Constructivist Teaching: Principles & Explanation

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  • 0:04 What Is Constructivism?
  • 0:51 Five Principles of…
  • 2:47 A Classroom Example
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How can educators teach students to be good learners? In this lesson, we'll look at constructivist teaching, which focuses on how to create successful learners. We'll explore the principles of constructivism and look at a classroom example.

What Is Constructivism?

Malik is a history teacher. He wants to teach his students about the Dust Bowl and isn't quite sure about the best way to approach it. He's heard that constructivist teaching can help him, but he's not sure what it is or how he can use it in his classroom.

Constructivism allows students to construct their own learning. Constructivist teaching is about making good learners as opposed to simply giving students information. In a constructivist classroom, Malik will want to have his students explore concepts in an organic way. His focus will be on teaching students how to learn, instead of just giving them facts about history.

This all sounds pretty good to Malik, but he's not sure how to use constructivism in his classroom. To help him out, let's look at the five major principles of constructivist learning and how they can be used in the classroom.

Five Principles of Constructivism

Constructivist teaching is built upon five major principles, which explain how constructivist classrooms are different from traditional classrooms.

These principles are:

1. Teachers Seek and Value Students' Points of View

Unlike traditional teaching, where students are expected to provide the one right answer the teacher is looking for, in a constructivist classroom students are encouraged to elaborate on their ideas and use evidence to bolster their opinions. Through supportive questioning, teachers can get students to communicate what they're thinking and why.

2. Classroom Activities Challenge Student Assumptions

Through constructivism, students are encouraged to explore an aspect of something that they haven't tried or thought about before. Whether that's a new product (such as writing a screenplay instead of an essay) or a new point of view, constructivist teaching is about challenging and broadening student views.

3. Teachers Pose Problems of Relevance

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