of understanding in knowledge on the topic of interest. Social constructivism stresses the need for collaborative learning. Learning is promoted through collaboration among students, and between students and teachers.
From a social constructivist perspective, as students share background knowledge and participate in the give and take of collaborative activities they are actually negotiating meaning and building knowledge, not as individuals, but as a group. This collaboration in tasks and discussions allows learners with different skills and backgrounds to arrive at a shared understanding of the truth Duffy and Jonassen.
Social constructivist approaches should require the students to collaborate and critically analyse the issue at hand. Some examples of collaborative learning activities are group problem solving, group inquiry, simulations, and debates.
The activities encourage creativity, value and also foster higher-level thinking Brown, For instance, peer tutoring where students in the same group tutor one another facilitates meaning in both parties, as the peer tutor clarifies their own understanding through the teaching process. Collaborative learning develops social skills.
In primary education there is a hierarchy of social skills that must be learned, therefore by higher education students should already have these basic social skills to allow them to participate in collaborative activities and engage in social interaction in learning.
However, collaborative learning in higher education will continue to develop these skills along with more complex social skills. Listed below are some of the beneficial reasons why social constructivism stresses the use of collaborative learning in higher education. Develops higher level thinking. Students working together are engaged in the learning process instead of passively listening to the teacher present information.
When students work in pairs both are developing valuable problem solving skills by formulating their ideas, discussing them, receiving immediate feedback and responding to questions and comments by their partner Johnson, D. Students who are actively involved in the learning process are much more likely to become interested in learning Astin The interactive environment associated with collaborative learning produces high student motivation and participation and is more likely to increase student attendance Garibaldi ; Treisman Builds self-esteem in students.
Everyone benefits from a collaborative learning environment. Students help each other and in doing so support each other, which raises the performance level of each member Kagan This support system in turn leads to higher self-esteem in all students Webb Develops social interaction skill. Collaborative learning helps build and develop many valuable social skills. Often in society competitive skills are encouraged and valued, however collaborative learning allows co-operative skills to be learned, so that students can work together.
Fosters team building and a team approach to problem solving while maintaining individual accountability. A major function of collaborative learning is team building.
This is accomplished through a variety of techniques, such as warm up activities, getting to know class members' names, practice exercises, group building exercises and more. Regarding individual accountability, some form of assessment is used to determine how well individual students have mastered the material Slavin b.
Quizzes during the semester may also be given individually, thus maintaining a strong element of accountability by each group member. Stimulates critical thinking and helps student clarify ideas.
Educational Philosophies. Within the epistemological frame that focuses on the nature of knowledge and how we come to know, there are four major educational philosophies, each related to one or more of the general or world philosophies just discussed. These educational philosophical approaches are currently used in classrooms the world over. They are Perennialism, Essentialism, Progressivism, and Reconstructionism. These educational philosophies focus heavily on WHAT we should teach, the curriculum aspect. Perennialism For Perennialists, the aim of education is to ensure that students acquire understandings about the great ideas of Western civilization.
Constructivist IR scholars study the ways in which international norms, culture, and identities—all intersubjective phenomena—inform foreign policy and affect the reaction to and outcomes of international events. Political psychologists similarly investigate divergent national self-conceptions as well as the individual cognitive and emotional propensities that shape ideology and policy. Given their mutual interest in human subjectivity and identity politics, a dialogue and synthesis between constructivism and political psychology is long overdue. The contributors to this volume discuss both theoretical and empirical issues of complementarity and critique, with an emphasis on the potential for integrating the viewpoints within a progressive ideational paradigm. Moreover, they make a self-conscious effort to interrogate, rather than gloss over, their differences in the hope that such disagreements will prove particularly rich sources of analytical and empirical insight.
Sociological insights have been broadly discussed in international relations (IR) and now provide solid theoretical foundations for constructivist approaches. In.
Psychology and Constructivism in International Relations
The crucial claim of social constructivism is that a sociological analysis of science and scientific knowledge is fruitful and reveals the social nature of science. When individuals are focused on shared practices, they are actively constructing the cognitive tools needed for growth as human beings. Also many philosophers and Constructivism is best understood in terms of how individuals use information, resources, and help from others to build and improve their mental models and their problem solving strategies Woolfolk,
International relations theory is the study of international relations IR from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. The three most prominent theories are realism , liberalism and constructivism.
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The Relevance of Constructivism to Foreign Policy Analysis
Social constructivism emphasises that all cognitive functions including learning are dependent on interactions with others e. Therefore learning is critically dependent on the qualities of a collaborative process within an educational community, which is situation specific and context bound Eggen and Kauchak, ; McInerney and McInerney, ; Schunk, However learning must also be seen as more than the assimilation of new knowledge by the individual, but also as the process by which learners are integrated into a knowledge community. According to social constructivism nothing is learnt from scratch; instead it is related to existing knowledge with new information being integrated into and expanding the existing network of understanding. The successful learner is therefore one who embeds new ideas within old and for whom understanding expands to encompass the new experience. Therfore, a social constructivistic learner's view of the world will always be subjective, as each individual will interpret experience via a different pre-existing framework of understanding and will develop their own unique view of the world. Social constructivism in its modern form has been in existence for approximately 40 years.
In international relations , constructivism is the claim that significant aspects of international relations are historically and socially constructed, rather than inevitable consequences of human nature or other essential characteristics of world politics. Nicholas Onuf is usually credited with coining the term constructivism to describe theories that stress the socially constructed character of international relations. Alker, Jr.
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This article endeavours to explore the relationship between constructivism as a prime International Relations IR theory and foreign policy analysis FPA , and examine the key contributions the former can make to understanding and advancing the latter. The relationship might be investigated in three chief ways, that is, in terms of the role actors and bureaucracies play in shaping foreign policy, the process of decision-making, and the effect of international system or society on the conduct of foreign policy by states. Epitomized by the writings of John G. The salience and significance of complex national bureaucracies, such as foreign offices, ministries of defence, national security councils and departments of trade and development, in making state foreign policies so as to protect and maximize national interest, go without saying. A constructivist student of foreign policy would thus be interested in analyzing not only the interest construction process of state-based actors and the impact of unit-level factors on it, but also the influence of supranational bureaucracies and transnational units, such as non-governmental organizations NGOs and Multinational Corporations MNCs — Amnesty International and Microsoft Corporation, for example — on constituting the agential interests at the state-level foreign policy making. Though the growing forces of globalization are increasingly blurring the distinction between domestic and international politics, the domestic-international divide is still a conceptual and theoretical concern of both IR and FPA scholars.
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