The above quotation explains that constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active and constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. Furthermore, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation.
Constructivism is basically a theory -- based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know. In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure he/she understands the students' pre-existing conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them.
In the same manner, constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become "expert learners." This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn how to learn.
In line with this proposition, in the constructivist classroom, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher "expert" pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning. The teacher functions more as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding, and thereby their learning. One of the teacher's biggest jobs becomes asking good questions. And, in the constructivist classroom, both teacher and students think of knowledge not as inert factoids to be memorized, but as a dynamic, ever-changing view of the world we live in and the ability to successfully stretch and explore that view.
The table below shows the traditional classroom to constructivist.
Curriculum begins with the parts of the whole. Emphasizes basic skills.
| Curriculum emphasizes big concepts, beginning with the whole and expanding to include the parts.
| Strict adherence to fixed curriculum is highly valued.
| Pursuit of student questions and interests is valued.
| Materials are primarily textbooks and workbooks.
| Materials include primary sources of material and manipulative materials.
| Learning is based on repetition.
| Learning is interactive, building on what the student already knows.
| Teachers disseminate information to students; students are recipients of knowledge.
| Teachers have a dialogue with students, helping students construct their own...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document