Constructivist theory


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Constructivist Theory and Contributors, and Teaching Implications

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Constructivist theory

  1. 1. James Szigeti
  2. 2. Constructivists‟ Contributions Jean Piaget: Cognitive Stages, Schema, Assimilation, Accommodation Jerome Bruner: Cognitive Revolution, The Process of Education, Towards a Theory of Instruction, and The Culture of Education Lev Vygotsky: Social Cognition Theory, Zone of Proximal Development, and Collaborative Learning John Dewey: Progressive Education and Pragmatism
  3. 3. Jean Piaget Active participation and involvement build understanding which “is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery” (Thanasoulas).
  4. 4. Jerome Bruner Effective instruction aggregates readiness, a spiral organization structure that permits building on previous knowledge, and facilitation of extrapolation, or delving deeper (Thanasoulas).
  5. 5. Optimum Learning Process Enactive mode: direct manipulation of materials, correct method for a specific outcome Iconic mode: internal imagery associated with concepts that transform perceptions into meaning Symbolic mode: based on “abstract, discretionary, and flexible thought” (Kristinsdóttir).
  6. 6. Lev Vygotsky The two levels of development are „actual,‟ and „potential,‟ and the bridge is a child‟s competence to benefit from others (Kristinsdóttir).
  7. 7. John Dewey Understanding derives from situations embedded in a social context that induces application of concepts through meaningful experiences; students can only learn by “directed living” (Thanasoulas).
  8. 8. Two Principles of Constructivist View1. “Knowledge is actively constructed by the learner, not passively received from the environment.”2. “Coming to know is a process of adaptation based on and constantly modified by a learner’s experience of the world.” Acceptance of just the first, or both principles separates trivial from radical constructivism.
  9. 9. In the Classroom “The constructivist teacher sets up problems and monitors student exploration, guides the direction of student inquiry and promotes new patterns of thinking. Classes can take unexpected turns as students are given the autonomy to direct their own explorations… Constructivist teachers refer to raw data, primary sources, and interactive materials to provide experiences for their students rather than relying solely on anothers set of data.”
  10. 10. Teacher and Student Consequences Shifting responsibility to the learner is a tenet of constructivism that is reluctantly accepted, or implemented. The teacher must accommodate traditional curricula and external assessments in their approach. Without technology, a teacher may simply listen to students. Technology allows for broader access to information for learners that extend beyond the text. The students have to be willing to learn, and self-disciplined enough to be trusted with any level of autonomy. Technology opens doors for endless possibilities to reinforce their extrapolation, and distract them from their goal. Students take initiative and develop individual intellectual identities.(Powell)
  11. 11. Personal Constructivism Constructivism is all about empowering students to go beyond what is simply necessary, and transcend expectations. It seems defies the norms of many typical classroom settings, but for those learners with the initiative and autonomy to extrapolate and build on their knowledge, they will truly go far. I will integrate my views of constructivism into my curriculum in order to strengthen students abilities to improve in the long run.
  12. 12. Works Cited Kristinsdóttir, Sólrún B. "J. Bruner." J. Bruner. N.p., 2001. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <>. Kristinsdóttir, Sólrún B. "Â LevVygotsky (1896-1934)." Lev Vygotsky. N.p., 2001. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <>. Powell, Mary Jo. "Constructing Knowledge in the Classroom." SEDL - SCIMAST Classroom Compass. U. S. Department of Education, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <>. Thanasoulas, Dimitrios. "Constructivist Learning." Constructivist Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. < Learning_Articles/constructivist_learning.htm>.