A case: Teacher D (David)
David is a science teacher. Instead of presenting neat ideas and materials to students, David encourages students to bring up their own questions and ideas. He believes that knowledge is not passed down to students, but generated and constructed by students themselves. This does not mean that he does not need to prepare anything and just let students do everything. He works very hard on designing classes. He always tries to understand what students have already known and what misconceptions they still have, and then designs classes that are built on what students have already known, and adopts teaching strategy that focus on changing students’ misconception into more scientific ones. He uses concept mapping strategies very often in the class, and encourages students to make connections between their new and old ideas. He also provides prompts and modeling to students, and makes them reflect, reevaluate, and revise their original ideas. Not like teacher C(Clark) who tries very hard to minimize students’ cognitive load by presenting clear ideas, David tries to make students treat difficulties and problems as something worth working on. He believes that “the messiness” can lead students to construct their own knowledge.
While David becomes more experienced, he gradually realizes that collaboration plays an important role in changing students’ conceptions, and believes that knowledge is socially constructed. He starts to provide opportunities for students to engage in collaborative scientific inquiry. Just like real scientists community, his students work together, generating questions they are interested in, proposing theories and hypothesis to answer their questions, designing experiment to evaluate and revise their theories. In order to make the inquiry more authentic, and treat idea as something students can collectively work on, he also uses computer-supported platforms on which students can pose their questions and ideas, and collectively improve these ideas. Students are also encouraged to make group portfolios to assess their own learning. They reflect collectively about what they have learned and what still need to be known in the community.
Constructivism had a widely influential impact on learning theories and instruction methods and has become an underlying theme of many education reform movements. 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.
Constructivism, builds on the ideas of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, John Dewey and many other primary theorists, claims that knowledge is constructed in the human being when information comes into contact with existing knowledge that had been developed by our unique set of experiences with the external reality and out beliefs about them (Jonassen, 1991). We can distinguish between cognitive constructivism and social constructivism.
From the Perspectives of Constructivism:
Learning, therefore, is
Constructivism focuses on how learners construct their own knowledge.
Constructivism is an instructional philosophy that is developed from the principle of learner-centered learning. In fact, constructivism is first of all a theory of learning based on the idea that knowledge is constructed by and for the learner him/herself. Children are not passive in accepting knowledge, but learning activities require the students' full participation.
Specifically, an important part of the learning process is that by
Students construct their own understanding of the world they live in.In this way, the students play central roles in mediating and controlling learning to set their own goals, regulate their own learning process and even assessment.
As addressed in the earlier section, the focus in the constructivist classroom tends to shift from the teacher to the students. It is worth noting that constructivism does not discharge the active role of the teacher or the value of their expert knowledge. Actually the role of teachers is modified, so that teachers promote students to construct their own knowledge actively rather than just mechanically listening and reproducing knowledge from the teacher or the textbook.
The teacher serve in the role of guides, monitors, tutors and facilitators who
In constructivist classroom, by engaging the active, interactive, collaborative and reflective learning processes, most likely,