constructivism - Cite three reasons why you would praise...

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Cite three reasons why you would praise constructivism, condemn constructivism, or feel somewhere in the middle about this philosophy. In order to praise or condemn constructivism, we need to know what it is. To that end, I am still not completely clear. David Elkind hints at the variety of translations this educational theory has undergone when he says, “Constructivism, in all of its various incarnations, is now a major educational philosophy and pedagogy,” (as cited in Noll, 2007, p. 52). So, just what is the definition of constructivism? “Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in,” (On Purpose Associates, 1998- 2001, para. 1). In its purest form, Jamin Carson suggested the teacher allow the students to choose the purpose, curriculum, and instruction when he outlined his own practical experience with it in his high school English class (as cited in Noll, 2007, p. 63). He found that students were ill equipped to handle that responsibility. He believes that the teacher should pass on knowledge to the students. I guess that leaves me as a proponent of the somewhere-in-the-middle crowd. My reasons are shared in the following paragraphs. There are aspects of constructivism with which I concur. I praise constructivism in terms of student participation. I strongly agree that students should play an active role in learning. I have been increasing my use of performance assessments in my classroom because my experience has proven to me that most students learn better when they research, explore, and discover knowledge. Furthermore, I can support that point through experience as a recent student learner myself. Secondly, I agree with the constructivist viewpoint of how the student mentally processes new knowledge. A constructivist believes that “When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant,” (Educational
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Broadcasting Corporation, 2004, What is constructivism section, para. 1). I believe that succinctly summarizes the cognition process. We take in new experiences or stimuli, relate it to previous points of relevance, and then determine our understanding of it going forward. Finally, constructivists believe that learning occurs when students feel a relevance of what they are learning to their own lives. I agree. Most often I am best served when teaching a concept, to use a scenario that pertains to their personal experiences and then parallel that to the standard which we are currently addressing. Of
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This note was uploaded on 11/20/2010 for the course HISTORY 250 taught by Professor Piper during the Spring '10 term at Piedmont College.

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constructivism - Cite three reasons why you would praise...

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