Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning (part 2)

How does this theory differ from traditional ideas about teaching and learning?

As with many of the methods addressed in this series of workshops, in the constructivist classroom, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher (“expert”) pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning. The teacher functions more as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding, and thereby their learning. One of the teacher’s biggest jobs becomes ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS.

And, in the constructivist classroom, both teacher and students think of knowledge not as inert factoids to be memorized, but as a dynamic, ever-changing view of the world we live in and the ability to successfully stretch and explore that view.

The chart below compares the traditional classroom to the constructivist one. You can see significant differences in basic assumptions about knowledge, students, and learning. (It’s important, however, to bear in mind that constructivists acknowledge that students are constructing knowledge in traditional classrooms, too. It’s really a matter of the emphasis being on the student, not on the instructor.)

Source: The Thirteen Ed Online