Constructivism. Constructivism — particularly in its "social" forms — suggests that the learner is much more actively involved in a joint enterprise with the teacher of creating ("constructing") new meanings. It is the importance of culture and context in forming understanding.
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Constructivism — particularly in its "social" forms — suggests that the learner is much more actively involved in a joint enterprise with the teacher of creating ("constructing") new meanings. It is the importance of culture and context in forming understanding.
Learning is not a purely internal process, nor is it a passive shaping of behaviours. Vygotsky favoured a concept of learning as a “social construct which is mediated by language via social discourse.” (McMahon, 1997)
Laurillard emphasises learning as an iterative process, involving discursive, adaptive, interactive, and reflexive qualities, the main focus being on teacher-student relationship since "academic knowledge consists in descriptions of the world, and therefore comes to be known through a discursive interactionbetween teacher and student".
Traditional behaviourist/instructivist approaches strive for context independence, whereas a Social Constructivist paradigm views the context in which the learning occurs as central to the learning itself.
One Social Constructivist notion is that of authentic or "situated learning", where the student takes part in activities which are directly relevant to the application of learning and which take place within a culture similar to the applied setting.
We can distinguish between
The most significant bases of a social constructivist theory were laid down by Vygotsky [1896-1934] (1962):
The theory of the "Zone of Proximal Development" (ZPD)is a term coined by Vygotsky to refer to the:
‘level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers…..What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone’ (Vygotsky, 1978).
Vygotsky claimed that all developing individuals have both an actualdevelopmental level and a ZPD. A difference exists between what a child can do on her own and what the child can do with help. Vygotskians call this difference the zone of proximal development.
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