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The Constructivism Zone. Constructivism: A psychological orientation that views learning as an active process in which the learner constructs understanding of the material they learn – in contrast to the view that teachers transmit academic content to student in small segments. By Lisa Garcia

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The constructivism zone
The Constructivism Zone

Constructivism: A psychological orientation that views learning as an active process in which the learner constructs understanding of the material they learn – in contrast to the view that teachers transmit academic content to student in small segments.

By Lisa Garcia

Cindy Deligio

Bernadette Bennett


Major theorist jean piaget 1869 1980
Major Theorist Jean Piaget (1869-1980)

  • Dedicated 75 years to research (Pub: 30 books, 15 doctorial works)

  • Research-developmental theory of knowledge (genetic epistemology)

  • Believes knowledge is a biological function which arises out of action

  • Four stages of developmental learning: Sensomotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, Formal Operational

“I am a constructivist. I think that knowledge is a matter of constant, new construction, by its interaction with reality, and that it is not pre-formed. There is a continuous creativity.”

Other important theorists
Other Important Theorists

  • Ernest Von Glasersfeld

  • Born in 1917 at Munich, Germany

  • Major research in Radical Constructivism

  • Known for his work in educational reform

  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Univ. of Georgia

  • John Dewey (1859-1952)

  • American philosopher

  • Built upon Piaget’s Constructivist Theory

  • Major works: Pedagogy and Instrumentalism

  • Profound impact on Progressive Education

What is constructivism
What Is Constructivism

  • Building knowledge structures

  • Puts knowledge into action, making learning relative to the real world

  • Enhances excitement conducive to student’s active role in learning

  • Teaching students how to acquire knowledge, life long skill

Constructivism is not
Constructivism Is NOT…..

  • The teacher’s role to dispensing knowledge, spoon feeding information for memorization

  • Dependent on textbooks as main resource of knowledge

  • Learners being told about the real world, but actively engaging in real world

  • Teacher’s lack of responsibility to educate, but rather allowing student to take control of their education

The constructivist teacher
The Constructivist Teacher

  • Supports co-operative learning

    • Hands-on activities

    • Group projects

    • Enforces natural or realistic settings

  • Facilitates learning process

    • Introduce new ideas or cultural tools

    • Provide guidance for students to make sense of concepts

    • Promotes motivation and excitement for topic/learning

The constructivist teacher1
The Constructivist Teacher

  • Organize focused subject clusters

    • Set limits for the task

    • Guide students through examination

    • Know your student’s learning level

  • Ability to change and critically analyze

    • Follow established curriculum

    • Incorporate lessons based on student interest

  • Gives autonomy to student

    • Enable self-directed explorations and monitors work

    • Encourages independent thinking

Students role
Students Role

  • Active engagement, initiative

    • Engage in group discussions

    • Make predictions, seek answers

  • Exhibit inquiry

    • Student attains own intellectual identity

    • Take responsibility for their own learning

    • Become problem solvers

Students role1
Students Role

  • Higher learning

    • Reflection, self-examination

    • Ability to think beyond given information

    • Summarize concepts, analyzing, justifying, defending their ideas

  • Communication and teamwork with others

    • Social discourse reinforces their ideas

    • Students become resources for their peers

From theory to practice
From Theory to Practice

Popular Constructivist Subjects and

dedicated lesson plans are found at:

  • Technology

  • Math

  • Science

Positive effects
Positive Effects

  • Understanding and respect for

    diversity of perspectives

  • Builds trust in student’s own abilities

  • Student build understanding of the world

    they live in

  • Learn to creatively apply and seek knowledge

  • Teachers observe student’s learning progress

Negative effects
Negative Effects

  • Falls short of explaining basic skills

  • Lack of time to focus on students learning

  • Large classrooms affects lack of individual attention

  • Student’s inaccurate past knowledge can have impact on building new information

  • Lack of Participation, fear of rejection

Suggested reading
Suggested Reading

Brooks, J. The Case for a Constructivist Classroom.

Alexandria, VA: ASCD Publishing. 1993.

Cobb, Paul. Constructivism in Math & Science.

Educational Researcher. 1994. 23(7). 13-20.

Dewey. John. Democracy and Education. The Macmillan

Company. 1916.

Jonassen, D.H. Computers in the Classroom: Mindtools

for Critical Thinking. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice

Hall. 1996.

References not mentioned
References Not Mentioned

100 Persons of the Century. Time Magazine Online.

Burner, J. Constructivist

/Pedag/Constructivists.html 25 Oct. 2001.

Parkay, Forrest W.Becoming a Teacher, 5th ed. Allen & Bacon

Pub. 2001.

Sprague D. & Christopher Dede) If I Teach This Way, Am I

Doing My Job? Constructivism in the Classroom 30 Oct.