Constructivism is defined by About.com (2008) as a type of learning theory that explains human learning as an active attempt to construct meaning in the world around us. The site further explains that constructivism divides learning into two types: accommodation and assimilation. The focus is on the individual’s desire and ability to learn, and the teacher or therapist is merely there to help guide self-directed learning. In regards to applying this theory within classrooms teachers must first become competent in what can prevent students from becoming active learners. Why is it that they cannot find meaning in what they learn. Why is it they cannot direct and adjust themselves within lessons and activities. It is a teacher’s duty to find such things out being that for some students this is reality and that they tend to struggle academically because of it. Until teachers can come to the understanding of this their curriculum/lesson planning will be defeated. Once they come into the knowledge of what affects or influences students’ constructive way of thinking, they are able to implement effect teaching methods that will effectively guide students in developing self-teaching mechanisms of learning and application of the material being taught.
Major contributors (if any) &/or Principles/Theories
Ernst von Glasersfield, a radical constructivist, was a well-known advocate for teaching practices that encouraged the learner to be an active participant in his/her learning (Joldersma, 2011). He felt that knowledge was a connection between cognition and mind-independent reality. Von Glasersfield believed that learning, a conceptual activity, requires action by the learner, including reflection, verbalizing, and conversation (Joldersma, 2011). What Glasersfield wanted to point out in radical constructivism is that teachers didn't just teach to students in hopes of the students grasping onto the information. What teachers did was to create opportunities for students to be able to reconceptualize their experiences, thereby constructing their own knowledge. Basically this is saying that students are taught in a manner that will allow for them to be able to formulate their own intake or opinions about subject matter. This allows students to translate the information being taught to get a better understanding. At looking at Von Glasersfield's radical constructivism theory, one must conclude that it is not teachers driving forth the learning experience but the students themselves. According to Joldersma (2011), Von Glasersfield's approach to teaching invites students to know for themselves and discover how things do, or do not, work. In the process, teachers are able to understand how students come up with answers.
A child being able to constructively develop his/her own thought process needs to be surrounded by support. His/her ideas or answers need to be openly welcomed by those around him/her. Yet this all depends on the...