“Do not train children in learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
Constructivist teaching is based on constructivist learning theory. It based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information.
Lesson goals and objectives
In this lesson you will learn:
How the teacher can become more of a facilitator
How the facilitator provides learners ownership of their own learning process, so they become effective thinkers
Ho well-designed pedagogical approach is paramount to that of digital technology
Learners are the makers of meaning and knowledge. So according to constructivism theory, the role of the teacher is to provide learners with opportunities and experiences to learn. Hence, it could be said that the teacher should become more of a facilitator. In doing so, learners become active participants, with the facilitator providing learners with a learning environment which will support and challenge their thinking. There is no better way in doing this than by using technology. Facilitators should aim to give learners ownership of their own learning process so that they will be effective thinkers. Whilst digital technology can improve learning, the contrary can be true also if a well-designed pedagogical approach is not created and evaluated, so care must be taken.
A: A theory of learning based on the idea that learners construct their own knowledge through direct experiences, as opposed to being taught concepts in the abstract.
Q: Why use the constructivism approach?
A: Teachers that use the constructivism approach believe that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction as opposed to passively receiving information. In general terms, a mathematical formula can be learnt through doing a practical “hands-on” exercise rather than receiving it from the teacher. The learners would do the exercise and construct the formula as part of the exercise. It is very much encouraged that teachers would implement the constructivism approach, as may subjects delivered in VET are a perfect match for such a technique.
Q: What does constructivism have to do with a teaching environment?
A: Most teachers will already be using the constructivism approach to some degree in their delivery of learning and teaching. Constructivist teachers will pose questions and problems, then guide learners to help them find their own answers – again, they could be considered to have more of a facilitation role once questions and problems have been provided. A few examples of constructivism in association with other approaches are given. Encourage learners to formulate their own questions (inquiry), and allow multiple interpretations and expressions of learning that encourage group work and the use of peers as resources (collaborative learning). It’s important to realise that the constructivist approach borrows from many other approaches in the pursuit of its primary goal: helping learners learn. Studies provide evidence that learners learn more, and enjoy learning more when they are actively involved, rather than when they participate as passive listeners. The use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) will certainly allow teachers to deploy the constructivism approach in their learning and teaching methodologies.
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