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Constructivism in Classroom

In the
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
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
• 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
• Teachers are flexible- they are the facilitator,
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
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
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
Students are viewed as thinkers
with emerging theories about the
Teachers generally behave as
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
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
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
• students like hands-on
• students feel a sense of
ownership when hand-on
 learning occures rather
then just being told
• belief that learning is
based on the students ability
to discover new knowledge
• teachers may not take
responsibility for poor
• may lead students to take
a majority rules attitude
 rather then an individual
approach to decision
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.
• 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.
• 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
 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.
• After each group introduces each other, the class will ask
additional questions that they come up with about their
• The teacher will ask each student to say one thing that they
learned about at least one student in the class.