Constructivism in Education


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Constructivism in Education

  1. 1. o New to teachingo Experimentalo Reflecting to improve
  2. 2. o More experiencedo Immersed in curriculum activitieso Building relationshipso Engaged but criticalo Classroom managemento Balancing old and new
  3. 3. o Exude confidenceo Self efficacyo Sense of with-it-nesso Inspirationalo Embracing new modalities and theorieso Creating their own path
  4. 4. o Stay in comfort zoneo Criticise new theories andteaching practiceso Teach to students not for studentso Lost passion
  5. 5. o What about you?o Can you relate?o Are you ready to link prior experience with future teacher potential?o Where do you fit?o Which group?o What next?o What will you be?
  6. 6. o Start now to develop your own teaching identityo Use your story and the stories of others to guide youo What experience do you bring?
  7. 7. o Position your students so they can use the knowledge they haveo Affirm prior knowledgeo Challenge assumptions
  8. 8. Constructivism is…o A theoretical perspectiveo Learners construct knowledge in relation to experienceo Learners don‟t absorb knowledge at face value
  9. 9. “Our experience of the world is presented to usby our 5 senses. The information is transmittedto our brain which then attempts to constructa meaningful account of the sensory inputs.This construct of meaning depends heavily onour previous experience as the brain tries torelate the incoming information to thatalready processed or assimilated. This previousexperience is, in effect, a prejudice. We do nosee the world as it is, but as we are. This leadsto one of the basic principles of constructivism;truth is not absolute, it is merely aconstruction of viable explanations from ourexperiences” (1996, pg. 27)
  10. 10. o Natural, relevant, productive and empowering form of instruction for students.o It‟s about recognising existing ideas and building on them to create a richer, diverse set of concepts.o Piaget (1896-1980)o Dewey (1859-1952)o Vygotsky (1894-1934)o Montessori (1870-1952)o Bruner (1915-current)
  11. 11. o Children are curious and love to exploreo They want to learno Assimilation:- The ability to deal with new knowledge or experiences in a way that is consistent with prior learningo Accommodation:- The ability to deal with knowledge or experiences by modification or creation of links in relation to prior learningo Disequilibrium:- A state of confusion that occurs when learning can not be assimilated or accommodatedo Equilibrium:- The ability to restructure ideas, beliefs and knowledgeo Cognitive Constructivism:- Making meaning relies on individual cognition to process information within existing schema/frameworks of understanding
  12. 12. o Adults convey meaning to children via informal and formal interactions.o Children incorporate alternate understandings in order to construct meaning.o Actual Development Level:- the highest level at which a child can successfully perform a task independentlyo Level of Potential Development:- the highest level at which a child can successfully perform a task with assistanceo Zone of Proximal Development:- the range of tasks that can be achieved with assistance but which are too difficult to perform aloneo Co-Construction:- a shared approach to meaning making as a learning process where participants combine knowledge together in new ways.o Guided Participation:- involves teachers and students working on meaningful shared tasks that include shared values. It usually involves tasks that lead to an end pointo Peer Tutoring:- a children mastery over tasks, they can begin to teach others what they have learned. As a result, learning is consolidated, motivation is heightened and the „teachers‟ become more competent at guiding themselves.o Self regulation:- directing and controlling one‟s own actions by using self- talk and inner speech.o Cooperative Learning Groups:- group work in which children work collaboratively.
  13. 13. o Authentic Activities:- tasks that closely resemble those that children ay encounter in the adult world.o Scaffolding:- the temporary guidance and support provided to learners as they increase competence in areas of development and learning (coined by Jerome Bruner, but typically applied to Vygotsky‟s view of guided instruction with in a students ZPD)o Inner Speech:- the words that are used by children and adults to communicate interpersonally as a way of guiding behaviour and thinking. By participating in private speech learners are able to transform knowledge and dialogue with others their own personal thinking blocks.o (Hedges 2000; Hurst & Cooke, 2010; pg. 267-271; Marsh, 2012; pg 46; Machado & Botnarescue, 2008;pg 120 and Mc Devitt & Ormrod, 2004; pg 166-175)o McDevitt and Ormrod (2004) cite Berk and Spuhl as saying: “children who talk themselves through challenging tasks pay more attention to what they are doing and are more likely to show improvement in their performance” (pg 175).
  14. 14. As I sit on the edge of my bed, I can feel the nervousness beginto creep into my hands and feet. Like a drummer without sticks,I tap to the rhythm of my racing heart. Consciously I take a fewdeep breaths. My heart slows; as does my tapping.Today is my interview with the school and for some reason, theexcitement surrounding this position is reaching epic proportions.Seeds of doubt challenge to unravel my desire to do well. I beginto remind myself about successful interviews I have had in thepast: “My interviews generally go well”; “I have the necessary skills and am willing to learn more so I can do the job well”; “All my resources and references are ready”Knowing there is not much more I can do, I grab my bag andkeys and head for the car.
  15. 15. The drive to the school is a fairly easy one and I arrive withplenty of time to spare. I pass the water features on my way inand I remind myself to: “Relax… and breathe”I inform the lady at the desk that I am here for an interview. Sheasks me to take a seat and wait for a moment. I continue mymental checklist: “I have arrived early”; “I have checked my appearance in the mirror - NO I don’t have any toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoes, - NO my skirt is not hitched up into my stockings!”A lady in red approaches me and introduces herself:“Great! This is the lady I am supposed to meet…, but why is she asking why am I here?I respond that I am here for an interview, but one look at herface tells me that she is not expecting me! “ No! No! NO! NO! NOOOOOO!” “Relax… and breathe!”
  16. 16. I pull out the email sent to me from the recruitment agency and as Ido, my eyes fixate on the date – A WEEK FROM TODAY! “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”I was so excited about the interview and made sure I had fulfilled therequirements of the interview brief, yet here I was a week early: “Relax… breathe; relax… breathe…. BREATHE!”; “I wonder what my chances are of having the floor open up and swallow me whole, Right. About. Now!”No hole appears, so I will myself to stay calm and positive. I apologiseto the lady for inconveniencing her and tell her: “I don’t know what to tell her, so I try to insert some humour”.Well I guess I will have to look forward to meeting you again – sametime, same place, but in a week from now. With that I walk out withas much dignity as I can muster after making such a blunder. As Iwalk to the car, I try to focus on the positives: “ I already know where to go and have met one of the panel members” “I have an extra week to refine and improve my presentation”.So, I’ll try again next week and hopefully I can build on my previousattempt with a flawless interview and of course double checking that I have the right date this time.
  17. 17. o Start adopting practices that suit you.o Teaching is about knowing what to teach, how to teach it, who you teach and what their needs, wants and behaviours are.o Student learning must be balanced with teacher learning.o Actively improve pedagogy.
  18. 18. Pedagogy: the art, science or strategies ofteaching based on professional knowledgeand reflective practice
  19. 19. o Who? (teachers and students) o What? (subject matter) o How? (instructional methodso A) You are NOT alone: We all have bad dayso B) Don‟t give up!: The more we know about learners and the learning process, the easier it is to guide and facilitate learning.
  20. 20. o A constructivist pedagogy is one which enhances student learning through the engagement of their pre-existing knowledge.Studentso Construct new knowledgeo Identify what they already know ando Seek solutions to what they want to learnHigh Quality Teaching= Effective Pedagogy
  21. 21. Effective pedagogies involve time spend critically reviewingpersonal and collective beliefs, practices, theories, ideas and outcomes.How well can you mergethe path between thesystem/school and thestudents?
  22. 22. Transformative teaching practices take time. Our workshould be of strong social value. When we see the effect onour students and their families then we will be able to facethe challenges of our profession.Constructivist teachers view learners aso Self regulatedo Active participantso Co-constructors of meaningA constructivist learning environment encourageso social networkingo Experiential opportunitieso Inquiry-based or problem based learning
  23. 23. Context Context CRAFT KNOWLEDGE A Personal Experience Teacher’s Personal Practical (Components of Teacher Wisdom) Practical Knowledge Theory Formal Teaching Education Courses Context Context
  24. 24. o Experiment with physical objects and natural phenomenon~ play with water, sand, leaves; go on a nature/learning walk, construct dioramas about natural habitatso Make time for play everyday~ set up a doll‟s hairdressing salon; build cubby houses; role play being superheroes; construct a tower with blocks, play ball games, create a shop corner, incorporate board gamesMany share Vygotsky and Piaget‟s belief that play provides anarena where children practice the skills they will need in laterlife. Play helps children experiment with new combinations ofobjects, identify cause-effect relationships and learn more aboutother people‟s views and ideas (Mc Devitt & Ormrod (2004; pg171)
  25. 25. o Create Multisensory Learning Opportunities~ Cooking, sharing a meal with a common theme, dancing, creating a piece of art from nature, pin the tail on the donkeyLearning occurs as the child interacts with the environment using allof their senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) kinaesthetically (withan awareness of where the body is in space). (Machado & Botnarescue,2008; pg 104)o Peer/ Group Discussions~ Community circles; Tribes; Topic Soap Box; In the Spotlight; Show and Tell; End of task share time.Utilising student initiated or teacher directed conversations enablesstudents to voice their opinions, ideas and helps them gain anunderstanding and an appreciation for alternate perspectives, as theyask questions, solve problems, raise issues while validating eachperson‟s individuality and contribution to the classroom.
  26. 26. o Incorporate Multiple Intelligences or Learning Styles~ Using Gardner‟s approach to Multiple Intelligences to create learning activities that focus on each type of intelligence. These include: logical/mathematical; musical; spatial; linguistic; bodily-kinaesthetic; interpersonal; intrapersonal, naturalist (Churchill et al, 2011; pg 94)According to Machado & Botnarescue (2008), a childremembers~ 10% of what they read 20% of what they hear 30% of what they see 50% of what they hear and see 70% of what they say and write and 90% of what they experience using a multipleintelligence approach to learning.
  27. 27. o Find ways of helping your students to see themselves as capable and belonging to the group~ Star/VIP of the day/week; positive reinforcement; verbal praise; offer viable choices; utilise cooperative learning strategies; assign roles of responsibility.o Create a secure, rather than a coercive classroom environment where children can cooperate, develop reciprocal respect, exercise their curiosity and confidently figure things out on their own
  28. 28. o Share the students pleasure, frustration and disappointment~ help them articulate what they are feeling and why; discuss one-to-one or if the situation allows it, have a group discussion about the issue where the children find solutions; provide avenues of reflection such as drawing, journaling or role plays.o Incorporate thematic units of investigation~ create a multiple intelligences grid of activities for the children to choose from, let the themes be driven by student interest, develop an topic table where children can bring relevant items from home to discuss and displayo Have high expectations for all students~ engage in affirming, non verbal behaviours (smile, lean in when they are talking, make eye contact); treat them as though they are as enthusiastic about learning/the topic as you, provide various ways of immersing in a subject.Teacher decisions are based on assumptions of child potential and have atangible effect on student achievement. Children tend to internalise the beliefsteachers have about their ability and will generally rise or fall to that level ofexpectation (Machado & Botnarescue, 2008; pg 140)
  29. 29. o Create problem-based or open-ended tasks that encourage students to take an active role in building understanding and making meaning~ use children inspired questions to provide investigation into teachable moments – e.g. if someone walks in with a broken bone, use that opportunity to teach about bones, formulate questions, address complex issues (how do bones get broken?) and resolve problems (what can we do in the playground to avoid breaking someone‟s bone?). (Marsh, 2010; pg 211)o Create assessment tasks that are authentic and real~ the end point needs to be something that is tangible, something that has transferable skills for life – recall information and what it means to them, a product of investigation such as a poster, power point presentation, video, creative designo Allow time for reflection (of self, of learning, of topic/unit)~ journal writing; lesson share time; peer review/assessment; self assessment. This is when most students are able to make direct links between their prior learning and new information and meaning. Without reflection time, each task becomes nothing more than an interesting exercise where students may or may not learn something. Remember the key to constructivist learning is that students just don‟t absorb knowledge they need to interact with it.
  30. 30. Cowley and Underwood (as cited in Machado & Botnarescue,2008; pg 102) suggest seven strategies which help childrenlearn in a constructivist classroom:o Review and repeat past experiences to strengthen cognitive associations ( or schema)o Relate activities and situations to real life experienceso Provide opportunities for practicing skillso Help Children articulate their ideas and discoverieso Verbally mirror statement of learning and emotionso Make links between present task and prior learningo Build positive relationships with every student
  31. 31. o What will you do to ensure that students feel accepted by you, by their peers?o What will you do to allow students to reflect on and articulate their feelings and ideas about learning?o How will you establish expectations and a sense of predictability in your classroom and your students?o What strategies will you implement to create a learning environment that is comfortable, orderly, safe and secure?o How will individual learning and equal contribution be celebrated in your classroom?o What will you do to ensure that each student has some control over their own learning construction? (Churchill et al, 2011; pg 162)
  32. 32. o Traditional educational discourses position the student as inferior.o Teachers must deliberately choose to cultivate an environment that does otherwise.
  33. 33. o Classroom Management~ a differentiated curriculum means that often lots of different groups are happening simultaneously.o Teachers can feel daunted or overwhelmed.o Remember! Misbehaviour is not insubordination, it is an outlet of need.o 6 „r‟s‟o Routineso Ritualso Rightso Responsibilitieso Ruleso Results (Consequence of choice)o (Churchill et al, 2008; pg 80 & 166)
  34. 34. o Self Efficacy~ how a student or teacher views their capacity to perform a task.o Self Efficacy is informed by a person‟s confidence, motivation and self knowledge.o The higher the level of self efficacy, the greater the perseverance to a task. (Garvis & Pendergast, 2011)o Teacher self efficacy is formed in the early years of teaching.o Can lead to anxiety, learned helplessness and even failure.o Ensure intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is appliedo Break things down into smaller, achievable taskso Reward on completion
  35. 35. o Teaching Styles vs Student Learning Styleso Can be diametrically opposed (Marsh, 2010; pg 196).o Teachers teach the way they learn.o Linked to teacher self efficacy.o Embrace a variety of instructional methods.
  36. 36. Pyramid of InstructionalChoice Direct Instruction(Not in any particular order) Discussion Problem-based Learning Independent Study Inquiry Learning Learning Centres Lectures/Presentation Cooperative Learning Oral Reports Practice Skills Projects Questions Brain Storming Small Group Work Role Plays Constructive Learning Online Teaching Demonstrations
  37. 37. o Pedagogy vs Andragogy~ Andragogy is the process of moving from a state of dependence towards independence and self directednesso Teacher may be unaware that a student has moved past their Zone of Proximal Development.o Teachers need to ensure observations and assessments are performed regularly.o If intervention or the rise of challenge is not timely, student disinterest and boredom can set in.o Impact on classroom management.
  38. 38. Constructivism is an approach to teaching that recognises thateverything a person learns is mediated by their priorexperiences and understanding. One of the most debated andinfluential theories in education of our time, it positions thestudent as a constructor of their own knowledge rather thansimply absorbing what they are taught.Pre-service education courses provide socialisation andinduction into the profession and as such, it plays a importantrole in the construct of teacher identity, self-efficacy, andongoing learning. It is during your teaching course where youwill learn the value of critical reflection and strategies to helpnavigate the school-teacher-student dichotomy. Theories oflearning and theories of pedagogy do not always fircomfortably with one another, therefore beginning teachersmust think about teaching and learning within theenvironment in which they find themselves.
  39. 39. The constructivist approach is distinguished by the cognitive action that takesplace as children create meaning from experiences and new knowledge fromactivities. A safe, secure and supportive classroom allows children to workcooperatively, develop respect and understanding for others, exercise theircuriosity and gain confidence by solving problems on their own.By providing a wide variety of materials, creating activities, assessingprocesses and alternating instruction choice, teachers help facilitate learningby proposing ideas rather than imposing them. Key program features includeactivation of prior knowledge, investigations, collaboration, games, humour,narrative episodes, task mastery and independent thinking.While constructivism focuses on maximising understanding, it is also a mode ofinstruction which is not without it‟s limitations. However, these can beovercome with perseverance, resilience and creativity. Once overcome, theconstructivist teacher can continue to:•Ensure learners can construct own meaning•Emphasise active learning•Engage learners in authentic tasks•Encourage social interaction and discussion•Embrace scaffolded learning opportunities•Entertain inner speech as thinking process and•Explore relationships with others.