Constructivism Mr. Dominador D. Mangao Specialist (Science) Training Programme Division SEAMEO RECSAM
What Influences Science Teaching Today? • Constructivist approach to science teaching and learning • inquiry-based instruction in science • interweaving of assessment and instruction (multiple assessment)
A focus on cooperative learning and collaborative projects • The belief that diverse learners and those with special needs can be full participants in an effective science classroom • Integration of technology • Standards movement in education
National Science Education Standards , 1996 • Benchmarks for Science Literacy ( AAAS,1993) • National Educational Technology Standards(International Society for Technology in Education, 2000) • Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (International Technology Education Association, 2000)
The Constructivist ‘Manifesto’ • “ If I had to reduce all of educational psychology to one principle, I would say this: ‘The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach . . . accordingly.’” • Ausubel, David (1968). Educational Psychology- A Cognitive View.
Definition • "a theory about knowledge and learning.“ • knowledge is "temporary, developmental, nonobjective, internally constructed, and socially and culturally mediated.“ ( Fosnot,1996)
learners actively construct their own knowledge by anchoring new information to preexisting knowledge • Learning does not occur in isolation, either. Learners interact with the knowledge, the learning environment, and with other learners • knowledge is viewed "as something created, discovered, and experienced”
"knowledge as an active construction built up by the individual acting within a social context that shapes and constrains that knowledge but does not determine it in an absolute sense” (Applebee and Purves) • Constructivist teaching empowers the learner to construct and interpret his/her understanding of knowledge and reality.
Constructivism is anchored on cognitive psychology but from a practical perspective has roots in the "progressive" model of John Dewey.
learners are active participants in knowledge acquisition, and engage in restructuring, manipulating, reinventing, and experimenting with knowledge to make it meaningful, organized and permanent. • Learning is an internal process and influenced by the learner's personality, prior knowledge and learning goals(
Piaget is probably the most well-known contemporary constructivist. • the idea that students, as well as all humans, actively construct their understandings of the world and these constructions are significantly influenced by prior knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences.
History • Jean Piaget and John Dewey developed theories of childhood development and education, what we now call Progressive Education, that led to the evolution of constructivism.
Piaget ( cognitive development)concluded that knowledge cannot be transmitted intact from one person to another; people must construct their own knowledge and their own understandings. Learning does not occur by transmitting information from the teacher or the textbook (or the video or the demonstration) to the child’s brain.
each child constructs his or her own meaning by combining prior information with new information such that the new knowledge provides personal meaning to the child ( Cobern, 1993).
Piaget believed that humans learn through the construction of one logical structure (schema) after another. • concluded that the logic of children and their modes of thinking are initially entirely different from those of adults. • The implications of this theory and how he applied them have shaped the foundation for constructivist education.
added new perspectives to constructivist learning theory and practice • Lev Vygotsky, • Von Glasersfeld, • Jerome Bruner, and • David Ausubel.
Vygotsky introduced the social aspect of learning into constructivism ( social constructivism). • Defined the zone of proximal learning,” according to which students solve problems beyond their actual developmental level ( but within their level of potential development) under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.
Bruner initiated curriculum change based on the notion that learning is an active, social process in which student construct new ideas or concepts based on their current knowledge ( Discovery learning).
Constructivist View of Learning • Learning outcomes depend not only on the learning environment but also on what the learner already knows, that is, pupils’ conceptions, purposes and motivations influence the way they interact with learning materials in various ways.
Learning involves constructing meanings of what people hear or see by generating links between their existing knowledge and new phenomena attended to. • New experiences are interpreted by generating expectations based on present knowledge and these are actively tested out. • Everyone has sets of beliefs about how things happen and expectations which enable us to predict future events.
construction of meaning is a continuous and active process. • This is to say that in learning situation, learners are actively hypothesizing, checking, and possibly changing their ideas as they interact with phenomena and with other people. • In some cases, pupils do adapt and evolve their thinking to accommodate new experiences
Although pupils may successfully construct an intended meaning, they may be reluctant to accept or believe it. • Learning involves not only constructing the intended ideas but also accepting them. • Difficulties in learning science may arise at either the construction or acceptance stage.
Learners are responsible for their own learning in that they have to direct their attention to the learning task, draw on their present knowledge to construct meaning and evaluate that meaning. • Unfortunately, many learning situations do not encourage pupils to make scientific sense of what they are expecting but rather to pursue the “right answer” to the teacher’s questions, textbook problems, or laboratory exercises.
By presenting science as a set of “right answers”, pupils cannot make new experiences meaningful to them and readily “substitute external authority and rote learning for internal authority and understanding”.
These science educators agree with Piaget that knowledge is constructed and theorize that students are builders of knowledge structures. They have developed a number of alternative models that have direct implication for teaching science to secondary school students.
Common Characteristics • Importance of content Knowledge • Integration of skills and content • Intrinsic nature of motivation • Role of learning groups
Characteristics of Constructivist Teaching • Encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative • Use raw data and primary information sources with manipulative, interactive, and physical materials • Use cognitive terminology such as “classify”, “analyze”, “predict”, and “create” • Allow student responses to drive lessons, shift instructional strategies, and alter content
Inquire about students’ understandings of concepts before sharing their own understanding about the concepts • Encourage students to engage in dialogue, both with the teacher and with one another • Encourage student inquiry by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions and encouraging students to ask questions of each other • Seek elaboration of students’ initial responses
Engage students in experiences that might engender contradictions to their initial hypotheses and then encourage discussion • Allow wait time after posing a question • Provide time for students to construct relationships and create metaphors • Nurture students’ natural curiosity through frequent use of the learning cycle mode,
How constructivism impacts on learning • Curriculum: • Constructivism calls for the elimination of a standardized curriculum. • Instead, it promotes using curricula customized to the students' prior knowledge. • Also, it emphasizes hands-on problem solving.
Instruction: • educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students.
Assessment: • Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing. Instead, assessment becomes part of the learning process so that students play a larger role in judging their own progress.
Implications for teaching • First, teaching cannot be viewed as the transmission of knowledge from enlightened to unenlightened; constructivist teachers do not take the role of the "sage on the stage." • Rather, teachers act as "guides on the side" who provide students with opportunities to test the adequacy of their current understandings.
Second, if learning is based on prior knowledge, then teachers must note that knowledge and provide learning environments that exploit inconsistencies between learners' current understandings and the new experiences before them.
This challenges teachers, for they cannot assume that all children understand something in the same way. Further, children may need different experiences to advance to different levels of understanding.
Third, if students must apply their current understandings in new situations in order to build new knowledge, then teachers must engage students in learning, bringing students' current understandings to the forefront. • Teachers can ensure that learning experiences incorporate problems that are important to students, not those that are primarily important to teachers and the educational system.
Teachers can also encourage group interaction, where the interplay among participants helps individual students become explicit about their own understanding by comparing it to that of their peers.
Fourth, if new knowledge is actively built, then time is needed to build it. • Ample time facilitates student reflection about new experiences, how those experiences line up against current understandings, and how a different understanding might provide students with an improved (not "correct") view of the world.
Examples of Constructivist Teaching Models • CLIS Model – Children’s Learning in Science Model • proposed by the CLIS group in United Kingdom. • has five phases, namely, orientation, elicitation of ideas, restructuring of ideas, application of ideas, and review change in ideas
Five Es – proposed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) team. • It has five phases namely, Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate
Generative Learning Model – the Learning in science Project (LISP) at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, used this model proposed b y the team members, Osborne and Freyberg in 1985. • This model is centrally concerned with clarifying the students’ existing views and consolidating the scientific views with the background experience and values of the students. There are four phases, namely, preliminary, focus, challenge, and application.
Interactive Learning Model – developed by the “Making Sense of the World” project by Biddulp and Osborne in 1984. This model requires the teacher to take into account the students’ prior knowledge and their questions.
. From the questions that arise, students are to plan and carry out own investigations, verify scientific concepts and critically evaluate findings. • There are 7 phases in this model, namely; preparation, before views, exploratory activities, students’ questions, investigations, after views, and reflection.
Benefits of Constructivism • Children learn more, and enjoy more when they are actively involved, rather than passive listeners. • Education works best when it concentrates on thinking and understanding, rather than on rote memorization. Constructivism concentrates on learning how to think and understand.
Constructivist learning is transferable. In constructivist classroom, students create organizing principles that they can take with them to other learning settings. • Constructivism gives students ownership of what they learn, since learning is based on students’ questions and explorations, and often the students have a hand in designing the assessments as well.
Constructivist assessment engages the students’ initiatives and personal investments in their journals, research reports, physical models, and artistic representations. • Engaging the creative instincts develops students’ abilities to express knowledge through a variety of ways. The students are also more likely to retain and transfer the new knowledge t real life.
By grounding learning activities in an authentic, real-world-context, constructivism stimulates and engages students. Students in constructivist classrooms learn to question things and to apply their natural curiosity to the world.
Constructivism promotes social and communication skills by creating a classroom environment that emphasizes collaboration and exchange of ideas. Students must learn how to articulate their ideas clearly as well as to collaborate on tasks effectively by sharing in group projects.