An Introduction To Constructivism Stephen Smith
So you want to be a teacher? • Would it be advantageous for a beginning teacher to understand how students learn? • How do you make sense of the multitude of models, theories etc? • How do YOU learn best? Do teachers fall into the trap of overusing THEIR preferred learning style?
Viewpoint • “The focus of concern with the teacher and in teacher education is not just with the teacher’s knowledge of subject matter and diagnostic skills, but with the teacher’s belief, conceptions, and personal theories about subject matter, teaching and learning” Ernst 1995
Giambattista & Dewey • “Humans can only clearly understand what they have themselves constructed” Giambattista 18th C • “Knowledge and ideas emerged only from a situation in which learners had to draw them out of experiences that had meaning and importance to them” Dewey
Piaget (1896-1980) • “To understand is to discover, or to reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition” Piaget • Children must discover relationships and ideas in classrooms that involve activities of interest to them • Understanding is built up step by step through active involvement and scaffolding
So, what is constructivism? • In the constructivist perspective, knowledge is constructed by students through their interactions with their environment • the thinker is both mentally and physically active in this construction
So, what is constructivism? • In the constructivist perspective, as learners interact with their environment, they link information learned through experience to previous knowledge • If we believe that learners actively construct knowledge in their attempts to make sense of their world, then learning involves social processes, interactions with the environment and self-reflection
Key principles of constructivism • Learners are active participants in their learning • Learners are self-regulated • Social interaction is necessary for effective learning • Constructivism encourages individuals to make sense of information for themselves. This means that knowledge may be relative and may differ for each individual.
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES of E.L.&T PRINCIPLE 1Effective learning and teaching is founded on an understanding of the learner. PRINCIPLE 2Effective learning and teaching requires the active construction of meaning. PRINCIPLE 3Effective learning and teaching is enhanced by a supportive and challenging environment. PRINCIPLE 4Effective learning and teaching is enhanced through worthwhile learning partnerships. PRINCIPLE 5Effective learning and teaching shapes and responds to social and cultural contexts.
PRINCIPLE 2 Effective learning and teaching requires the active construction of meaning. • Learning experiences actively engage learners in making meaning. • Learners demonstrate what they have learned, experience success and share success with others. Reflection occurs on the learning and teaching process.
Learning Experiences actively engage learners in making meaning • Students make meaning from situations when they learn to negotiate, make choices, share responsibility and take risks. • The transfer of learning to different contexts is recognised and modeled. • Learning activities explore practical purposeful contexts relevant to students. • A range of thinking skills is explicitly taught.
Learners demonstrate what they have learned, experience success and share success with others • Students are able to demonstrate what they have learned in a variety of ways. • Students share their learnings and resultant successes together. • A variety of assessment techniques is used to enable students to demonstrate their learnings.
Reflection occurs on the learning and teaching process • Learning and teaching processes are made explicit by students and teachers. • A range of strategies is used to reflect on one’s own and other’s knowledge, actions and assumptions. • Constructive feedback is provided through a variety of means (avoid giving formative and summative feedback together). • Reflection is used to identify directions for further learning and teaching.
The EL & T booklet can be downloaded at: http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/learning/teaching/technology/principl/principl.pdf