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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?



What are some critical perspectives?

Constructivism has been criticized on various grounds. Some of the charges that critics level against it are:

. It's elitist. Critics say that constructivism and other "progressive" educational theories have been most successful with children from privileged backgrounds who are fortunate in having outstanding teachers, committed parents, and rich home environments. They argue that disadvantaged children, lacking such resources, benefit more from more explicit instruction.


. Social constructivism leads to "group think." Critics say the collaborative aspects of constructivist classrooms tend to produce a "tyranny of the majority," in which a few students' voices or interpretations dominate the group's conclusions, and dissenting students are forced to conform to the emerging consensus.

. There is little hard evidence that constructivist methods work. Critics say that constructivists, by rejecting evaluation through testing and other external criteria, have made themselves unaccountable for their students' progress. Critics also say that studies of various kinds of instruction -- in particular Project Follow Through 1, a long-term government initiative -- have found that students in constructivist classrooms lag behind those in more traditional classrooms in basic skills.


1.

Constructivists counter that in studies where children were compared on higher-order thinking skills, constructivist students seemed to outperform their peers.

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Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

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