However the constructivist influence has been felt in

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Unformatted text preview: ism has connections to many different philosophies, including Dewey’s progressivism, postmodernism, and critical theory among others. In terms of the social sciences, there are connections to cultural anthropology and sociology. 43 For our purpose we are going to restrict our view of constructivism to those aspects that have significantly influenced classroom learning and instructional design. Matthews (2000) refers to these as educational constructivisms. In schools, the influence of educational constructivism has been particularly strong for curricular areas such as math and science. However, the constructivist influence has been felt in almost all curricular areas. For example, whole language approaches to reading instruction are typically considered as examples of constructivist approaches. Educational Constructivism Educational constructivism can be thought of as a cognitive perspective on learning with strong connections to the cognitive developmental theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner. At the heart of educational constructivism is the idea that learners actively construct their knowledge rather than passively receiving knowledge from their environments (Bodner, Klobuchar, & Geelan, 2001; Paris & Byrnes, 1989; Simpson, 2001). When educational constructivists refer to knowledge, they typically are referring to the types of knowledge required in activities such as critical thinking, reasoning, and problem solving (Driscoll, 1994). Although educational constructivists would agree with the basic idea that knowledge is constructed rather than copied from experience, there are theoretical 44 disagreements within educational constructivism about the nature of knowledge and the nature of the knowledge construction processes. Two of these different perspectives, psychological constructivism and social constructivism, have been particularly important in translating constructivist ideas into classroom applications. Psychological constructivism is a form of constructivism with strong connections to Piagetian theory. Psychological constructivists believe that knowledge exists in the mind of the learner in the form of mental structures, and that knowledge is constructed individually through the processes of assimilation, accommodation, and organization. Social constructivism has strong connections to the social interactionist ideas of Vygotsky and Bruner. Social constructivists tend to believe that knowledge consists of cultural tools that exist in the social world before they are internalized, and that knowledge is internalized as a result of interactions with the social environment. Constructivist View of Classroom Learning By combining the implications of both psychological and social constructivism for classroom learning, it is possible to develop an integrated list of constructivist suggestions for classroom learning. All constructivists may not endorse every idea on this list, but the list provides an overview of how constructivist ideas have been translated into educational practice. 45 • Classrooms need to provide opportunities for students to en...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.

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