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In Support Of The Constructivist Theory Of Education For Future Athletic Trainers

1070 words - 4 pages

Educational philosophies differ from person to person. From behaviorist to constructivist and everything in between, the one thing they have in common is that they attempt to explain how people learn. This paper will explain why I tend to lean toward the constructivist theory of education and defend this theory using a variety of current literature. It is important to note that the theories that are talked about as educational theories are often looked at as both theories of teaching and learning; however most of these theories are not theories of teaching but rather learning (Baviskar, Hartle, Whitney, 2009). This may be especially true for constructivism where there can be a common misunderstanding of what constructivism actually is and how to apply it to learning.
Before this paper looks at why I lean toward a constructivist theory it is important that one understand what constructivism is. There are many differing views on what the precise definition of constructivism, however, it is generally accepted that constructivism is a theory that elucidates human learning as a dynamic attempt to create meaning in the world around us (Fritscher, 2008). That is to say learners construct meaning/knowledge as part of a process of making sense of their experience and the experiences of others (Rollocf, 2010). In order for the learners to be able to do this we as educators must follow the four basic criterions of constructivist teaching as set forth by Baviskar, Hartle, and Whitney (2009). Those criterions are: eliciting prior knowledge, creating cognitive dissonance, application of the knowledge with feedback, and reflection on learning. The goals of constructivist learning using the four criterion are to develop critical thinking skills, collaboration, and individual inquiry (Rolloff, 2010).
The first reason that I choose to use a constructivist teaching and learning strategy is because of the goals of constructivist learning, all of which are vital to an athletic trainer’s/ allied health professional’s success. The ability to critically think is vital for athletic trainers who must make difficult medical decisions in extremely short periods of time. Teaching critical thinking skills starts early as students are introduced to athletic training and evidence based practice in athletic training. The students are asked to critically evaluate scholarly journal articles and use their research to create poster presentations on topics of their choosing (with direction from their instructor guide). During this project the students receive instruction on how to differentiate valid scholarly research from research that may not be as accurate or reliable. This helps them to learn critical thinking skills that will be valuable to them in the future. In addition to these types of problems, constructivist learning theory advocates the use of real world problems in the classroom. The ability to solve real world problems helps them to obtain the...

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