Anyone interested in constructivism?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Grover, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 6, 2010

    If so, please speak up- especially if you're working in a place where you can put it into practice effectively.
     
  2.  
  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,950
    Likes Received:
    2,102

    Apr 6, 2010

    I engaged in a lot of constructivist reading, discussion and exploration in my grad studies. My classroom philosophy is based on students making personal meaning of their activities...and yes, this is supported by my administration. I wouldn't say I'm ALL constructivist, ALL the time, but the implications of constructivism color my thinking, teaching and interactions with my students.
     
  4. Toak

    Toak Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 6, 2010

    My university was well known for its stance on constructivism being the best (though we learned all styles and the benefits and drawbacks of each).

    It really shows that is what the majority of schools want. Our graduates are highly sought after and the number of schools that come to our education job fair is about 5x the number that you will see at schools like Penn State.

    All of our class PATs had to have a constructivist component to them (one for every education and psychology class - and we only need one more psych class to have a psychology degree too). I do recall many students expressing frustration when they began student teaching and didn't have the time to make every lesson stellar the way they were taught and/or had to at times just hand out a worksheet, etc
     
  5. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 6, 2010

    I find that my students cannot handle this type of learning at the moment. I have to tread very slowly into this philosophy. My students do better when I use traditional styles. Our data actually supports this. Hopefully I can integrate more constructivist ideals next year if I move up with them. I think they will be more mature next year.
     
  6. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 6, 2010

    Czacza- what sorts of constructivist elements do you use in your class?
    Toak- I gather that you're in teacher education. Are you saying that your students are sought after for their constructivist training, but then often not allowed to use it in their classroom?

    Bumble- what sorts of constructivist elements can't your kids handle? I'm particularly curious about this, because I recognize a lot of areas where piecemeal applications of constructivism can come into conflict with a largely traditional context.
     
  7. beatlebug731

    beatlebug731 Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2010

    I really like constructivism. I just finished student teaching in december and unfortunately, I didn't have much of an opportunity to do this with everything being so focused on state testing. My first placement had more flexibility, but I still had to teach to the textbook. I have a hard time believing that this is really memorable for the students. I like using the text as a resource, not the end all be all of the lesson.

    When I get my first classroom, which will hopefully be autism support or life skills/multihandicap support, I plan on using constructivist methods of teaching. I'd really think that since these types of classrooms are more focused on learning functional living skills, the admin would more be more flexible about the methods used.
     
  8. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2010

    At lunch today I started rereading Dewey's Experience and Education, which I haven't looked at in 30-some years. The new arrival didn't let me get very far, but the first chapter, "Traditional vs. Progressive Education," struck me like a blunt object. E&E was originally published in 1938, and the description of 'traditional education' in the first chapter still describes the bulk of schooling in the U.S. (and every country I know anything about). I'd quote it but a certain young lady just woke up again...
     
  9. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 7, 2010

    Most of my students don't have the background experience that is required for constructivism to work. I have to use A LOT of direct instruction on a daily basis. Some of my students don't leave the community around our school. I used to be a total constructivist in college and was extremely surprised when it didn't work for my students.

    Plus, with all the prepackaged curricula doesn't help. :dizzy:
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,950
    Likes Received:
    2,102

    Apr 7, 2010

    Inquiry based learning

    Hands on activities

    Cooperative learning

    Class meetings

    Journals/response logs

    Experiential design of lessons


    I have no textbooks in my classroom. Activities are designed to be student centered and to bring out higher order thinking skills. We learn together and from each other. There is a joyful discovery in what we do....
     
  11. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 7, 2010

    Also, we are working on social skills. Once we get how to work with each other, then constructivism can work.
     
  12. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2010

    Yes, I think that last line tells the tale. Very hard to work a lot of constructivism in around Houghton-Mifflin. Without that, though-

    I worked in a demonstration school in Compton, and those kids had pretty much zero experience outside their neighborhood. Our approach was to bring the world into the classroom, starting with that community, both by going out to look at the community in an organized way, and having people like business owners and civil servants and family members come into the class to share their stories. Later we built on that with studies of societies in different times and places- with less first-hand research, of course!
     
  13. wrice

    wrice Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 7, 2010

    Constructivism is facilitated well in science, I think.

    Just yesterday we did a simple machines lab on levers. I brought in a wheelbarrow, a moving dolly, pliers, a crow bar, a tennis racket etc. and let the kids explore and manipulate them. We had talked about vector forces and I had them find ways to categorize the objects, so they were in to categorizing by force, direction, and distance. They eventually came up with the three classes of levers, their functions and their examples, by themselves.

    I think concept brainstorming and some intro vocab are necessary so kids can have a structure to their thoughts and a direction to their exploration, but to sharp and well-motivated kids constructivism has been an impacting way to learn science concepts.
     
  14. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2010

    I'd go farther- without constructivism, it ain't really science. If you're just taking somebody's word for it, it's more like religion.
    Your levers project sounds like a very good one.
     
  15. MathNrd

    MathNrd Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 8, 2010

    I try to use the constructivist approach but too often fall back on the traditional approach. Unfortunately, my students have been conditioned by many years of the traditional approach.
     
  16. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 8, 2010

    That conditioning can be hard to overcome, especially in older kids. With younger kids, for math, I use the Gattegno method for Cuissenair rods, and I've found that often parents who get a little involved with their kid's math work suddenly have all sorts of revelations about math. Although manipulatives often strike older students as babyish, this approach might even help with high school students. Of course, as far as I know it doesn't address higher maths, but it does lay a good foundation for understanding basic algebra.
     
  17. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 8, 2010

    My school embraces constructivism. We are a choice (public) school and have the freedom to implement state standards in our own ways. I'm on a team at school that just read Virgil Howes' Informal Teaching in an Open Classroom (one guy has been teaching long enough that he read it the first time around in 1974!) and we're reworking our school policies based on his ideas.

    We also place equal emphasis on students' social, emotional, physical, and academic needs.

    Why are you asking, Grover?
     
  18. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 9, 2010

    Among other things, I'm asking because I see very little constructivism in elementary education these days (not that it's ever been the dominant mode). Many colleges of ed. teach it, but few districts embrace it, and even where it's accepted it seems usually to be in rather narrow, piecemeal ways embedded in an over-all traditional structure. I've had quite a few conversations with teachers who would like to take a constructivist approach but find the constraints of the traditional schooling matrix around them overwhelming, so I'm very interested in those who are finding some success with this. Anything you can tell me about what you do and how it relates to standards would be welcome. One thing I'd very much like to know is how your school compares to nearby schools of similar demographics in state testing, and how you interpret that comparison.
     
  19. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,265
    Likes Received:
    11

    Apr 9, 2010

    Oh so very true.
     
  20. Grover

    Grover Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2010
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 9, 2010

    On the other hand, a social-constructivist approach is a pretty effective way to teach kids how to work with each other. I do understand, however, how difficult this can be when it comes as an interruption to a more traditional process rather than being the over-all classroom mode. Kids whose 'good' behavior is largely the result of effective repression find the opportunity to create chaos irresistible.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. SaraFirst,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. RainStorm
Total: 223 (members: 5, guests: 200, robots: 18)
test