An Introduction to
From Carolyn W-P
A Short Summary of Constructivism
- The main idea behind constructivism is that children learn
in steps, each new concept they learn can be expanded
-Teaching should be strategic enabling the student to master
one skill then move onto another.
-For example before teaching a student how to make text fly
in on a slide you should teach them how to enter text.
- Another key point is that the student take active
participation in learning and want to learn more. The teacher
should assist and guide the student, not only lecture.
Contributions from Jerome Burner
-Burner came up with the concept of spiral curriculum.
-Students would build upon what they already know and
learn more progressively adding to information presented.
This implies that it is very important to plan curriculum for the
child to learn upon past material.
- He also developed part of the theory of cognition believeing
that people went through intellectual stages that enable them
to understand and connect intellectually more so than each
Contributions from Jean Piaget
- He observed childhood curiousity and acknowledged that
the children did not require any motivation to learn the
naturally were interested.
- I personally believe having a young child that if teachers
could preserve the natural curiousity children have and
continue to build upon what they find teaching them would
be tremendously easier. Babies do not require any
motivation to explore, they do so on their own and there is
no stopping them!
-Piaget believed children thought in a different way than
adults and also learned differently as they progressed
though different cognitive stages.
- He named four cognitive stages, each with approximate
ages, but one has to complete one stage before going onto
-This in an important theory for education because it
stresses that a child is not capable of understanding
concepts until the mind has developed to be ready. This
gives me a lot of patience with younger children.
Contributions from Lev Vygotsky
- He believed social conditions and culture have an impact
on students learning.
- He believed social influence could be positive or negative.
- His most important contribution was the concept of
scaffolding, scaffolding is when a teacher helps a student
learn a concept until he fully understands it then moves onto
another. The importance is the support the teacher provides
in learning new concepts until the child does not need help
Contributions of John Dewey
- Dewey was an advocate for child centered education and
progressive education. He thought lecturing in front of a
class was not sufficient teaching.
- He founded several schools to put his theories into practice
and has had great influence on the way schools are
-He believed student interaction
was necesary for education.
Piaget Cognitive Stages Table
Article on Constructivsm
Student Centered Learning Image