Constructivism is a system of learning where the students do not just passively absorb information. Educational experts were concerned with what was going on in the mind of the student. There is active participation from the students. They are taught to relate the knowledge they are being given by the teachers and relating it to their experiences in life.
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This approach in education is important as it teaches the students to be critical thinkers. They become active and motivated in the classroom. Students learn to construct their own understanding of the learning material or literature. The students become autonomous and independent thinkers. With this approach in learning the students learn to engage more in problem solving and stop being passive.
The skill of problem-solving is important and even assists the student in his adult life. It is a skill for life and that is what education should be. The student develops in his mental processes. It is a process of discovery for the student as he experiments with ideas at problem solving and getting solutions for the issues in his environment.
The theory of constructivism learning is based on several concepts. Learning for the student will depend on what he or she already knows or has experienced. In the area of literature, students are motivated to relate the story or characters to what they already know or what they have experienced. Secondly, learning should be about the students inventing ideas concerning the learning materials.
It may involve students analysing their old ideas in light of the learning materials and changing their old news to conform to what they are learning. When a student encounters information that is contrary to their way of thinking, then he finds himself at a state of disequilibrium.
The student therefore has to change or alter his way of thinking in order to attain equilibrium. The whole process therefore is about inventing ideas instead of the student just accumulating facts and information. It is therefore a student centred class where the teachers facilitate the process of students hypothesize, predict, pose questions, research and invent (Collins, 2008).
Students look at the world under the influence of their experiences and social interactions. Whenever a new experience is encountered the student tends to analyse the old experiences and the new experience. The student therefore tends to really consider prior experiences. If this is the way that people behave, then the educational approach in the classroom should take advantage and use an approach that helps the student enjoy learning.
The teacher therefore is a facilitator who has to know the interactions between the students and their external environments. The student is shown which interactions with his environment will provide an opportunity for growth and is actually healthy (Huang, 2002)
The teacher in the constructivist classroom has to possess certain qualities. He should be highly flexible and creative as he interacts with the students. The teacher is trained on how different students use their own experiences, prior knowledge and experience to construct meaning.
When it comes to literature, there can be no single interpretation of a piece of reading. There are several and different interpretations and all of them may be correct. The teacher’s interpretation is not always the only correct way of perception. At the end of the day, it is a highly democratic environment where the students and teachers are able to interact and participate in the learning process.
Collins, R. (2008). Enhanced Student Learning Through Applied Constructivist Theory. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 2(2). Web.
Huang, H. (2002) Toward constructivism for adult learners in Online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology.,33 (1)27-37. Web.