Thursday, May 31, 2012

Educational Psychology: Constructivism

"As long as there were people asking each other questions, we have had constructivist classrooms. Constructivism, the study of learning, is about how we all make sense of our world and that really hasn't changed"- Jacqueline Grennon Brook

Opening of classes is now near and it's been a long time since I last posted about educational psychology. My last post was about behaviorism and now I would like to discuss the, shall I say, opposite of it- constructivism.

Unlike behaviorism, constructivism deals with learning as an active process, internal or external. This proposes that students construct their own meaning and understanding about the world by experiences and reflecting on these experiences. Learners then try to reconcile their newly acquired experiences or ideas to the previous and old ones. In short, learners are the creators or active constructors of their own knowledge/learning. Learning is seen as interactive, and is grounded upon on what the students already know. The knowledge being acquired is considered as dynamic, always changing together with experiences.

In a constructivist classroom, active teaching methods that require students to think are dominant. Students are taught not "what to learn", rather "how to learn. Teaching techniques like experiments, inquiry, problem solving, open discussion and the like are utilized by the teacher. These are being done because student questions, experiences and interests are given importance, thus there is freedom in sharing questions and ideas to the whole class.

Constructivism is advantageous to learning since learners are actively involved. It concentrates on thinking rather than simple memory or recall. It makes learning personal among the learners since they are given chances to share what they already know or what they have experienced. For this reason, social and communication skills are also developed.
Famous constructivist psychologists include Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, etc. Haist...out of characters...

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