Harvard University Press Wilen, W.
Constructivism in Teacher Education: This Digest identifies major forms of constructivism and considers issues and challenges that surface when implementing constructivist approaches to preservice and inservice teacher education. Constructivism is an epistemology, a learning or meaning-making theory, that offers an explanation of the nature of knowledge and how human beings learn.
Learning activities in constructivist settings are characterized by active engagement, inquiry, problem solving, and collaboration with others.
Rather than a dispenser of knowledge, the teacher is a guide, facilitator, and co-explorer who encourages learners to question, challenge, and formulate their own ideas, opinions, and conclusions. As an approach to teaching, constructivism may be examined as much for what it is NOT as for what it is.
They cite Freire who considers this approach to be a "banking" model--the teacher fills students with deposits of information considered by the teacher to be true knowledge, and the students store these deposits, intact, until needed.
Constructivists generally maintain that when information is acquired through transmission models, it is not always well integrated with prior knowledge and is often accessed and articulated only for formal academic occasions such as exams Richardson, Constructivist approaches, in contrast, are regarded as producing greater internalization and deeper understanding than traditional methods.
While there are commonly accepted attributes of constructivism, there are also different interpretations of it. Vadeboncoeur identifies three significant strands within these interpretations--Piagetian, sociocultural, and emancipatory constructivism--strands differentiated primarily by 1 the subject of study, 2 views about how cognitive forms develop, and 3 "the liberatory power of the pedagogical approaches derived" p.
In general, two broad interpretations can be found among contemporary educators--psychological constructivism, most notably articulated by Piaget, and social constructivism, associated with Vygotsky. Two major issues shape these interpretations: Learning is primarily an individualistic enterprise.
This is a child-centered approach that seeks to identify, through scientific study, the natural path of cognitive development Vadeboncoeur, This approach assumes that students come to classrooms with ideas, beliefs, and opinions that need to be altered or modified by a teacher who facilitates this alteration by devising tasks and questions that create dilemmas for students.
Knowledge construction occurs as a result of working through these dilemmas. Characteristic instructional practices include "discovery learning" and hands-on activities, such as using manipulatives; student tasks that challenge existing concepts and thinking processes; and questioning techniques that probe students' beliefs and encourage examination and testing of those beliefs Richardson, To a large extent, this approach assumes that development is an ingrained, natural, biological process that is pretty much the same for all individuals, regardless of gender, class, race, or the social or cultural context in which learning and living take place Vadeboncoeur, Internal development is the focus of the teaching environment, and the social and historical context, as well as issues of power, authority, and the place of formal knowledge in the learning environment are not emphasized Richardson, It is essentially a decontextualized approach to learning and teaching.
Critics of the psychological constructivist approach deprecate its lack of attention to "the influence of the classroom culture and the broader social context" Vadeboncoeur,as well as disregard for power issues, particularly power issues related to knowledge production Martin, ; Richardson, ; Vadeboncoeur, Individual development derives from social interactions within which cultural meanings are shared by the group and eventually internalized by the individual Richardson, Individuals construct knowledge in transaction with the environment, and in the process both the individual and the environment are changed.
The subject of study is the dialectical relationship between the individual and the social and cultural milieu. Schools are the sociocultural settings where teaching and learning take place and where "cultural tools," such as reading, writing, mathematics, and certain modes of discourse are utilized Richardson, This approach assumes that theory and practice do not develop in a vacuum; they are shaped by dominant cultural assumptions Martin, ; O'Loughlin, Both formal knowledge, the subject of instruction, and the manner of its presentation are influenced by the historical and cultural environment that generated them.
To accomplish the goals of social transformation and reconstruction, the context of education must be deconstructed, and the cultural assumptions, power relationships, and historical influences that undergird it must be exposed, critiqued, and, when necessary, altered Myers, Variants of social constructivism include situated constructivism, social reconstructivism, sociocultural constructivism, sociohistorical constructivism, and emancipatory constructivism.
Programs influenced by the developmental tradition attempt to teach students how to teach in a constructivist, generally Piagetian, manner. They are typically characterized by substantial direct instruction in theory and practice, often without complementary opportunities for inquiry, discovery, or self-examination.
This approach can easily become overly prescriptive. Programs influenced by social reconstructionist tradition attempt to help teacher education students deconstruct their own prior knowledge and attitudes, comprehend how these understandings evolved, explore the effects they have on actions and behavior, and consider alternate conceptions and premises that may be more serviceable in teaching.
Critical analysis and structured reflection on formal course knowledge and everyday practical experience are incorporated. Richardson identifies two factors that appear to affect the approach teachers and teacher educators take in forming constructivist settings--the extent to which the social is acknowledged as a critical factor in learning and individual cognitive development and the specific content, subject matter, or discipline.
Some subjects, such as mathematics, are more "bounded" than others by rules, formulae, and procedures. They are more likely to be regarded by teachers as producing problems and tasks to which there are "correct" answers.
Individual interpretations and construction of ideas and concepts are less likely to be encouraged by teachers than in subjects such as literature and writing. For teacher educators, among other tasks, this involves balancing the need to acknowledge the different discipline-specific requirements of teaching with the need to model constructivist methods in teacher education courses and practicums.Pedagogy (/ ˈ p ɛ d ə ɡ ɒ dʒ i /, / ˈ p ɛ d ə ɡ oʊ dʒ i /, or / ˈ p ɛ d ə ɡ ɒ ɡ i /) (most commonly understood as the approach to teaching) refers more broadly to the theory and practice of education, and how this influences the growth of r-bridal.comgy, taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are exchanged in an educational context, and.
2 Constructivism in Practice and Theory: Toward a Better Understanding Abstract Although constructivism is a concept that has been embraced my many teachers over the past 15 years. natural scenery: Tourists at the resort are surrounded by nature.
the universe, with all its phenomena: Conservation of energy is a universal law of nature. the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe.
reality, as distinguished from any effect of art: a portrait true to nature. the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth. Constructivist teaching is based on constructivist learning r-bridal.comuctivist teaching is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving r-bridal.comrs are .
Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality.
Social Constructivism in the classroom Reciprocal Teaching. Where a teacher and 2 to 4 students form a collaborative group and take turns leading dialogues on a topic.