chapter  2
10 Pages

How Portfolios Reflect Constructivism

In traditional schooling, emphasis has been placed squarely, and almost exclusively, on development in the cognitive domain. Educators expend proportionately little energy, in an intentional, concerted way, on development in the affective and social domains. The single-minded focus on logicalmathematical and linguistic skills, and the testing that accompanies it, might lead one to believe that knowing facts and learning to manage, process, and express information makes for an educated person. Behaviorism, so fundamental to and deeply ingrained in our education system, undergirds this view. While there is no question that cognitive skill-building and retaining information are important, they represent only one dimension of learning. Hutchings and Wutzdorff (1988) describe learning, in part, as involving and engaging a range of domains, including the cognitive, kinesthetic, affective, ethical, attitudinal, and behavioral. As educators, if we recognize the logicalmathematical and linguistic biases embedded in our educational institutions, and perhaps in our own quiet theories, and we begin to think about learning as going beyond these dimensions of cognition, then we must ask ourselves what else is important in adult learning, and how is it realized? These are some of the connections and questions we continually consider as we reflect on our practice with adult learners.