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Constructivism Learning Theory Essay

Constructivism learning theory is a philosophy which enhances students’ logical and conceptual growth. The underlying concept within the constructivism learning theory is the role which experiences-or connections with the adjoining atmosphere-play in student education. The constructivism learning theory argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Two of the key concepts within the constructivism learning theory which create the construction of an individual’s new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences.

This causes the individual to develop new outlooks, rethink what were once misunderstandings, and evaluate what is important, ultimately altering their perceptions. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes.

Bruner’s Theory on Constructivism

Bruner’s theory on constructivism encompasses the idea of learning as an active process wherein those learning are able to form new ideas based on what their current knowledge is as well as their past knowledge. A cognitive structure is defined as the mental processes which offer the learner the ability to organize experiences and derive meaning from them. These cognitive structures allow the learner to push past the given information in constructing their new concepts. The learner, often a child, will take pieces of their past knowledge and experiences and organize them to make sense of what they know, then base further concepts and solve additional problems based upon a combination of what they already processed and what they think should be processed next. The teacher resources used should be focused on that of encouragement, aiding and allowing the student to uncover the main principles on their own.

Communication between the learner and teacher is the key concept. Socratic learning is suggested as the best method of communication in this theoretical framework, as it allows the teacher to actively note any study skills the learner verbalizes, their progression, their frustrations, and form a rubric of their current learning state based on the dialogue. Seeing as this theory takes known information and expounds upon it, any teacher lesson plans, teacher worksheets, or resources should in fact be constantly building the learner’s knowledge in a spiral manner. The four major principles of Bruner’s theory on constructivism encompass 1) a predilection toward learning. The second, how a grouping of knowledge is able to be constructed to best be understood by the learner. The third is effective manners for the teacher to present said material to the learner, with the fourth and final aspect being the progression of rewards as well as punishments.

Piaget’s Theory of Constructivism

Jean Piaget was a philosopher from Switzerland. He was also a natural scientist that was famous for the work that he did studying cognitive development and learning theories encompassed in his view of “genetic epistemology”. At the young age of eleven he attended high school at Switzerland Latin wherein one of his short pieces was the start of his scientific career. Piaget’s theory of constructivism impacts learning curriculum because teachers have to make a curriculum plan which enhances their students’ logical and conceptual growth. Teacher must put emphasis on the significant role that experiences-or connections with the adjoining atmosphere-play in student education. For example, teachers must bear in mind the role those fundamental concepts, such as the permanence of objects, plays when it comes to establishing cognitive structures. Piaget’s theory of constructivism argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences.

Piaget’s theory covered learning theories, teaching methods, and education reform. Two of the key components which create the construction of an individual’s new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. This causes the individual to develop new outlooks, rethink what were once misunderstandings, and evaluate what is important, ultimately altering their perceptions. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes.

Vygotsky’s Theory on Constructivism

Lev S. Vygotsky believed that culture is the principal determinant of cognitive progress. In Vgostsky’s theory on constructivism, knowledge leads to further cognitive development. The societal configuration of intelligence states that the individual growth could not be comprehended without indication to the societal and cultural context where the aforementioned evolution is entrenched mind development is continuous. Vygotsky focuses on the actual mechanism of the development. He excludes discernible stages of development as theories and assumptions. Vygotsky’s theory on constructivism does not adhere to the idea that a single abstract principle is able to explain cognitive development. As a substitute to Piaget’s constructivism, he argues that knowledge is internalization of social activity. Mediation refers to people intentionally interject items between their environment and themselves, so that they are able to modify it and gain specific benefits.

Mediation is the key propoent of Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism. His theory offers a harmonizing viewpoint to the behaviorist view. Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism supports that the use of mediators helps the human to alter their environment, and this is her way of interacting with the nature. Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism also supports that the use of activity mediators provides a way in which people are able to interact with the nature. Mediation is also defined as the use of certain tools within socially organized activity. There were two phenomena which encompasses the mediated relationship of individuals to their environment. These are 1) Humans use language and physical signs to change social relations into psychological functions between their minds and their environment. The second thing was that higher intellectual progression will actually use symbolic mediation.

Apart from learning theories, Piaget’s theory of constructivism addresses how learning actually occurs, not focusing on what influences learning. The role of teachers is very important. Instead of giving a lecture the teachers in this theory function as facilitators whose role is to aid the student when it comes to their own understanding. This takes away focus from the teacher and lecture and puts it upon the student and their learning. The resources and lesson plans that must be initiated for this learning theory take a very different approach toward traditional learning as well. Instead of telling, the teacher must begin asking. Instead of answering questions that only align with their curriculum, the facilitator in this case must make it so that the student comes to the conclusions on their own instead of being told.

Also, teachers are continually in conversation with the students, creating the learning experience that is open to new directions depending upon the needs of the student as the learning progresses. Teachers following Piaget’s theory of constructivism must challenge the student by making them effective critical thinkers and not being merely a “teacher” but also a mentor, a consultant, and a coach. Some strategies for teacher include having students working together and aiding to answer one another’s questions. Another strategy includes designating one student as the “expert” on a subject and having them teach the class. Finally, allowing students to work in groups or pairs and research controversial topics which they must then present to the class.

Jonassen (1994) proposed that there are eight characteristics that differentiate constructivist learning environments: 1. Constructivist learning environments provide multiple representations of reality. 2. Multiple representations avoid oversimplification and represent the complexity of the real world. 3. Constructivist learning environments emphasize knowledge construction inserted of knowledge reproduction. 4. Constructivist learning environments emphasize authentic tasks in a meaningful context rather than abstract instruction out of context.

5. Constructivist learning environments provide learning environments such as real-world settings or case-based learning instead of predetermined sequences of instruction. 6. Constructivist learning environments encourage thoughtful reflection on experience. 7. Constructivist learning environments”enable context- and content- dependent knowledge construction.” 8. Constructivist learning environments support “collaborative construction of knowledge through social negotiation, not competition among learners for recognition.” Jonassen’s eight characteristics would be supported by both social and cognitive constructivists. There is, however, a difference in the emphasis these two strands on constructivism place on each of those characteristics.


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