Constructivism of educational philosophy learning

constructivism of educational philosophy learning

For many educators, the social context of learning is critical. Ideas are tested not just on the teacher, but with fellow students, friends and colleagues. Furthermore, knowledge is mainly acquired through social processes or institutions that are socially constructed: schools, universities, and increasingly these days, online communities. Constructivists believe that learning is a constantly dynamic process.

For instance, as a very young child, we understand the concept of heat through touch. Reflection, seminars, discussion forums, small group work, and projects are key methods used to support constructivist learning. The level of teacher guidance can vary in a constructivist approach to problem-solving, from none at all, to providing some guidelines on how to solve the problem, to directing students to possible sources of information that may be relevant to solving that problem, to getting students to brainstorm particular solutions.


Students will probably work in groups, help each other and compare solutions to the problem. Video 4. When acting or reacting to his or her surroundings, the child has relatively little language skills initially. From this point of view, therefore, a primary responsibility of teachers is to provide a very rich classroom environment, so that children can interact with it independently and gradually make themselves ready for verbal learning that is increasingly sophisticated.

Social constructivists such as Vygotsky, on the other hand, emphasize the importance of social interaction in stimulating the development of the child.

Language and dialogue, therefore, are primary, and development is seen as happening as a result—the converse of the sequence pictured by Piaget.

Obviously a child does not begin life with a lot of initial language skills, but this fact is why interactions need to be scaffolded with more experienced experts— people capable of creating a zone of proximal development in their conversations and other interactions. Consistent with the ideas above, psychological constructivism tends to see a relatively limited role for abstract or hypothetical reasoning in the life of children—and even in the reasoning of youth and many adults.

Such reasoning is regarded as an outgrowth of years of interacting with the environment very concretely.

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Even older youth are thought to reason in this way much, or even all of the time. From this perspective, a teacher should limit the amount of thinking about abstract ideas that she expects from students. Social constructivism sees abstract thinking emerging from a dialogue between a relative novice a child or youth and a more experienced expert a parent or teacher. From this point of view, the more such dialogue occurs, then the more the child can acquire facility with it.

They may not understand the experiment as an adult would, but the discussion can begin moving them toward adult-like understandings. In practice, the dissonance is often communicated verbally, by posing questions or ideas that are new or that students may have misunderstood in the past.

In social constructivism, as also explained earlier, development is thought to happen largely because of scaffolded dialogue in a zone of proximal development. In practice, however, the actual behavior of teachers and students may be quite similar in both forms of constructivism. Whether you think of yourself as a psychological constructivist or a social constructivist, there are strategies for helping students help in develop their thinking—in fact, the strategies constitute a major portion of this book, and are a major theme throughout the entire preservice teacher education programs.

For now, look briefly at just two.Constructivism in education has roots in Epistemology. The learner has prior knowledge and experiences, which is often determined by their social and cultural environment. While the Behaviorist school of learning may help understand what students are doing, educators also need to know what students are thinking, and how to enrich what students are thinking.

Piaget focused on how humans make meaning in relation to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas. His views tended to focus on human development in relation to what is occurring with an individual as distinct from development influenced by other persons.

Lev Vygotsky social constructivism emphasized the importance of sociocultural learning; how interactions with adults, more capable peers, and cognitive tools are internalized by learners to form mental constructs through the zone of proximal development.

constructivism of educational philosophy learning

Views more focused on human development in the context of the social world include the sociocultural or socio-historical perspective of Lev Vygotsky and the situated cognition perspectives of Mikhail Bakhtin, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger; Brown, Collins and Duguid; Newman, Griffin and Cole, and Barbara Rogoff. The concept of constructivism has influenced a number of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, education and the history of science. During its infancy, constructivism examined the interaction between human experiences and their reflexes or behavior-patterns.

Schemes are not to be confused with schemaa term that comes from schema theory, which is from information-processing perspectives on human cognition. Constructivism does not refer to a specific pedagogy, although it is often confused with constructionism, an educational theory developed by Seymour Papert, inspired by constructivist and experiential learning ideas of Piaget. Research support for constructivist teaching techniques has been mixed, with some studies in support and others contradicting constructivist results.

Today, constructivist theories are influential throughout the formal and informal learning sectors. In museum education, constructivist theories inform exhibit design. Here visitors are encouraged to explore a collection of real natural history specimens, to practice some scientific skills and make discoveries for themselves. Writers who influenced constructivism include:. Main article: What is Knowledge? It is important to note that constructivism is not a particular pedagogy.

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In both cases, the theory of constructivism suggests that learners construct knowledge out of their experiences. However, constructivism is often associated with pedagogic approaches that promote active learning, or learning by doing. Social constructivism not only acknowledges the uniqueness and complexity of the learner, but actually encourages, utilizes and rewards it as an integral part of the learning process.

Social constructivisms or socioculturalism encourage the learner or learners to arrive at his or her version of the truth, influenced by his or her background, culture or embedded worldview. Without the social interaction with other more knowledgeable people, it is impossible to acquire social meaning of important symbol systems and learn how to utilize them. Young children develop their thinking abilities by interacting with other children, adults and the physical world.

From the social constructivist viewpoint, it is thus important to take into account the background and culture of the learner throughout the learning process, as this background also helps to shape the knowledge and truth that the learner creates, discovers and attains in the learning process. Furthermore, it is argued that the responsibility of learning should reside increasingly with the learner.

Social constructivism thus emphasizes the importance of the learner being actively involved in the learning process, unlike previous educational viewpoints where the responsibility rested with the instructor to teach and where the learner played a passive, receptive role.By Saul McLeodpublished Constructivism's central idea is that human learning is constructed, that learners build new knowledge upon the foundation of previous learning.

This prior knowledge influences what new or modified knowledge an individual will construct from new learning experiences Phillips, Information may be passively received, but understanding cannot be, for it must come from making meaningful connections between prior knowledge, new knowledge, and the processes involved in learning.

Learning is a social activity - it is something we do together, in interaction with each other, rather than an abstract concept Dewey, For example, Vygotskybelieved that community plays a central role in the process of "making meaning. Thus, all teaching and learning is a matter of sharing and negotiating socially constituted knowledge.

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For example, Vygotsky states cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal development as children and their partner's co-construct knowledge. This means that same lesson, teaching or activity may result in different learning by each pupil, as their subjective interpretations differ. Foxp. Cultures and their knowledge-base are constantly in a process of change and the knowledge stored by individuals is not a rigid copy of some socially constructed template.

In learning a culture, each child changes that culture. The constructivist theory posits that knowledge can only exist within the human mind, and that it does not have to match any real world reality Driscoll, Learners will be constantly trying to develop their own individual mental model of the real world from their perceptions of that world.

As they perceive each new experience, learners will continually update their own mental models to reflect the new information, and will, therefore, construct their own interpretation of reality.

constructivism of educational philosophy learning

Typically, this continuum is divided into three broad categories: Cognitive constructivism based on the work of Jean Piagetsocial constructivism based on the work of Lev Vygotskyand radical constructivism. Cognitivist teaching methods aim to assist students in assimilating new information to existing knowledge, and enabling them to make the appropriate modifications to their existing intellectual framework to accommodate that information. According to social constructivism learning is a collaborative process, and knowledge develops from individuals' interactions with their culture and society.

Social constructivism was developed by Lev Vygotskyp. The notion of radical constructivism was developed by Ernst von Glasersfeld and states that all knowledge is constructed rather than perceived through senses.

Learners construct new knowledge on the foundations of their existing knowledge. However, radical constructivism states that the knowledge individuals create tells us nothing about reality, and only helps us to function in your environment. Thus, knowledge is invented not discovered. Constructivist learning theory underpins a variety of student-centered teaching methods and techniques which contrast with traditional education, whereby knowledge is simply passively transmitted by teachers to students.Welcome to Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning.

Constructivism as a theory for teaching and learning

Thirteen Thirteen Ed Online thirteencelebration. All rights reserved. What is constructivism? How does this theory differ from traditional ideas about teaching and learning? What does constructivism have to do with my classroom? Expert interview What is the history of constructivism, and how has it changed over time? What are some critical perspectives? What are the benefits of constructivism? Constructivism is basically a theory -- based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn.

It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant.

In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know. In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques experiments, real-world problem solving to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing.

The teacher makes sure she understands the students' preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them. Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become "expert learners.

You might look at it as a spiral. When they continuously reflect on their experiences, students find their ideas gaining in complexity and power, and they develop increasingly strong abilities to integrate new information. One of the teacher's main roles becomes to encourage this learning and reflection process. For example: Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics.

Though the teacher knows the "answer" to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways.

Constructivist Approaches

She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it, and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore. They design and perform relevant experiments. Afterward, the students and teacher talk about what they have learned, and how their observations and experiments helped or did not help them to better understand the concept. Constructivism modifies that role, so that teachers help students to construct knowledge rather than to reproduce a series of facts.

The constructivist teacher provides tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. Always guided by the teacher, students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting knowledge from the teacher or the textbook.

Constructivism is also often misconstrued as a learning theory that compels students to "reinvent the wheel.Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in.

Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning. Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts.

And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts. In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models.

Since education is inherently interdisciplinary, the only valuable way to measure learning is to make the assessment part of the learning process, ensuring it provides students with information on the quality of their learning. Curriculum—Constructivism calls for the elimination of a standardized curriculum. Also, it emphasizes hands-on problem solving. Instruction—Under the theory of constructivism, educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students.

Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students. Assessment—Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing. Instead, assessment becomes part of the learning process so that students play a larger role in judging their own progress.

Right Brain Learning Read More. Multiple Intelligences Read More. I like your page. I want to know more about how it could be implemented in the poetry class. Thanks for the comment Remesh. Please send me any information related about this issue.

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Thank you and I love your site. I love your page.Constructivism is a theory in education that recognizes the learners' understanding and knowledge based on their own experiences prior to entering school. Constructivism in education has roots in epistemologywhich - in philosophy - is a theory of knowledge, which is concerned with the logical categories of knowledge and its justificational basis. In constructivism, hence, it is recognized that the learner has prior knowledge and experiences, which are often determined by their social and cultural environment.

While the Behaviorist school of learning may help understand what students are doing, educators also need to know what students are thinking, and how to enrich what students are thinking.

Constructivism can be traced back to educational psychology in the work of Jean Piaget — identified with Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Piaget focused on how humans make meaning in relation to the interaction between their experiences and their ideas. His views tended to focus on human development in relation to what is occurring with an individual as distinct from development influenced by other persons.

constructivism of educational philosophy learning

Expanding upon Vygotsky's theory Jerome Bruner and other educational psychologists developed the important concept of instructional scaffoldingwhereby the social or informational environment offers supports or scaffolds for learning that are gradually withdrawn as they become internalized. Views more focused on human development in the context of the social world include the sociocultural or socio-historical perspective of Lev Vygotsky and the situated cognition perspectives of Mikhail BakhtinJean Lave and Etienne Wenger ; [6] Brown, Collins and Duguid; [7] Newman, Griffin and Cole, [8] and Barbara Rogoff.

The concept of constructivism has influenced a number of disciplines, including psychologysociologyeducation and the history of science. Piaget called these systems of knowledge "schemes.

Constructivism (philosophy of education)

Schemes are not to be confused with schemaa term that comes from schema theorywhich is from information-processing perspectives on human cognition. Whereas Piaget's schemes are content-free, schemata the plural of schema are concepts ; for example, most humans have a schema for " grandmother ", " egg ", or " magnet. Constructivism does not refer to a specific pedagogyalthough it is often confused with constructionisman educational theory developed by Seymour Papertinspired by constructivist and experiential learning ideas of Piaget.

Piaget's theory of constructivist learning has had wide-ranging impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education, and is an underlying theme of education reform movements. Earlier educational philosophies did not place much value on what would become constructivist ideas; children's play and exploration were seen as aimless and of little importance.

Today, constructivist theories are influential throughout the formal and informal learning sectors. In museum educationconstructivist theories inform exhibit design. Writers who influenced constructivism include:.

The formalization of constructivism from a within-the-human perspective is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, who articulated mechanisms by which information from the environment and ideas from the individual interact and result in internalized structures developed by learners. He identified processes of assimilation and accommodation that are key in this interaction as individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences.

When individuals assimilate new information, they incorporate it into an already existing framework without changing that framework. This may occur when individuals' experiences are aligned with their internal representations of the world, but may also occur as a failure to change a faulty understanding; for example, they may not notice events, may misunderstand input from others, or may decide that an event is a fluke and is therefore unimportant as information about the world.Luke Zaphir does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

This is the second of two essays exploring key theories — cognitive load theory and constructivism — underlying teaching methods used today. Constructivism is an educational philosophy that deems experience as the best way to acquire knowledge. We truly understand something — according to a constructivist — when we filter it through our senses and interactions. Constructivism is an education philosophynot a learning method.

It is still being adapted to teaching practice. The philosophy underpins the inquiry-based method of teaching where the teacher facilitates a learning environment in which students discover answers for themselves.

Read more: Explainer: what is inquiry-based learning and how does it help prepare children for the real world? For instance, through sensations from birth, a child has basic interactions with the world; from two years old, they use language and play; they use logical reasoning from age seven, and abstract reasoning from age eleven. Before Piaget, there had been little specific analyses on the developmental psychology of humans. We understood that humans became more cognitively sophisticated as they aged, but not exactly how this occurred.

Most of our learning occurs in category two. In developmental psychology, this idea is known as the zone of proximal development — the place between our understanding and our ignorance. They could theoretically do this by brute force addition which will likely bore and frustrate them. They end up with 50 pairs offor a much easier, faster sum of 50 x The pattern and easy multiplication might not have come intuitively or even at all to most students. But facilitation by the teacher pushes their existing knowledge into a meaningful learning experience — using a completely mundane problem.

It then becomes a process of discovery rather than monotonous addition. Medical students began using constructivist pedagogies in US and Australian universities in the s. Instead of teachers showing students exactly how to do something and having them copy it known as explicit instructiontutors prompted students to form hypotheses and directed them to critique one another.

Constructivist pedagogy is now a common basis for teaching across the world. It is used across subjects, from maths and science to humanitiesbut with a variety of approaches. Learning methods based on constructivism primarily use group work.

The emphasis is on students building their understanding of a topic or issue collaboratively. Imagine a science class exploring gravity. The question of the day is: do objects drop at different speeds?

The teacher could facilitate this activity by asking:. Then, the teacher would give students the chance to conduct this experiment themselves. By doing this, teachers allow students to build on their individual strengths as they discover a concept and work at their own pace.

Experiments in science class, excursions to cultural landmarks in history class, acting out Shakespeare in English — these are all examples of constructivist learning activities. Constructivist principles naturally align with what we expect of teachers. Taking the constructivist approach means students can become more engaged and responsible for their own learning. Research since the s shows it encourages creativity.

Constructivism can be seen as merely a descriptive theoryproviding no directly useful teaching strategies. There are simply too many learning contexts cultures, ages, subjects, technologies for constructivism to be directly applicable, some might say.

It requires creative educational design and lesson planning.


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