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Constructivism. Liliam , Meagan and Pazit. What is Constructivism. An approach to learning in which individuals play an active role in constructing their understandings directly from their experiences and in concert with others (Auger and Rich, 2007)

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Liliam, Meagan and Pazit

what is constructivism
What is Constructivism
  • An approach to learning in which individuals play an active role in constructing their understandings directly from their experiences and in concert with others (Auger and Rich, 2007)
  • It focuses on the individuals role in creating his or her own unique interpretations of the world.
radical constructivism
Radical Constructivism
  • knowledge is built through experiences in human brain (von Glaserfeld, 1996)
  • experience can be subjective (von Glasersfeld, 1996)
  • theory of knowing (Phillips, 1995)
  • produce knowledge INDIVIDUALLY, (Phillips, 1995)
radical constructivism cont d
Radical Constructivism Cont’d
  • relationship of knowledge and reality, our experiences are our realities and the world around us is what we have constructed, ie. Not an objective world(von Glasersfeld, 1991)
  • a structure of reality is created through our experiences (von Glasersfeld, 1991)
  • no absolute reality but possible model of knowing through own experiences, (von Glaserfeld, 1991)
genetic epistemology
Genetic Epistemology
  • Piaget's major contribution to the field of education
  • Theory that attempts to explain how knowledge is formed in human beings
  • Piaget believed that studying a child’s thought process was the key to understanding how human knowledge develops
  • He observed many children by putting them through different exercises that consisted of evoking answers from specific questions
  • He then followed their thinking process to determine how they acquired the information rooted in their response
cognitive constructivism and piaget
Cognitive Constructivism and Piaget
  • Piaget believed that knowledge is gained when children interact with their environment.
  • As the child develops, the interaction with the world changes as does their knowledge.
  • The learner must participate in the learning process for knowledge to be acquired.
  • Piaget claims that for knowledge to be attained, the child must interact with objects and thus this interaction provides the knowledge that is required.
cognitive constructivism and piaget cont d
Cognitive Constructivism and Piaget Cont’d
  • Learning requires that the child is at his/her “readiness” stage.
  • This means that a child cannot learn a certain skill or concept until they have acquired previous knowledge that will assist them.
  • Piaget also believed that children learn most from their own discoveries and mistakes. He proposed that children build on their previous knowledge by exploring new objects and using accommodations and assimilation to integrate new information into their schemas.

  • Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) was the pioneer of the sociocultural perspective of cognitive development.
  • He proposed that how a person learns is largely shaped by the culture they are immersed in and the experiences they have because they are members of a particular society.
  • The key points of Vygotsky's theory were guided participation (apprenticeship) in which a more knowledgeable member of one’s society assists the less knowledgeable person to attain specific knowledge.
vygotsky cont d
Vygotsky Cont’d
  • Vygotsky stressed that this should be done in the form of social interaction and not lecture style. The "mentor" also need not to be a teacher or an adult, but an older or more knowledgeable peer.
  • He also focused highly on the zone of proximal

development in which there are three levels.

(1) what the child already knows

(2) what the child can do with assistance or guiding

(3) what the child is unable to do

social constructivism
Social Constructivism
  • The idea of social constructivism is that culture and language play a major role in intellectual development (Auger and Rich, 2007, pg. 44) Interaction with others is a necessary part of human nature.
social constructivism cont d
Social Constructivism Cont’d

Key points:

  • Reality is formed through human interaction and implies a collective understanding among individuals
  • Knowledge is shaped through human interaction and interaction with the environment, it relies heavily on cultural and historical factors within a specific community
social constructivism cont d1
Social Constructivism Cont’d
  • Learning is a social process therefore it can not be achieved individually, it is not passive, it is meaningful when it occurs during social interactions and communication with knowledgeable people within societies is very important. (Augur and Rich, 2007, 44-45)
  • Another key point in social constructivism is intersubjectivity which is shared understanding among individuals whose interaction is based on common interests and assumptions that form the ground for their communication (Kim, 2001, p.3) Any personal meanings that people derive from interaction are shaped by the intersubjectivity of the cultural and historical contexts of the society in which they belong.
social constructivism cont d2
Social Constructivism Cont’d

Social constructivism may be further broken down into the following categories in regards to learning.

  • Cognitive tools perspective: Gain cognitive skills through hands on project based methods and together create a project in which they apply social meaning to through their interactions
  • Idea based social constructivism: Proposes educational focus on big ideas in specific subjects, such as photosynthesis in science. These ideas are used to expand learner’s thinking and give them starting points for exploration. They become the foundation for social meaning.
  • Pragmatic or emergent approach: implementation of social constructivism should be as the need arises. They propose that knowledge meaning and understanding can be addressed from the individual learner or from collective understanding of the entire class.
  • Transactional or situated cognitive perspectives: learning cannot take place outside the context of the environment which the learner is in. The constructed environment includes social relationships. If the environment where to change the learners task would change.
cultural constructivism
Cultural Constructivism
  • Cultural constructivism takes into account the wider culture of the individual and how that shapes their learning, things such as religion, language, customs, tools, biology. For example, the way books are written in a specific culture can influence the way the readers organize and synthesize information.
constructivism and curriculum goals
Constructivism and Curriculum Goals
  • radical constructivism
  • getting knowledge and applying it to world the individual perceives it to be
  • teacher assists in restructuring what students’ know to understanding concepts of social studies
  • active participation →done through the skills that they need to know
constructivism and currciulum goals cont d
Constructivism and Currciulum Goals Cont’d
  • students construct own knowledge goes in hand with more progressive thinking, (Phillips, 1995)
  • student can learn through watching, “Spectator theory”, (Phillips, 1995, pg6)
  • social activity can promote students from learning
  • Auger, W.F, & Rich , S.J (2007). Curriculum theory and methods. Mississaguga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd
  • Feltovich, P. J. (1992). Cognitive flexibility, constructivism, and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction: A Conversation, , 57.v
  • Dougiamas, M. (1998). A journey into Constructivism,
  • Berger, K.S. (2006). The developing person: Through childhood and adolescence (7th ed.) . New York : Worth Publishers.
  • Kamii, C. & Ewing, J. (1996). Basing teaching on Piaget's constructivism. Retrieved on September 28, 2009, from;col1
  • Kearsley, G. (2009). Genetic Epistemology. Retrieved on September 28, 2009, from
  • Kim, B. (2001). Social constructivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Available Website:
  • Phillips, D. C. (1995). The good, the bad, and the ugly: The many faces of constructivism. Educational Researcher, 24(7), 5-12.
  • Von Glasersfeld, E. (1984). An introduction to radical constructivism. The Invented Reality, , 17-40.
  • Von Glasersfeld, E. (1996). Radical constructivism: A way of learning Routledge.
  • Weiten, W. (2004). Psychology: Themes and Variations. (6th Ed.).USA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
  • Dougiamas, M. (1998). A journey into Constructivism,