Constructivism in Action

When I was a student, much of the teaching strategies used was those of traditional pedagogies ordirect instruction or  teacher-centered wherein information are fed/given to the students. We employed rote memorization of concepts, however abstract they may be. And I despise memorizations, more so of concepts which I cannot relate to my environment or experiences. Maybe this is why I concentrated on honing my skills on mathematics where I am not required to do memorizations, and where I just have to utilize analyzation skills to solve problems. Our math teacher would give examples, then we are given seatworks or homeworks pertaining to the topic at hand, a feature of constuctivism. However, there are rarely any student interaction in discussions encouraged, except when the teacher gives boardwork recitations which are administered to assess our skills, not to elicit reactions. Much rarer are social interactions among classmates inside the classroom, but there are a great deal of it done outside when students copy classmate’s assignments or when we do group review before quizzes/tests were given. Much of our motivation comes from fear of failing exams, recitations and of course quarterly grades.

So it is quite alarming when I noticed some of my children’s teachers require them to do research as assignments. I thought then that the teachers are being lazy and are just finding an excuse not to do their job of explaining. I also disliked the many projects given to my kids in the pretense of applying acquired knowledge in real life scenarios.

Now I understand. I am now in complete agreement of such pedagogies. I have in fact incorporated much of the learnings I have gained in this course in my teaching job at a learning center. It may not be a classroom set-up but I have employed approaches that are designed to address individuality of each of my students. We are advocating self-learning or self-discovery, but I often use guided learning even before knowing what ZPD is and its impact in maximizing potential. I have always encouraged student participation while discussing the lesson, and since it is quasi-tutorial or one-on-one, this is easily done. It has also been my practice to analyze my students’ answers and how they arrived at those answers. It helps me easily communicate to them where they started making a mistake and thus correct any misperceptions they have (schema accomodation, now I have a term for that style!). And if they have a short cut and correct way of solving problems, I acknowledge that and even admit to them how I learned from their style.

Then again, I also use positive reinforcements to motivate my students, and try to be a good model of competency for them to follow. I also have always been an advocate of positive affects in learning, so I try to reach out to each of them. Aside from constructivism, I also perceive good effects of social learning theory, behaviorism, and cognitive theories. It would be the most effective teaching strategy, I believe, if I can incorporate all the best in these theories in my teaching stints.


One thought on “Constructivism in Action

  1. We have the same kind of learning experience when I had my basic education in 1960s and 70s that’s why I was a bit of a shock when I entered college. But I guess the direct instruction is good for elementary level. However, the constructivist approach should be introduced in the secondary level so that students are well-prepared when they entered higher education.

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