National Christian Teachers Summit, 2018.
Day 2 – 3rd August 2018
Constructivist Theory of Learning
Constructivism tells us about learning and the learner. and not much about the teacher and teaching. It is a theory about knowledge. It defines knowledge as temporary and developmental. According to this theory, knowledge resides in the heads of people and they are responsible for constructing the knowledge, based on the experiences they have had.
The role of other learners and teachers is to provide the setting and environment for the learner to construct his own knowledge. According to this theory, learners have the capacity to construct their own learning once they have the support of others and instructors. Learners only understand new experiences by linking new ideas with their existing knowledge. In summary, the constructivist theory emphasizes the learner!
Constructivist theory of learning emphasizes the learner!
Unfortunately, many classrooms are teacher-centred. It is centred around the teacher and not really around the learning of the students. Worse still, teachers are only teaching the way they were taught. However, the constructivist theory makes us look at the learners and focus on how to make their learning effective.
According to this theory, learners try to resolve new knowledge based on previous knowledge that they have. They try to achieve cognitive equilibrium by sorting new knowledge (they’re trying to learn) and building it on the previous knowledge they have.
There are three ways learners construct their knowledge:
- Exogenous construction: whatever the individual constructs, is a reflection of the environment around him.
- Endogenous construction: internal individual construction of knowledge from what the learner knows inside of him.
- Dialectical construction: knowledge is constructed as a result of social interaction with others.