does this theory differ from traditional ideas about teaching
does constructivism have to do with my classroom?
is the history of constructivism, and how has it changed over
are some critical perspectives?
are the benefits of constructivism?
the history of constructivism, and how has it changed over time?
The concept of constructivism has roots in classical antiquity, going
back to Socrates's dialogues with his followers, in which he
asked directed questions that led his students to realize for
themselves the weaknesses in their thinking. The Socratic dialogue
is still an important tool in the way constructivist educators
assess their students' learning and plan new learning experiences.
In this century, Jean Piaget
1 and John
2 developed theories of childhood development
and education, what we now call Progressive Education, that
led to the evolution of constructivism.
Piaget believed that humans learn through the construction of
one logical structure after another. He also concluded that
the logic of children and their modes of thinking are initially
entirely different from those of adults. The implications of
this theory and how he applied them have shaped the foundation
for constructivist education.
Dewey called for education to be grounded in real experience.
He wrote, "If you have doubts about how learning happens, engage
in sustained inquiry: study, ponder, consider alternative possibilities
and arrive at your belief grounded in evidence." Inquiry is
a key part of constructivist learning.
Among the educators, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists
who have added new perspectives to constructivist learning theory
and practice are Lev Vygotsky
4, and David Ausubel
Vygotsky introduced the social aspect of learning into constructivism.
He defined the "zone of proximal learning," according to which
students solve problems beyond their actual developmental level
(but within their level of potential development) under adult
guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.
Bruner initiated curriculum change based on the notion that
learning is an active, social process in which students construct
new ideas or concepts based on their current knowledge.
6 groundbreaking work in using
computers to teach children has led to the widespread use of
computer and information technology in constructivist environments.
Modern educators who have studied, written about, and practiced
constructivist approaches to education include John D. Bransford
Ernst von Glasersfeld
8, Eleanor Duckworth
10, Roger Schank
Jacqueline Grennon Brooks
12, and Martin
Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
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