CONSTRUCTIVISM ... Jean Piaget Lev S. Vygotsky Cognitive Constructivist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss

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    Desiree P. Dionsay

  • What is 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.

  • In the classroom

    The constructivist view of learning

    can point towards a number of

    different teaching practices.

    It usually means encouraging

    students to use active techniques to

    create more knowledge and then to

    reflect on and talk about what they

    are doing and how their

    understanding is changing.

  • 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”.

  • Consider this……

  • Key Words

     Metaphors of the


     Zone of Proximal


     Scaffolding

     Discovery Learning

    Key Figures

     John Dewey

     Jean Piaget

     Jerome Bruner

     Lev Vygotsky

  • Vico Giambattista Jean Jaques Rousseau

    John Dewey Jerome Brunner


    Historical Predecessors

  • Historical Predecessor Vico Giambattista

    (1668 - 1744) Italian

    – “… to know means to

    know how to make”

    – Getting away from

    memorization and



  • Historical Predecessor

    Jean Jaques Rousseau (1712-1778) born in

    Switzerland and died in


    – “emphasized learning by


    – Teachers should present

    problems that stimulate

    curiosity and promote



  • Historical Predecessor

    John Dewey (1859-1952) American

    – “… education is not

    preparation for life it is life

    itself …”

    – Focus on inquiry-based


    – Teachers as providers of

    tools, materials, appliances,…

    – Teachers will guide the

    learning process.


  • Historical Predecessor Jerome Bruner (1915- )


    Theory of Instruction: predisposition, structured knowledge, sequence, and

    pacing rewards and punishments.

    Instructional methods:

    Discovery Learning, Inquiry,

    Experimentation, Observation,

    Interviewing, Literature search,

    Summarizing, Defense of opinion

    Scaffolding Theory

    Spiral Curriculum


  • Constructivism

    How does it

    fit in?

  • Constructivism • Content, activity and learning

    is seen as a whole.

    • Learning is an active process that occurs by:

    – testing a hypothesis, gathering and sharing information, and solving a problem.

    • “… learning … is a process of active cognitive reorganization.”

    • “… learning … is a process of acculturation …

  • Constructivists:

    Two Schools of Thought





    Jean Piaget

    Lev S. Vygotsky

  • Cognitive Constructivist

    Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss

    • Learning is adaptation accomplished by:

    – Acculturation

    – Assimilation

    – Equilibrium

    • Information is organized into interrelated ideas or schemas


  • 18

    A Constructivist Approach

    • Jean Piaget’s theory remains

    the standard against which all

    other theories are judged

    – Often labeled constructivist because it depicts children as constructing knowledge for themselves

    • Children are seen as

    – Active

    – Learning many important lessons on their own

    – Intrinsically motivated to learn

  • Social Constructivism

  • Socio-cultural Constructivist

    Lev Semenovich Vygotsky

    • Zone of proximal development (Zo-ped)

    • Mediators of human actions in order to construct meaning – Technological tools

    – Psychological tools

    • Importance of culture and historical experience

    • Experience of others 1897-1933


  • Vygotsky’s ZPD

  • Scaffolding Theory

    • He used the term to

    describe young

    children's oral

    language acquisition.

    Helped by their

    parents when they first

    start learning to speak,

    young children are

    provided with

    instinctive structures to

    learn a language. Bed-

    time stories and read

    alouds are classic


  • Spiral Curriculum

    • Instead of focusing

    for relatively long

    periods of time on

    specific narrow

    topics, a spiral

    curriculum tries to

    expose students to a

    wide varies of ideas

    over and over ago.

  • Students

    • Will develop cultural understanding so that they can:

    – communicate adequately

    – develop collaborative skills

    – develop content knowledge

  • Instructor – Is viewed as a guide, manager, coach or tutor.

    – Help students develop thinking and reasoning skills:

    • Problem solving

    • Metacognition

    • Critical thinking

    – Challenge learning by asking questions such as:

    • Why?

    • What do you mean?

    • How do you know that’s true?

    – Avoid giving the answer or opinion.

  • Constructivism and

    Educational Technology

    • Technology as:

    – “a tool for the learner.”

    – “an integral part of the

    cognitive activity.”

    – Mind tools

    * Jonassen, David H. (2000). Computers as Mindtools for Schools: Engaging

    Critical Thinking. (2nd. Ed.) NJ: Merrill.

  • Mind as Rhizome (MAR)

    • Knowledge cannot be organized as a global system.

    • The mind is dynamic, constantly changing.

    • Thinking takes place through connections and interactions.

  • Metaphors we teach by All knowledge is constructed.

    Multiple perspectives can be constructed.

    Learning should occur in contexts to which it is


    Learning is mediated by tools and signs.

    Learning is inherently social-dialogical activity.

    Learners are distributed, multidimensional

    participants in a socio-cultural process.

    Knowing how we know is the ultimate human


  • “The end of human activity

    is not rest, but rather richer

    and better human activity.”

    Rorty (1991), p. 172

    Duffy, T.M. and Cunningham, R. J. Constructivism: Implications for the

    design and delivery of Instruction. In: Jonnasen, D. (Ed.) Handbook of

    research for educational communications and technology (170-198).

    Now think about this…

  • Thank You

    for listening!

    Desiree P. Dionsay