What is Constructivism? Constructivism is part of the Cognitive-Developmental Theory of Learning. Constructivism focuses on the nature of knowledge and learning. Each individual is actively involved in the process of their learning. Students participate in the construction of their own learning. Learners need to understand how they process and learn information. New knowledge must be connected to background knowledge.
Background on Cognitive- developmental theory Remember Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and John Dewey?
Jean Piaget Cognitive Stages of Development 1. Sensorimotor stage 2. Preoperational stage 3. Concrete operations stage 4. Formal operations stage
Lev Vygotsky His theory involved both cognitive and sociocultural development. He believed that a childs cognitive development was determined by their social interactions. Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky believed that children did not need to be in a certain stage to learn. He believed that children could advance to higher levels of thinking by effective instruction.
John Dewey learn by doing learning should be organized around the individual not the content inquiry-based approached to learning problem-solving skills and informal reasoning the learner's interest in an issue must be found and learning should be centered around that interest
Back to Constructivism Key Points: The learner is involved in generating meaning. Students connect new learning with prior knowledge. Learning is at its best when the learner is aware of how they learn metacognition. As students learn, they question, interpret, and interact with their background knowledge. (1) learning is an active process of constructing rather than acquiring knowledge, and (2) instruction is a process of supporting that construction rather than communicating knowledge (Duffy & Cunningham (p.2).
Constructivism Allows Teachers to: EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION CRITICAL, CREATIVE, INTUITIVE THINKING; PROBLEM SOLVING; DISCOVERY UNDERSTANDING HOW TO CONNECT TO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE UNDERSTANDING HOW CHILDREN PROCESS INFORMATION AND LEARN METACOGNITION
SO, WHY DO PRINCIPALS NEED TO UNDERSTAND CONTRUCTIVISM? VISION STATEMENT MISSION STATEMENT STAFF DEVELOPMENT RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION RELATIONSHIPS EFFECTIVE TEACHERS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT BRAIN RESEARCH
Finally, Lev Vygotsky believed that students could reach higher levels of cognitive development if they received highly effective instruction. So, the question becomes, if students interacting with effective teachers may perform or think better than before, what about students interacting with less effective teachers? (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009, p. 125).
Bottom Line It is the principals responsibility to ensure the best, most effective teacher is in each classroom.
References Ornstein, A., Hunkins, F., (2009). Curriculum: foundations, principles, and issues. Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc. Duffy, T., Cunningham, D., Constructivism: implications for the design and delivery of instruction. Retrieved from: http://iris.nyit.edu/~kkhoo/Spring2008/Topics/C ons/ConstructivismImplications.pdf. March 3, 2011 http://iris.nyit.edu/~kkhoo/Spring2008/Topics/C ons/ConstructivismImplications.pdf