Constructivism Definition Constructivism is a learning theory based on a type of learning in which the learner forms, or constructs, much of what he or she learns or comprehends. When students actively participate in the learning process by using critical-thinking skills to analyze a problem, they will create, or construct, their own understanding of a topic or problem. A common misunderstanding regarding constructivism is that instructors should never tell students anything directly, but, instead, should always allow them to construct knowledge for themselves. However, constructivism assumes that all knowledge is built on previous known knowledge, regardless of how one is taught.
Constructivism in the ClassroomWhat the teacher does What the student doesunder this theory under this theory Educators guide students to Student actively participate in the learning process by understanding and problem using critical thinking skills solving, but allow them to to analyze problems come to conclusions on their Students work in own collaborative groups to construct their own ideas A facilitator between and understandings students and their Students build new understanding of the knowledge of previous known knowledge through material exploring and inquiring Uses technology to information using effectively teach students technology
Four Leading Theorists of ConstructivismJean Piaget Jerome Lev Vygotsky John Dewey Bruner
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Piaget believed that children were constructing new knowledge as they moved through four different cognitive stages, building on what they already knew. Piaget’s four cognitive stages were sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. He believed children created adaptation, a cognitive understanding or development at any given time. Piaget concluded that children assimilate new knowledge as they experience new things and learn new information.
Piaget’s Cognitive Stages The first stage is the sensorimotor stage, when learning takes place primarily through the child’s senses and motor actions. The second stage is the preoperational stage, when children begin to use symbols and images and their imagination. The third stage is the concrete operational stage, when children begin to think logically and understand others point of view besides their own. The fourth stage is the formal operational stage, when children transition from concrete thinking to more abstract thinking.
Jerome Bruner (1915) Bruner was an American psychologist and educator that believed students learn when they are actively engaged in the learning process. His constructivist theory provides a framework for instruction based on the study of cognition, a concept that suggests that an individual progresses through different intellectual stages. He believed teachers should use technology, higher level thinking, and Socratic methods to encourage students to explore and inquiry information on their own.
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) Vygotsky was a Russian educational psychologist that developed the term social cognition, the belief that learning was influenced significantly by social development. He believed that a child’ social environment could positively or negatively affect the child’s cognitive development. Vygotsky strongly believed students should work in collaborative groups to share their different perspective with each other. He was also a proponent for scaffolding as a way to determine where a student was at cognitively and socially.
John Dewey (1859-1952) He was an educational psychologist, philosopher, and political activist who strongly believed in child- centered instruction. Created the Laboratory School (often called the Dewey School) in which students learned by doing and were allowed to construct, create, and actively participate in their curriculum. He was a strong advocate for progressive education, teaching the whole child, physically, mentally, and socially, not just facts and information.
Constructivism in MY Classroom As an educator, I will definitely use the Constructivist learning theory in my classroom. I will incorporate collaborative groups, critical-thinking activities, and hands-on curriculum using books, videos websites, and other forms of digital media and technology. I will incorporate child-centered instruction with traditional learning to accommodate to my students needs and learning styles.