There are several political influences that underlie the constructivist curriculum theory. Before the 1900s, the principles of constructivism were not very well regarded because it was generally thought that classroom instruction should be rigid and that teachers should be the sole generator of knowledge and while student’s only task in the classroom is to absorb that knowledge (Kitchener, 1986). During the 1920’s, educators such as Jean Piaget and John Dewey, began calling for educational reforms to adapt more “democratic” curricula that make use of constructivist ideals (Kitchener, 1986).
These people inspired political movements that called for a different approach to learning. These political influences prompted the establishment of organizations that sought to veer away from the traditional learning methods. One such organization which was formed is the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics (NCTM). The NCTM saw how traditional methods called “drill and kill” numbed student’s minds and made learning inapplicable to practical circumstances and began to launch political and educational movements intended to help teachers facilitate learning more effectively in the classroom (NCTM, 2008).
However even at the present, constructivist educational reforms have yet to take root in American legislation. Still, there are instances when political will is raised by the public to find new ways to deliver quality education. One such instance was in the latest release of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) worldwide testing which showed that American students were performing poorly based on the world standards (AGI, 2008). This prompted movements that yet again called for a different approach to education outside of the traditional lecture methods.
In 2002, the U. S. House Subcommittee on Education Reform introduced legislation that sought to overhaul the current research methods for deriving effective teaching practices and better explore constructivist approaches (AGI, 2008). This legislation is known as the Education Sciences Reform Act (AGI, 2008). In conclusion, it can be said that the constructivist curriculum is politically tied with the public’s desire to have better working educational models for their children. This want is what has driven movements to exist and call for government to address the problem.
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