We are all eagerly anticipating the upcoming school year. Many of you are beginning your first year of eMINTS training and learning about one of our core pedagogical approaches: constructivism.
This topic is a big one and at times overwhelming for the beginning eMINTS teacher. Even for our veterans, it is a concept that must be revisited every school year. Of course, like anything in education, constructivism comes with its share of controversy – something that often makes teachers hesitate to jump in headfirst.
Early this year, this post was published at EdTechDev. The main idea of the post is the engagement we must employ when others question pedagogy or an instructional approach. Basically, a physics professor wrote an opinion piece in a peer-reviewed journal for his field questioning the value of constructivist methodology. The piece makes the claim that minimal instruction is ineffective. However, anyone who has taken a constructivist approach knows that inquiry and problem-based teaching resemble anything that might be described as “minimal instruction.” In fact, the constructivist classroom is even more involved in that students are as engaged with the curriculum as the teacher working as faciliator.
For more information on constructivism, check out Funderstanding‘s informative post as well as the TaiteColes‘ post on “Punk Learning.” Funderstanding provides some basic information and definitions to either get you started or refresh your memory. The post about “Punk Learning” should inspire to subvert that dominant paradigm and find new ways to make your classroom more constructivist-based this fall.
What are your feelings toward constructivism? How do you plan to be more constructivist this fall? What are the biggest obstacles to constructivist teaching?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and a punk learner himself.