Constructivism In the Classroom What is Constructivism ? Constructivism is not a new concept, it has been around since the turn of the century and was supported by: • • John Dewey, who was an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist. Jean Piaget, who based his view of psychological development of children such that a child constructs understanding through many channels: such as reading, listening, exploring and experiencing his or her environment. • Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist and philosopher and is associated with the social constructivist theory. He believed that the influences of cultural and social contexts played an important part in learning and supports a discovery model of learning. Constructivism is: • Constructivism is child-centered, rather than curriculum based, • Constructivism focuses on knowledge construction, not knowledge reproduction, • It is a belief that one constructs knowledge from one's experiences, • Everyone's view of the external world differs from others because of their unique set of experiences, • The ideas and interests of children drive the learning process, • Teachers are flexible- they are the facilitator, Constructivism is con't: • Students construct new understandings using what they already know, and prior knowledge influences what new or modified knowledge they will construct from new learning experiences, • Learning is active rather than passive, • Children may need different experiences to advance to different levels of understanding. • "a focus on student-centered learning may well be the most important contribution of constructivism." (1) (1) The Practice Implications of Constructivism by Wesley A. Hoover Published in SEDL Letter Volume IX, Number 3, August 1996, Constructivism Jean Piaget - The learner is advanced through three mechanisms According to Jean Piaget the three mechanisms used are: 1.Assimilation - fitting a new experience into an existing mental structure(schema). 2.Accommodation - revising an existing schema because of new experience. 3.Equilibrium - seeking cognitive stability through assimilation and accommodation. (p. 95) Santrock, John W.; 2010; Adolescence; McGraw-Hill Company, New York Lev Vygotsky - associated with the social constructivist theory 1.Making meaning - the community places a central role, and the people around the student greatly affect the way he or she sees the world. 2.Tools for cognitive development - the type and quality of these tools (culture, language, important adults to the student) determine the pattern and rate of development. 3.The Zone of Proximal Development - problem solving skills of tasks can be placed into three categories: Those performed independently by the learner. Those that cannot be performed even with help. Those that fall between the two extremes, the tasks that can be performed with help from others. Santrock, John W.; 2010; Adolescence; McGraw-Hill Company, New York Traditionalvs Constructivist Classroom Traditional Classroom Constructivist Classroom Student primarily work alone Students primarily work in groups Curriculum is presented part to whole, with emphasis on basic skills Strict adherence to a fixed curriculum Curriculum is presented whole to part with emphasis on the big concept Curricular activities rely heavily on textbooks of data and manipulative materials Pursuit of student questions is highly valued. Students are viewed as "blank slates" Teachers generally behave in a didactic manner, Students are viewed as thinkers with emerging theories about the world Teachers generally behave as facilitators Teachers seek the correct answers to validate student lessons. Assessment of student learning is viewed as separate from teaching and occurs almost entirely through testing. Teachers seek the student's point of view in order to understand student learning for use later on Assessment of student learning is interwoven with teaching and occurs through teacher observation of students at work and through exhibitions and portfolios. Principles of Constructivism 10 basic guiding principles of constructivist thinking that educators must keep in mind: –It takes time to learn –Learning is an active process in which the student constructs meaning out of –People learn to learn –Learning involves language –Learning is a social activity –Learning is contextual –The act of constructing meaning is mental –Every one needs knowledge to learn –Learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge it takes work 10. Motivation is a major aspect of learning http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~foreman/itec800/finalprojects/eitankaplan/pages/principles.htm Constructivism and Technology • instruction goes from whole class to groups • facilitating rather than lecturing • stronger students may work independently while weaker or struggling students get the extra help that they need • students are engaged more and learn to work with others • students are more cooperative and less competitive With the every changing classroom and technology it only makes sense to use some of the constructivism's' ideas to help students learn. Pros & Cons of Constructivism Pros Cons • students often like when they are part of the decision making process • a higher level of thinking occures • students like hands-on activities • students feel a sense of ownership when hand-on learning occures rather then just being told something • belief that learning is based on the students ability to discover new knowledge • teachers may not take responsibility for poor learning • may lead students to take a majority rules attitude rather then an individual approach to decision making Constructivism Graphic Organizer 5 E Model English Lesson • Indicator: Introduce yourself to a classmate and learn new information about them. • Objective: The student will write a paragraph about themselves to share with a classmate. After the students read their paragraphs to a partner, the student will ask their partner questions to get to know them even better. Then they will present their findings to the class by telling them about their partner. 5 E Model English Lesson • Outcomes: The students will be able to use their new knowledge of interviewing to share information about themselves to a classmate and then present to the class. They will have learned about each classmate. • Grade: 4th • Materials: Paper, pencils, list of questions about themselves. Engagement • Have the students line up in order of birthdays (from youngest to oldest). The students will pair up in two’s based upon who they are next to. • The students will write a paragraph about themselves, using the list of questions as a guide to tell them what to include. The students will write their paragraphs and then come up with questions to ask their partner about other aspects of their lives. Exploration • The students will read their paragraphs to their partners and ask questions that they would like to know. • The students will take notes on their classmates responses Explanation • When the students are done sharing then they will share their findings with the class by introducing their partner to them. They students will tell the class what they found out about them. • Each group will have to participate but the teacher will call on volunteers first if any exist. Extentions • After each group introduces each other, the class will ask additional questions that they come up with about their classmates. Evaluation • The teacher will ask each student to say one thing that they learned about at least one student in the class.