Saturday, June 7, 2014

Constructivism, Is it for you?

Cluster 10 was an interesting chapter to read.  I really liked reading about constructivist learning.  In Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk (2013) identifies constructivism as having two central ideas.  The first being that the learner is an active participant in construction his or her own knowledge, and the second being the social interactions are important in the knowledge construction process.  I really like the idea of constructivist learning, especially in the areas of math and science.  I think it's great for children to work together to solve problems and come to conclusions.  I also like using inquiry and problem-based lesson plans to enable students to come to their own conclusions as they work to solve problems.  Some goals of problem-based learning are to  "enhance intrinsic motivation and skills in problem solving, collaboration, evidence-based decision making, and self-directed lifelong learning" (Woolfolk, 2013, p. 367).  That is why I think constructivism with problem-based and inquiry learning is an excellent form of learning to use in the classroom to enable students to gain lifelong problem solving skills, as opposed to just memorization. 


The Relate section of cluster 10's C.E.R directed us to think about cognitive apprenticeships and how we would use one in the classroom, also, what challenges may occur when using cognitive apprenticeships. 
In Educational Psychology, Anita Woolfolk (2013) identifies a cognitive apprenticeship as “a relationship in which a less experienced learner acquires knowledge and skills under the guidance of an expert” (p. G-2).  A form of cognitive apprenticeship could be used during math problem solving.  After the teacher models for the students the task to be completed.  The student who is struggling could be placed with a student who has mastered the task.  In this way, the students can work together, with the apprentice learning from the master, how to work through and solve the problem.  A problem or challenge that could arise in this situation would be if the master is doing the whole problem by his or herself, and the apprentice is not gaining and scaffolding or building upon their skills.  

Check out this video about how to use constructivist learning in your classroom!


Woolfolk, A. (2013).  Educational Psychology (12th ed.).  Upper Saddle River, NY:  Pearson Education Inc.

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