Can Children Really Create Knowledge?

Carl Bereiter, Marlene Scardamalia

Abstract


Can children genuinely create new knowledge, as opposed to merely carrying out activities that resemble those of mature scientists and innovators? The answer is yes, provided the comparison is not to works of genius but to standards that prevail in ordinary research communities. One important product of knowledge creation is concepts and tools that enable further knowledge creation. This is the kind of knowledge creation of greatest value in childhood education. Examples of it, drawn from elementary school knowledge-building classrooms, are examined to show both the attainability and the authenticity of knowledge creation to enable knowledge creation. It is mainly achieved through students’ theory building, and it is a powerful way of converting declarative knowledge to productive knowledge.

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