THIS IS A SHORT EXCERPT
5.1 Some common tenets
- Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning.
- Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts.
- In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models.
- The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the “right” answers and regurgitate someone else’s meaning. Since education is inherently interdisciplinary, the only valuable way to measure learning is to make the assessment part of the learning process, ensuring it provides students with information on the quality of their learning.
Constructivism also can be used to indicate a theory of communication. When you send a message by saying something or providing information, and you have no knowledge of the receiver, then you have no idea as to what message was received, and you can not unambiguously interpret the response.
Viewed in this way, teaching becomes the establishment and maintenance of a language and a means of communication between the teacher and students, as well as between students. Simply presenting material, giving out problems, and accepting answers back is not a refined enough process of communication for efficient learning. Some of the tenets of constructivism in pedagogical terms:
- Students come to class with an established world-view, formed by years of prior experience and learning.
- Even as it evolves, a student’s world-view filters all experiences and affects their interpretation of observations.
- For students to change their world-view requires work.
- Students learn from each other as well as the teacher.
- Students learn better by doing.
- Allowing and creating opportunities for all to have a voice promotes the construction of new ideas.