Constructivist theory


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Constructivist theory

  1. 1. Lesa Slocum EME 2040
  2. 2. Key Points of the Constructivist TheoryConstructivist believe:• Children learn by doing• Children understand by reflecting on their experiences• Children construct their own understanding of a topic or problem when they actively participate in the learning process by using critical thinking skills to analyze a problem.
  3. 3. Key People Associated With the Constructivist Theory Jean Piaget (1896- 1980) Swiss Psychologist who developed the cognitive learning theory Jerome Bruner (1915- ) American Psychologist who developed the learning approach known as spiral curriculum. Lev Vygotsky (1896- 1934) Russian Psychologist developed social cognition. John Dewey (1859-1952) John Dewey American Psychologist played a significant role in the progressive education movement.
  4. 4. Jean Piaget Believed that children were active learners in need or no motivation from adults. Organize what they learn into schemes Founded the cognitive learning theory. Cognitive Learning Theory:Children constructed new knowledge as they move through different cognitive stages building on what they already know within a given scheme with use of assimilation and accommodation.
  5. 5. Piaget Stages of Cognitive DevelopmentStage Beginning Age of General Description OnsetSensorimotor Birth At the start of this stage children’s actions are largelyStage random; their thoughts are based on what they see very “in the moment”. Later, children acquire-cause- and effect relationships enabling them to participate in goal directed behavior.Preoperational About 2 years old Children are now able to represent objects mentally.Stage This allows for recognition of past events and envisions of future ones similar to those events. They build on schemes and create now ones. Children at this age are very egocentric.Concrete Between the ages of 6-7 Children are able to understand perspective andOperations opinion but have trouble with the reasoning ofStage abstract or hypothetical ideas. Children are able to organize thoughts and ideas to different/multiple schemes.Formal Between the ages of 11-12 Children are able to think logically about abstract
  6. 6. Jerome Bruner Bruner’s constructivist theory provided the framework needed to create curriculum based on the study of cognition. He believed that students learn a subject through many ways and using different activities. Proposed the idea of a spiral curriculum. Bruner felt that teachers should  encourage students participation through exploration and inquiry.  encourage self-exploration of topics.  Translate information to be learned into a form appropriate for the students level of understanding.
  7. 7. Lev Vygotsky Developed social cognition. Believed that learning was influenced by social development and culture. Proposed that children have a zone of proximal development. There is a difference from what a child has learned and what the child has a potential of learning with someone such as a teacher. Felt that children should work together and share different perspectives. Believed that teachers should discover the level of social/ cognitive development of each student Students then alter a scheme in a way that provides an organized way of understanding and remembering information(this is also known as scaffolding).
  8. 8. John Dewey Referred to by some as the Father of American Education. Part of the progressive education movement. Advocated for child-centered instruction. He believed that:  School should be viewed as an extension of society.  Teachers served as a guide for resources whereas learning was student directed.  Teachers should create activities with a practical relevant to students’ lives.  Education should focus on educating students physically, mentally, and socially.  Teachers should not simply dispense facts and information.  This type of learning would help students function well in society.
  9. 9. How Can You or I Use This Theory in Our ClassroomsIf a teachers know where a student stands cognitively, then they are able to create a curriculum based on the learners background and age. This curriculum will be challenging, engaging, and appropriate. Teachers will be able to build on prior knowledge and understand in what ways they could expand a child’s cognitive abilities. Children are egger to learn and if the teacher fosters that eagerness then a child will continue to learn and enjoy learning. I would recommend using a variety of resources for any given subject- games, internet, hands on activities, books, etc. As teachers we have the ability to create a solid foundation for which knowledge and information can be built.
  10. 10. Important TermsAccommodation- process of responding to a new event by either modifying an existing scheme or forming a new one.Assimilation- is a process of responding to a new event in a way that is consistent with an existing scheme.Egocentric-inability to view situations from another person’s perspective.Scheme- an organized group of similar actions or thoughts that are used repeatedly in response to the environment.Social Cognition- is the study of how people process social informationSpiral Curriculum- curriculum based on continually building knowledge upon what students already have learned.
  11. 11. Works CitedKinnes, Tormod. Picture of Jerome Bruner. Digital image. N.p., 2002. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.Picture of Jean Piaget. Digital image. NNDB. Soylent Communications, 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.Picture of John Dewey. Digital image. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Northwest Missouri State University, 25 Apr. 2001. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.Picture of Lev Vygotski. Digital image. Belarus- EU Partnership: Science and Culture. National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. <>.McDevitt, Teresa M., and Jeanne Ellis. Ormrod. Child Development and Education. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall, 2002. Print.Shelly, Gary B., Randolph E. Gunter, and Glenda A. Gunter. Teachers Discovering Computers. Mason, OH: South-Western, 2012. Print.