Constructive approach to teaching
A look at the present classroom teaching practices in our country clearly indicates that most of the teachers even today just transmit knowledge given in the prescribed textbooks without novelty. This has resulted in making learning process boring to many students.
In the contemporary context the teacher is a Learning Facilitator and a diagnostician. Now there is a paradigm shift in the basic process of education i.e. from ‘teaching to learn’ to ‘facilitating to know.’
Are we justified in ‘loading’ the child’s head with tons of information? Are we really providing the needed knowledge to the learners? This has resulted in motivating academicians to rethink about approach to teaching in schools.
In the traditional teaching teacher used to dominate in the class by way of transmitting knowledge considering children as passive receivers/learners.
However in the constructivist classroom students are considered as active social players learning with all enthusiasm. Constructivism has now come to dominate both thought and process in education.
Constructivism is defined as meaning-making theory that offers an explanation of the nature of knowledge and of how human beings learn. It focuses on “knowledge construction” not “knowledge reproduction”.
Constructivist teaching fosters critical thinking, and creates motivated and independent learners. This theoretical framework holds that learning always builds upon knowledge that a student already knows, this prior knowledge is called a schema. Because all learning is filtered through pre-existing schemata, constructivists suggest that learning is more effective when a student is actively engaged in the learning process rather than attempting to receive knowledge passively.
Constructivism rely on some form of guided discovery where the teacher avoids most direct instruction and attempts to lead the student through questions and activities to discover, discuss, appreciate, and verbalize new knowledge.
The basic characteristics of constructivism are -- Learning is an active meaning making process and not passive receptive process to solve meaningful problems.
New learning always depends on learner’s previous knowledge which may some times interfere with the understanding of new information. Learning implies the reorganization of prior conceptual schemes. Learning is facilitated by social interaction and meaningful learning happens within appropriate leaning tasks.
Constructivism is a major rethinking about the teaching and learning process that will have a lasting impact on both curriculum and instruction. It provides new theory of learning and teaching. This theory calls for a major shift in the educational process in the following way:
- From teacher centric, and stable designs to learner centric and flexible process.
- From teacher direction and decisions to learner autonomy.
- From teacher guidance and monitoring to encouraging and facilitating learning.
- From passive reception in learning to active participation in learning.
- Learning within the four walls of the classroom to learning in the wider social context.
- From knowledge as given and fixed to knowledge as it evolves and is created.
- From disciplinary focus to multidisciplinary educational focus.
In constructivist learning process the following will have to be encouraged by the teachers __ observation, contextualization, cognitive apprenticeship, collaboration, interpretation, multiple interpretation and multiple manifestations.
The theory of constructivism rests on two main principles.
The first principle states that knowledge is not passively received, but is actively built up by the cognizing subject. Ideas and thoughts cannot be communicated in the sense that meaning is packaged into words and sent to another who unpacks the meaning from the sentences. That is, much as we would like to, we cannot put ideas in students’ heads, they will and must construct their own meanings. Our attempts at communication do not result in conveying meaning but rather our expressions evoke meaning in another, different meanings for each person.
Principle two states that function of cognition is adaptive and servers the organization of the experiential world, thus we do not find truth but construct viable explanations of our experiences.