Constructivist Theory


Interest in constructivist education has been sweeping the country and while teachers across the nation are implementing this approach, it is still far from common. In brief, constructivist education appeals to children’s interests, engages them in experimentation with phenomena of the physical world and fosters cooperation between teacher and child,(student) and among children (DeVries & Kohlberg, 1987/1990). The most valued assessments of children’s knowledge are found in their work rather than in tests. The constructivist teacher is a mentor who takes a cooperative attitude in relation to children and uses natural and logical consequences as alternatives to authoritarian discipline. The two most central conceptions underlying constructivist education are;
1) Children construct knowledge.
2) Children cannot become autonomous intellectually or morally in authoritarian relations with adults.

Let’s take No 1) A child’s subjective experience must be taken into account in all educational efforts because the child is understood as the active constructor of knowledge, personality and morality. This comes from Jean Piaget’s theory that children construct these characteristics. ( for example, Piaget, 1932/1965; 1936/1952; 1929/1960) Shows that children have many ideas that are not taught to them. A three-year-olds often use their intelligence to reason that their shadows go inside themselves when they cannot see them. Five-year-olds often believe their shadows are under their beds or covers at night time. (DeVries, 1986; Piaget, 1929/1960) Even 9- year-olds do not believe that shadows are transitory. Rather, they are convinced that unseen shadows are still there somewhere (DeVries, 1986). No one ever taught these ideas. These are the product of thinking about courses that are not easily observed. No amount of direct teaching of any facts can convince the child otherwise because these are...