KONSTRUKTIVISME: Strategi Belajar-Mengajar

Tatang M. Amirin; 21 Mei 2010

Ini tulisan awal untuk disempurnakan di masa dekat.

Konstruktivisme itu salah satu aliran (mazhab, “school”) dalam psikologi pendidikan (dan juga filsafat). Inti dari pandangan mazhab ini adalah bahwa:

(1) Orang yang belajar (pelajar, murid, mahasiswa) itu akan membuat konstruksi “bangunan pengetahuannya” sendiri ketika mendapatkan stimulus berupa informasi dari guru atau dosen. Artinya apa yang kemudian tersusun (terkonstruk) dalam “kepala” murid/mahasiswa itu bisa berbeda satu sama lain walau materi yang diajarkan guru/dosen sama. Lebih-lebih jika stimulus (rangsangan–sesuatu yang dilihat, didengar, diraba, diinformasikan dsb) itu bukan pelajaran, semisal  melihat gambar pedang. Ada yang mungkin membayangkan pandai besi di dekat rumahnya yang biasa membuat pisau, ada yang membayangkan perang tanding pakai pedang yang pernah ditontonnya di televisi, ada pula yang membayangkan betapa mahal harga emas dan pernak-pernik yang ada di hulu pedang. Ini terjadi karena dalam “kepala” orang itu ada pengetahuan yang sudah dimiliki yang berasosiasi (terkait dengan, mencampuri, mengolah) stimulus baru tersebut, seperti contoh bayangan di kepala tentang pedang tadi.

(2) Apa yang dilihat, didengar, diraba seseorang bisa memunculkan beragam “hasil amatan” (pengetahuan). Orang itu mengkonstruk sendiri “hasil amatan” (pengetahuannya). Ketika murid diajak mengamati benda-benda yang dijatuhkan dari atas ke bawah (misalnya anak berdiri di atas meja), maka yang akan muncul sebagai “simpulan” murid bisa berbeda-beda. Misalnya ketika melihat daun kering melayang, ada anak yang mungkin akan menyimpulkan bahwa jatuhnya daun ke tanah lama sekali. Ada pula yang melihat gerakannya dan menyimpulkan daun itu melayang seperti penari dangdut, bergoyang-goyang. Ada yang mungkin menyimpulkan jatuhnya tidak lurus, melainkan melenceng.

Jika anak dilihatkan alat peraga berupa aliran air dari panci di atas meja ke baskom di lantai melalui selang, bisa ada yang menyimpulkan bahwa selang bisa dialiri air, ada yang menyimpulkan bahwa air di panci cepat habis, ada yang menyimpulkan air di panci bisa naik ke atas bibir panci. Belum tentu yang disimpulkan murid sama dengan harapan guru (sesuai dengan “teori sifat air”), yaitu bahwa air mengalir dari tempat yang tinggi ke tempat yang rendah.

Itulah makna “konstruk”, yaitu murid mengkonstruk (menyusun, membuat, mereka-bentuk) pengetahuannya sendiri. Murid membuat susunan pengetahuannya sendiri. Apa yang sudah diketahui anak menjadi fondasi atau bahan pencampur materi pelajaran atau pengetahuan yang baru.

Anak sudah tahu pandai besi yang biasa membuat pisau, golok, dan parang. Ketika melihat pedang, “fondasi” pengetahuannya itu dipakai menopang “kesan” tentang pedang. Pedang dibuat pandai besi.

Anak yang tahu bahwa perhiasan emas, perak dan sebagainya itu harganya mahal, ketika melihat gagang pedang bertaburan pernak-pernik seperti emas dan intan, langsung “tercampurkan” apa yang sudah diketahuinya tentang harga emas dan intan itu ke dalam “stimulus” hiasan hulu pedang itu: harganya mahal sekali.

Apa sebenarnya konstruktivisme itu, dan bagaimana strategi pengajaran (strategi belajar-mengajar) berbasiskan konstruktivisme itu, berikut dinukilkan mengenainya dari beberapa sumber.

What is constructivism?

© 2004 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

Constructivism is basically a theory — based on observation and scientific study — about how people learn. [Konstruktivisme itu pada dasarnya merupakan suatu teori–teori yang berbasiskan hasil observasi dan telaah ilmiah–mengenai bagaimana orang belajar atau mempelajari sesuatu]. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. [Menurut teori ini orang mengkonstruk sendiri pemahaman dan pengetahuannya mengenai dunia/segala sesuatu, melalui mengalami sesuatu dan merefleksi/menelaah pengalamannya itu]. 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. [Manakala kita berhadapan dengan sesuatu yang baru, kita mengaitkannya dengan apa yang sebelumnya sudah kita ketahui aau alami, yang mungkin akan menjadikan kita mengubah apa yang sudah kita yakini/ketahui tadi, atau bisa juga kita mengangap informasi baru itu tak cocok]. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. [Dalam kasus apapun, kita itu merupakan kreator/pencipta aktif pengetahuan kita sendiri]. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know. [Untuk bisa berbuat seperti itu, kita harus mengajukan berbagai pertanyaan, melakukan penjelajahan, dan meninjau-nilai apa yang kita ketahui].

In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices.  [Di kelas, pandangan para ahli konstruktivisme mengenai belajar ini, dapat mengarah ke berbagai ragam pelaksanaan kegiatan mengajar]. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. [Yang paling umum, lazimnya akan berupa mengupayakan pengajaran yang mengajak murid melakukan kegiatan belajar aktif  (melakukan percobaan-percobaan, memecahkan masalah yang nyata) untuk menciptakan lebih banyak pengetahuan (menjadikan tahu lebih banyak hal), kemudian menelaah dan membahas apa yang sudah mereka lakukan dan apakah pemahaman mereka menjadi berubah]. The teacher makes sure she understands the students’ preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them. [Untuk itu para guru harus sudah paham benar-benar terlebih dahulu apa yang sudah diketahui anak-anak sebelumnya, jelasnya “konsep” (pemahaman) apa yang sudah dimiliki anak mengenai hal yang dipelajari itu, untuk kemudian membimbing mereka melakukan kegiatan terkait dengan apa yang sudah diketahui/dipahami murid tersebut dan menjadikan pengetahuan yang baru itu masuk ke dalam (menjadi bagian) pengetahuan/pemahaman mereka].

Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. [Guru yang konstruktivistik mengajak murid untuk senantiasa menilai apakah dari aktivitas belajarnya itu mereka bisa memperoleh tambahan kepahaman]. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become “expert learners.”  [Lewat  bertanyakan pada dirinya sendiri dan strategi belajarnya, murid-murid di kelas konstruktivistik itu idealnya akan menjadi “pelajar yang ahli”]. This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. [Cara ini memberi murid sarana kemembang (selalu terus menerus semakin mengembang) untuk membuatnya tak pernah henti belajar]. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn HOW TO LEARN. [Dengan lingkungan (suasana) kelas yang tertata apik seperti itu, murid-murid akan belajar BAGAIMANA BELAJAR].

You might look at it as a spiral. [Kita bisa memandang proses belajar seperti disebutkan di atas sebagai suatu spiral].  When they continuously reflect on their experiences, students find their ideas gaining in complexity and power, and they develop increasingly strong abilities to integrate new information. [Manakala murid-murid selalu tak pernah henti menelaah merefleksi pengalaman-pengalaman/kegiatan belajarnya, murid-murid itu akan merasakan betapa daya pikirnya menjadi semakin kuat dan pengetahuan/kepahamannya semakin kompleks, sehingga kemudian mereka bisa memiliki kemampuan yang tinggi untuk bisa memadukan pengetahuan baru ke dalam apa yang sudah diketahuinya]. One of the teacher’s main roles becomes to encourage this learning and reflection process. [Dalam PBM konstruktivistik itu jadinya peran utama guru akhirnya akan menjadi sebagai pendorong terjadinya proses belajar dan penelaahan/refleksi seperti itu].

For example [Contoh]: Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics. [Sekelompok murid pelajaran IPA mendiskusikan masalah/persoalan fisika]. Though the teacher knows the “answer” to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways. [Walaupun guru tahu “jawaban” mengenai masalah (soal) fisika tersebut, guru itu tetap fokus membantu murid merumuskan permasalahan fisika tersebut agar menjadi pertanyaan yang bagus]. She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. [Guru memancing setiap murid agar mengemukakan, menelaah dan menguji apa yang diketahuiknya saat ini]. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it, and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore. [Manakala ada salah satu murid yang mengemukakan konsep yang relevan, maka guru itu akan mengatakan kepada seluruh anggota kelompok itu bahwa mungkin itu cara yang paling tepat untuk mereka lakukan guna melakukan penyelidikan]. They design and perform relevant experiments. [Maka murid-murid pun lalu merancang dan melakukan perobaan-percobaan yang relevan]. Afterward, the students and teacher talk about what they have learned, and how their observations and experiments helped (or did not help) them to better understand the concept. [Akhirnya, murid-murid dan guru membicarakan apa yang sudah mereka pelajari, apakah hasil amatan mereka menjadikan (atau tidak menjadikan) mereka memahami konsep itu lebih baik].

Contrary to criticisms by some (conservative/traditional) educators, constructivism does not dismiss the active role of the teacher or the value of expert knowledge. [Tidak seperti yang dikritisi oleh sebagian ahli pendidikan (konservatif/tradisional), konstruktivisme tidaklah menapikan peran aktif guru atau kebermaknaan pengetahuan para pakar]. Constructivism modifies that role, so that teachers help students to construct knowledge rather than to reproduce a series of facts.  [Konstruktivisme memodifikasi peran guru tersebut, sehingga dengan cara itu guru lebih mengupayakan murid-murid agar mengkonstruk pengetahuan, bukan sekedar memaparkan sejumlah fakta]. The constructivist teacher provides tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. [Guru yang konstruktivistik menyediakan sarana belajar yang berupa aktivitas pemecahan-masalah atau belajar berbasis penelitian yang menuntun murid merumuskan buah pikirannya dan mengujinya, membuat simpulan, dan mengumpulkan dan menyampaikan apa yang diketahuinya itu dalam suasana belajar kolaboratif]. Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. [Konstruktivisme  mengubah wujud murid dari penerima pasif informasi menjadi peserta aktif dalam kegiatan belajar mengajar]. Always guided by the teacher, students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting knowledge from the teacher or the textbook. [Dengan selalu dipandu guru, murid secara aktif mengkonstruk pengetahuannya sendiri, bukan hanya sekedar menjadi mesin pelahap pengetahuan dari guru atau buku pelajaran].

Constructivism is also often misconstrued as a learning theory that compels students to “reinvent the wheel.” [Konstruktivisme juga sangat sering disalahpahami sebagai teori belajar yang menuntut murid “menciptakan roda.”] In fact, constructivism taps into and triggers the student’s innate curiosity about the world and how things work. [Yang benar adalah konstruktivisme menggugah rasa ingin tahu alamiah murid mengenai segala sesuatu dan bagaimana segala sesuatu itu berfungsi]. Students do not reinvent the wheel but, rather, attempt to understand how it turns, how it functions. [Murid-murid tidak dituntut untuk menciptakan roda, melainkan berusaha mengetahui bagaimana roda itu berputar, bagaimana roda itu berfungsi]. They become engaged by applying their existing knowledge and real-world experience, learning to hypothesize, testing their theories, and ultimately drawing conclusions from their findings. [Murid-murid itu dilibatkan dalam PBM dengan cara “membumikan” pengetahuan yagn mereka punyai ke pengalaman nyata, belajar membuat hipotesis, menguji teori-teori, dan akhirnya membuat simpulan dari penelitiannya itu].

The best way for you to really understand what constructivism is and what it means in your classroom is by seeing examples of it at work, speaking with others about it, and trying it yourself. [Cara terbaik agar kita paham benar apa itu konstruktivisme dan apa makna (kebermanfaatannya) di kelas (dalam/untuk PBM) adalah dengan melihat sendiri contoh-contoh kegiatan PBM-nya dan hasilnya, membahasanaya dengan orang lain, dan mencobanya sendiri]. As you progress through each segment of this workshop, keep in mind questions or ideas to share with your colleagues. [Jangan lupa, berbagilah permasalahan, buah pikiran, dan pengalaman dengan rekan-rekan].

Constructivist teaching methods

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constructivist teaching techniques are based on constructivist learning theory. [Teknik mengajar konstruktivistik merupakan teknik mengajar berbasis teori belajar konstruktivisme]. This theoretical framework holds that learning always builds upon knowledge that a student already knows; this prior knowledge is called a schema. [Teori belajar konstruktivisme memandang bahwa kegiatan dan hasil belajar itu selalu dibangun di atas pengetahuan yang sudah diketahui murid; pengetahuan yang sudah dimiliki murid  itu disebut dengan “skema”]. Because all learning is filtered through pre-existing schemata, constructivists suggest that learning is more effective when a student is actively engaged in the learning process rather than attempting to receive knowledge passively. [Oleh karena semua proses dan hasil belajar itu tersaring oleh “skemata” yang sudah ada itu, maka para konstruktivis berpendapat bahwa kegiatan belajar itu akan lebih efektif manakala murid-murid dilibatkan secara aktif dalam proses belajar-mengajar (PBM), bukan diposisikan sebagai penerima pengetahuan yang pasif]. A wide variety of methods claim to be based on constructivist learning theory. [Ada banyak ragam metode B-M yang dianggap berbasis teori belajar konstruktivisme]. Most of these methods rely on some form of guided discovery where the teacher avoids most direct instruction and attempts to lead the student through questions and activities to discover, discuss, appreciate and verbalize the new knowledge. [Sebagian besar metode B-M ini mendasarkan diri pada bentuk “penelitian-terpandu” di mana para guru berusaha menghindari pengajaran langsung (memberi informasi) dan berupaya membimbing-memandu murid memunculkan berbagai pertanyaan (permasalahan) dan aktivitas untuk menemukan, membahas, menghargai dan memaparkan pengetahuan baru].

History

Constructivist teaching methods are based on constructivist learning theory. Along with John Dewey, Piaget researched childhood development and education. Their theories are now encompassed in the broader movement of progressive education. [Berbagai metode mengajar konstruktivistik semuanya berbasiskan teori belajar konstruktivisme. Seiring dengan John Dewey,  Piaget meneliti perkembangan anak dan pendidikan. Teori-teori keduanya sekarang ini menjadi pemandu gerakan luas yang disebut pendidikan progresif (aliran progresivisme)].

Constructivist learning theory says that all knowledge is constructed from a base of prior knowledge. [Teori belajar konstruktivis menyatakan bahwa semua pengetahuan itu dibangun beralaskan pengetahuan sebelumnya] Children are not a blank slate and knowledge cannot be imparted without the child making sense of it according to his or her current conceptions. [Anak-anak itu bukan “batu tulis” yang kosong, dan pengetahuan tidak bisa dimasukkan ke diri anak tanpa si anak mencanderanya selaras dengan konsep/pemahaman yang dimilikinya saat ini] Therefore children learn best when they are allowed to construct a personal understanding based on experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. [Oleh karenanya maka anak-anak akan belajar jauh lebih baik manakala mereka dibiarkan membentuk pemahamannya sendiri melalui mengalami sendiri segala sesuatu dan merenung-pikirkannya].

Constructivist teaching strategies

Characteristics of Constructivist Teaching

One of the primary goals of using constructivist teaching is that students learn how to learn by giving them the training to take initiative for their own learning experiences. [Salah satu tujuan utama menggunakan model pengajaran konstruktivis adalah agar murid-murid bisa belajar bagaimana belajar dengan cara memberi mereka berbagai latihan untuk mau dan mampu berikhtiar mendapatkan pengalaman belajarnya sendiri]

According to Audrey Gray, the characteristics of a constructivist classroom are as follows: [Menurut Audrey Gray, ciri-ciri kegiatan belajar-mengajar konstruktivis itu sebagai berikut]

  • the learners are actively involved [murid-murid aktif terlibat dalam PBM]
  • the environment is democratic [iklim belajar-mengajar demokratis]
  • the activities are interactive and student-centered [kegiatan belajar-mengajar dua arah dan memusat-murid]
  • the teacher facilitates a process of learning in which students are encouraged to be responsible and autonomous [guru memfasilitasi atau memberi kemudahan berupa proses belajar yang mendorong murid untuk mengambil tanggung jawab atas kegiatan belajarnya sendiri  dan mandiri]

Examples of constructivist activities

Furthermore, in the constructivist classroom, students work primarily in groups and learning and knowledge are interactive and dynamic [Lebih jauh dari itu, dalam KBM konstruktivis para murid umumnya melakukan kegiatan balajar dalam kelompok, pengetahuan yang dipelajari bersifat interaktif dan dinamis–“didiskusikan/dibahas” dalam kelompok–Pen.]. There is a great focus and emphasis on social and communication skills, as well as collaboration and exchange of ideas [Dalam KBM konstuktivis itu ada penekanan dan pemusatan pada kecakapan sosial dan komunikasi, kerja sama, dan berbagi buah pikiran]. This is contrary to the traditional classroom in which students work primarily alone, learning is achieved through repetition, and the subjects are strictly adhered to and are guided by a textbook [Ini sangat jauh berbeda dari PBM tradisional di mana murid-murid umumnya melakukan kegiatan belajar sendiri-sendiri, keberhasilan belajar diupayakan melalui latihan-latihan (menghapalkan), dan materi pelajarannya sepenuhnya mengacu atau ditentukan oleh buku pelajaran]. Some activities encouraged in constructivist classrooms are [Kegaitan belajar-mengajar yang bersifat konstruktivis antara lain sebagai berikut]:

  • Experimentation: students individually perform an experiment and then come together as a class to discuss the results.
  • Research projects: students research a topic and can present their findings to the class.
  • Field trips. This allows students to put the concepts and ideas discussed in class in a real-world context. Field trips would often be followed by class discussions.
  • Films. These provide visual context and thus bring another sense into the learning experience.
  • Class discussions. This technique is used in all of the methods described above. It is one of the most important distinctions of constructivist teaching methods.[2]

Constructivist approaches can also be used in online learning. For example, tools such as discussion forums, wikis and blogs can enable learners to actively construct knowledge.

Because existing knowledge schemata are explicitly acknowledged as a starting point for new learning, constructivist approaches tend to validate individual and cultural differences and diversity

Role of teachers

In the constructivist classroom, the teacher’s role is to prompt and facilitate discussion. Thus, the teacher’s main focus should be on guiding students by asking questions that will lead them to develop their own conclusions on the subject.

David Jonassen identified three major roles for facilitators to support students in constructivist learning environments:

Constructivist Learning Environments (CLEs)

Jonassen has proposed a model for developing constructivist learning environments (CLEs) around a specific learning goal. This goal may take one of several forms, from least to most complex:

  • Question or issue
  • Case study
  • Long-term Project
  • Problem (multiple cases and projects integrated at the curriculum level)

Jonassen recommends making the learning goals engaging and relevant but not overly structured.

In CLEs, learning is driven by the problem to be solved; students learn content and theory in order to solve the problem. This is different from traditional objectivist teaching where the theory would be presented first and problems would be used afterwards to practice theory.

Depending on students’ prior experiences, related cases and scaffolding may be necessary for support. Instructors also need to provide an authentic context for tasks, plus information resources, cognitive tools, and collaborative tools.[3]

Constructivist assessment

Traditionally, assessment in the classrooms is based on testing. In this style, it is important for the student to produce the correct answers. However, in constructivist teaching, the process of gaining knowledge is viewed as being just as important as the product. Thus, assessment is based not only on tests, but also on observation of the student, the student’s work, and the student’s points of view. Some assessment strategies include:

  • Oral discussions. The teacher presents students with a “focus” question and allows an open discussion on the topic.
  • KWL(H) Chart (What we know, What we want to know, What we have learned, How we know it). This technique can be used throughout the course of study for a particular topic, but is also a good assessment technique as it shows the teacher the progress of the student throughout the course of study.
  • Mind Mapping. In this activity, students list and categorize the concepts and ideas relating to a topic.
  • Hands-on activities. These encourage students to manipulate their environments or a particular learning tool. Teachers can use a checklist and observation to assess student success with the particular material.
  • Pre-testing. This allows a teacher to determine what knowledge students bring to a new topic and thus will be helpful in directing the course of study.[2]

An example of a Lesson Taught with a Constructivist background

A good example of a lesson being taught in a constructivist way, with the teacher mediating learning rather than directly teaching the class is shown by the example of Faraday‘s candle. There are various forms of this lesson, but all are developed from the Christmas lectures Faraday gave on the functioning of candles. In open constructivist lessons using these lectures as a basis, students are encouraged to discover for themselves how candles work. They do this first by making simple observations, from which they later build ideas and hypotheses which they then go on to test. The teachers acts to encourage this learning. If successful, students can use this lesson to understand the components of combustion—an important chemical topic.[4]

Arguments against constructivist teaching techniques

Critics have voiced the following arguments against constructivist based teaching instruction:

  • A group of cognitive scientists has also questioned the central claims of constructivism, saying that they are either misleading or contradict known findings.[5]
  • One possible deterrent for this teaching method is that, due to the emphasis on group work, the ideas of the more active students may dominate the group’s conclusions.[1]

While proponents of constructivism argue that constructivist students perform better than their peers when tested on higher-order reasoning, the critics of constructivism argue that this teaching technique forces students to “reinvent the wheel.” Supporters counter that “Students do not reinvent the wheel but, rather, attempt to understand how it turns, how it functions.”[1] Proponents argue that students — especially elementary school-aged children — are naturally curious about the world, and giving them the tools to explore it in a guided manner will serve to give them a stronger understanding of it[1].

Mayer (2004)[6] developed a literature review spanning fifty years and concluded “The research in this brief review shows that the formula constructivism = hands-on activity is a formula for educational disaster.” His argument is that active learning is often suggested by those subscribing to this philosophy. In developing this instruction these educators produce materials that require learning to be behaviorally active and not be “cognitively active.”[6] That is, although they are engaged in activity, they may not be learning (Sweller, 1988). Mayer recommends using guided discovery, a mix of direct instruction and hands-on activity, rather than pure discovery: “In many ways, guided discovery appears to offer the best method for promoting constructivist learning.”[6]

Kirchner et al. (2006) agree with the basic premise of constructivism, that learners construct knowledge, but are concerned with the instructional design recommendations of this theoretical framework. “The constructivist description of learning is accurate, but the instructional consequences suggested by constructivists do not necessarily follow.” (Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark, 2006, p. 78). Specifically, they say instructors often design unguided instruction that relies on the learner to “discover or construct essential information for themselves” (Kirchner et al., 2006, p75).

For this reason they state that it “is easy to agree with Mayer’s (2004)[6] recommendation that we “move educational reform efforts from the fuzzy and nonproductive world of ideology—which sometimes hides under the various banners of constructivism—to the sharp and productive world of theory- based research on how people learn” (p. 18). Finally Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) cite Mayer[6] to conclude fifty years of empirical results do not support unguided instruction.

Another important consideration in evaluating the potential benefits/limitations of constructivist teaching approach is to consider the large number of varied personal characteristics as well as prevalence of learning problems in children today. For example, in a solely constructivist approach was employed in a classroom of you children then a significant number of children, for example say with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, might not be able to focus on their perceptions of learning experiences long enough to build a knowledge base from the event. In other words, constructivist theory is biased to students who desire to learn more and are capable of focusing attention to the learning process independently. A mixed approach that incorporates components of constructivist learning along with other approaches, including more guided teaching strategies, would better meet the learning needs of the majority of students in a classroom by accounting for differences between learning styles and capacities

Current Confusion is an Accidental Paradox: The Literature Supports Guided Constructivism & its Reciprocal, Constructivist Direct Teaching

The idea that new learning is based on active engagement with prior knowledge is a philosophical position derived largely from Epistemology – or the philosophy and study of how we tend to learn more or less on our own. The question of how best to teach is not precisely the same as the question of how we learn. Therefore, rational people can support each of these two seemingly paradoxical positions. It simply requires incorporating the one in the other; as in adding reasonable pre-planning and guidance into Constructivism, call it, Guided Constructivism, and acknowledging that the closer we can reasonably come to the way we most often and naturally learn as reflected (in part) in Constructivism needs to be accommodated in Direct Instruction, or what might be called Constructivist Direct Teaching. In point of fact if an accounting were to be made of the most robust teaching methods it would soon be evident that the Direct Teaching methods that are best are those that involve a good deal of active learning. Similarly, the Constructivist methods that are best very likely would be the ones that provide the greatest degree of structure and guidance.

The task of parsing and characterizing defined teaching methods would in itself probably make this point, and others that we have not yet learned to ask. This, however, would further, or first require that the field of Education to became seriously committed to identifying Best Practices, an objective given great lip service but little rational-scientific examination. The reader may wish to look in on one such effort at: http://bestmethodsofinstruction.com/

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