Constructivism: a Holistic Approach to Teaching and Learning

Topics: Educational psychology, Education, Learning Pages: 6 (1033 words) Published: August 29, 2013
Constructivism: A Holistic Approach  to Teaching and Learning Janet Giesen
Faculty Development and  Instructional Design Center
Northern Illinois University

• Your name • Your department or unit • Your experiences or knowledge of  constructivism • Why have you joined us today?

• Learning cycle • Constructivism
– Learning theory – Process – Instructional strategy

• Classroom applications • Instructor and student roles

Learning Cycle or “5 E’s”





How would you define constructivism?

A definition of constructivism
Fundamentally, constructivism says that  people construct their own understanding and  knowledge of the world through experiencing  things and reflecting on those experiences.

Source: Thirteen Ed Online (2004)

Constructivism is a learning theory
• Learning is an active process • Knowledge is constructed from (and shaped  by) experience • Learning is a personal interpretation of the  world

Sources: Christie (2005); Kruse (n.d.)

Constructivism is a learning theory
• Emphasizes problem solving and  understanding • Uses authentic tasks, experiences, settings,  assessments • Content presented holistically – not in  separate smaller parts

Sources: Christie (2005);

Constructivism is a process – the instructor
• Adapt curriculum to address students’  suppositions • Help negotiate goals and objectives with learners • Pose problems of emerging relevance to students • Emphasize hands‐on, real‐world experiences • Seek and value students’ points of view • Social context of content  Sources: Christie (2005); Honebein (1996)

Constructivism is a process – the instructor
• Provide multiple modes of representations /  perspectives on content • Create new understandings via coaching,  moderating , suggesting • Testing should be integrated with the task and  not a separate activity • Use errors to inform students of progress to  understanding and changes in ideas Sources: Christie (2005); Honebein (1996)

Constructivism is a process – the student
• Help develop own goals and assessments • Create new understandings (via coaching,  moderating, suggesting) • Control learning (reflecting)

Source: Grennon Brooks & Brooks, 1999 

Constructivism is a process – the student
• Member of community of learners • Collaborate among fellow students • Learn in a social experience – appreciate  different perspectives • Take ownership and voice in learning process

Traditional Classroom
Begins with parts of the whole – emphasizes basic skills Strict adherence to  fixed curriculum Textbooks and workbooks Instructor gives /  students receive Instructor assumes directive,  authoritative role Assessment via testing  /  correct answers Knowledge is inert Students work individually

Constructivist Classroom
Begins with the whole – expanding to parts Pursuit of student questions / interests Primary sources / manipulative materials Learning is interaction‐building  on what students already know Instructor interacts /  negotiates with students Assessment via student works, observations,  points of view, tests. Process is as important  as product Knowledge is dynamic / changes with  experiences Students work in groups Thirteen Ed Online (2004).

Constructivism is an  instructional strategy
• Involves collaboration between instructors,  students and others (community members) • Tailored to needs and purposes of individual  learners • Features active, challenging, authentic and  multidisciplinary learning

Source: Christie (2005)

Constructivism is an  instructional strategy
• Constructivism can help students
– Pursue personal interests and purposes – Use and develop his or her abilities – Build on his or her prior knowledge and  experiences – Develop life‐long learning

Source: Christie (2005)

Constructivism is an  instructional strategy
• Constructivism encourages instructors to ...
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