Discuss about the Significance Of Constructivist Classroom Practice.
Constructivism and behaviorism are some of the psychological theories that explain the learning and teaching behaviors. These theories are similar because, they are both philosophies of learning (Pacis, 2012). Additionally, the theorists who developed them explained the learning environment as well as the knowledge surroundings. They also, explained how learning and education in different surroundings occur. In addition to that, both the theories have had an impact on the teaching methods in the classrooms and distant studies (Newby, 2013). These theories were vital in analysis and presentation learning materials in classes as well as, discussing the learner’s role in systems of education. Therefore, their similarities and differences should be equally addressed for better understanding. But, the most important aspect to be noted is that the differences of these theories have been the most important topics in teaching and learning.
The Behavioral Approach in Learning
Children with conditions such as, autism, blindness, cerebral palsy and dyslexia need special education hence, require behavioral and cognitive methods for proper teaching. Currently, professionals deem the Behavioral theory as a traditional theory that does not have room to incorporate the modern believe of knowledge enhancement and students cognitive development (Lenjani, 2015). The above is not correct or universal especially to the kids with special needs. These children need well-structured methods with clear instructions and quality leadership that help obtain immediate and comprehendible feedbacks (Raina, 2011). The different principles of this classical theory will be helpful if one has them. Behavioral approaches help develop training of skills. Though, most people fear that this does not happen. This is because they believe that the Behavioral approach affects the entire personality of a person (Richardson, 1996). In this approach, the punishment principle is avoided at all cost since its consequences can be entirely quite unpredictable. The extinction principle in this approach is also used but much at times incorrectly. However, other principles in this approach can still be used and effectively work in helping a student achieve his or her goals (Chetty, 2016). During the initial schooling of a student, we must develop better reactions that lead to better prompting (Klinger, 2016). Though, the prompting principle is not often found in books of literature it is the one that is occasionally used in the learning and teaching environment. Prompting stimulates a reaction that drives towards a certain response.
In the current trends of education, behaviorism is used especially in the technological environment where students are rewarded after a playing a certain game (Klinger, 2016). Computer games and teaching machines are some of the examples of the behavioral situations in the modern world. The teaching machines indicate the behaviors of students. Behavioral approach also involves hypothesis learning that will involve mastering of targets when provided with sufficient time and an appropriate class. Division of wider topics into sub units and examination of each unit is essentially important. Further discussions should be provided incase student does not comprehend the sub units (Churchill, 2013). Forming of groups is also important in increasing the pace of working in the classes. This method is sometimes not recommended by most experts.
The behavioral approach is efficient especially when previous knowledge is bad, insufficient or there was poor intellectual ability. For instance, when students are made to write complicated intellectual task which involves component skills, which some of the students may lack completely. Open situations such as fields open a student’s mind to new and more organized findings especially when the students are more active and intelligent (Hassad, 2011). Feedback is also quite essential since it helps gives directions to a student. Some feedbacks such as read one more time or think on what you wrote might be confusing to them. If a teacher understands the behavioral methods and techniques, then there are able to identify the behaviors of their students and be able to pull them out from the different situations that student experiences.
Benefit of behaviorism theory
- The method has been able to provide strong arguments concerning the nurture side of the nature
- The theory has also offered various practical techniques and applications to shape behavior in the education sector such the presentation of gifts to the students (Churchill, 2013).
Limitations of behaviorism theory
- The theory refuses to acknowledge the importance of biological aspects in human behavior which tends to stress on the significance of nature.
- Behaviorists usually look at human beings as passive learners, whereas constructivist psychologist’s humans are viewed as active agents meaning human beings are capable of controlling and determining their development.
The Constructivist Approach in Learning
This approach is based on the nimble processes and knowledge construction by a student which comes from learning through actions. Exploring and activeness of a child during learning shows there are various forms of knowledge at work (Matthews, 2003). This theory is quite common in the real-life situation. The theory can be applied in classroom situations especially when a teacher poses a problem in class. For instance, in case it is a math problem. Though, the teacher knows the answer he or she tries to help out the students.
Another situation is when performing experiments. The teacher helps in designing the experiments for the students. Piaget a great psychologist assumes that a teacher will always try to understand and investigate a student past knowledge so as to understand their level of thinking and where to make developments that will improve the student’s schemes. Piaget also insists that creation of intellectual conflicts during the thinking processes is necessary to make a child achieve equilibrium in an adaption process (Gallagher, 2004). For that reason, tasks posed to a student must also not be demanding otherwise the student will not solve them since, Piaget theories ensures that the students cognitive development is established in regard to their age, hence the assignments set are suitable to the student’s cognitive development level. Vygotsky had a different perspective in which he stated that a student needs helps to solve tasks. He formed categorizes of skill as per the students’ ability to solve problems (Klinger, 2016). At the early stages of strategy development then help is needed. Help or support include the encouragement talks, hints or clues and task division which defines scaffolding. The initial support is always from the teacher who helps in knowledge construction. After sometime, the child grows to help other young upcoming children.
The zone of proximal development encourages interaction with one’s peers as an ideal way of acquiring strategies and skills which helps a child deal with tasks given (Shabani, 2010). It should also be known that in teaching and learning, formative examining should be preferred to summative assessing. The formative examination can be enabled by developing a plan that helps measure the progress by result selection. Feedback is essential in such situations and the student must be part of the assessments done. This is then represented back to the teacher as reflection and results. The following key questions help in improving feedback: what is the major error? What is the reason to the cause of the error? What guidance must be provided? What should be noted down? The major problem with portfolio is the increased work amount and forming of suitable procedures for every task is separately measured. Characteristics of psychometric should adapt to the observable nature of the elements being studied.
Most critics of teaching and learning occasionally find behavioral learning to be incompetent since, it mostly emphasizing on achievements. It is said that students pay more attention on the external motivation rather than looking at the processes. External motivation may be advantageous or disadvantageous especially to teachers who should be keen enough. For instance, a student praised uncritically is bound to stop working hard enough (Turuk, 2008). This is severe when a student is punished wrongful especially when a group has to be punished. Additionally, this is even more extent when a single individual has to be punished and yet the entire group is affected. Behavioral methods go hand in hand with ethics. Inadequate knowledge of the behavioral theory renders its use ineffective.
In most occasions, the problem may not be theory but rather the individual planning to or using it. Using behavioral techniques is not universal in most cases. The techniques may be efficient to a certain child but not effective to the other one. Since reproduction of information occurs this process leaves a space for a student to be inactive. Also, student activeness is mostly dependent on the processes involved and not the approach being used (Klinger, 2016). The theory of behaviorism focuses on measuring of individual’s achievements and the methods used. The activeness of the student is maintained by the constructivist theory and this shows that the classes’ students are engaged should be pleasant and above all exciting. Therefore, some students who do not understand the behavioral rules find various chances to escape the active learning group environment (Klinger, 2016). Critics of constructivism indicate the relationships among the students where one may take up the leadership duties and make summaries for groups as the subordinate’s yield. Active classes enhance quick understanding (Churchill, 2013). In constructivism, there is great understanding of knowledge which can be transferred from one person to another. Students prove themselves through the different learning methods that enhance different level of competencies. Good tasks enhance curiosity and exploration. Furthermore, in constructivism, home works are highly disregarded since they may be solved or not. Students in the class will develop the following processes self-regulation, in built reflection or improved communication (Klinger, 2016). Feedback is required especially, to encourage and support.
Criticism is applied in this situation since some students have low basic knowledge than those in the traditional learning environment. Here, teachers have a different role. The role of the teacher is to mentor. In addition to that, teachers must always be prepared for the classes as this might become a challenge if not well planned ( Duchesne, 2013). In this approach, a teacher develops some teaching competences that will be difficult to develop in the traditional learning environment. Constructivism should begin at an early stage. Later introductions lead to students’ passiveness this is because learning is a process whereby knowledge is constructed and not obtained anyhow. As a result, students in need of clarity in structuring of this knowledge often end up with unsuccessful knowledge construction. Special needs students are the ones highly affected in these types of studies and should be looked upon.
Benefits of Constructivist Learning
- Constructivist learning depends on active, hands-on tasks that makes the student be active during learning hence enabling the student to understand the lesson’s topic and relate to what has been studied to their lives. Therefore, learning in the classroom does not just enhance the acquisition of absolute truth but enhances development of personal knowledge.
- Since the teacher is the guider and facilitators of the student, the process enables the student in the creation of their own ideas and be able to draw correct conclusion. For example, an emphasis creates self-esteem and confidence, which, motivates students to handle complex issues and themes.
- The theory enables the student to be able to engage themselves with the previous knowledge concerning the subject therefore eliminating inaccuracies that the student was not aware of (Churchill, 2013).
Limitations of Constructivist Learning
- Implementation of solid constructivist approaches needs a lot of time therefore, being time consuming to both the teachers and the students.
- At times it is hard for the teachers to evaluate if the student has drawn correct conclusions.
- Another limitation is that the student could follow the instructions from the teacher and be extremely active but end up drawing wrong conclusion (Duchesne, 2013).
Constructivism and behaviorism are some of the psychological theories that explain the learning and teaching behaviors. The most important item in learning is knowledge. Students learn because they are motivated will never become active in any learning environment and this does not improve their cognitive developments. Early constructivism enhances better communication skills, explorations and development. Integration of constructivism with behaviorism helps in setting better learning situations. Children with conditions such as, autism, blindness, cerebral palsy and dyslexia need special education hence, require behavioral and cognitive methods for proper teaching. Opinions on how traditional methods of teaching are old and that the 21st century methods should be applied in most cases should be avoided at all costs. Since it makes some of our teachers borne the traditional era disappointed. Active teaching and learning methods brought quite a significant change in the learning environment but proper assessments must always be done to help make decisions on which method is the most efficient to use or apply in a certain environment. How a student perceives his or her own teacher is also important as some students or even most of them will make actions as per their assessments on their teacher’s characteristics.
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