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Re: Didaction and constructivism


From: Diane Gregory (dianegregory_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu May 30 2002 - 20:01:49 PDT

Esa Tipton wrote:

> The teacher has it
> figured out, and is a resource and guide to helping
> the student learn the aspects from their own
> initiative, direction, and outcome.

I would like to respond to this quote above from Esa Tipton.

I humbly believe one of the basic tenets of constructivism, is that the
teacher does "not" have it figured out. As a matter of fact, the teacher is
a learner along side the students. Perhaps and granted the teacher is a more
sophisticated learner and more experienced, but nonetheless, the teacher is
always learning within a constructivist approach.

The main goal of constructivism is to create a dynamic learning community.
This includes students, the teacher and the community at large. A
"constructivist" teacher who believes they have figured it out and is serving
as a guide to help their students figure it out, is not really a
constructivist. This is known better as Discovery Learning. This is what
separates Discovery Learning approaches from Constructivism. No one ever
figures it out in the constructivist approach. The journey that one goes
through on the way to try to figure things out is what constructivism is
about for me. Discovery Learning is really helping students try to figure
out what the teacher had in mind all along. Discovery Learning is quite
different from constructivism.

To me this is why constructivism is really a revolution in the way we think
about learning. This kind of conception about learning has never ever been
realized in any large capacity within our past and present educational
system. Even though many people trace the idea back to Socrates, the ideal
of constructivism has never really been realized. Our own bureaucratic
structures, tradition and our lack of understanding as yet about how peopl.e
learn keeps the education enterprise in its current state of ineffectiveness
and malaise.

As part of the educational establishment, I regret this condition. However,
I must recognize that our own educational establishment, myself included. is
a major part of the problem about the current ineffectiveness of education.
I regret to say that even though I see my own and our profession's blind
spot, I am probably not the best person to fix it. Revolutions usually
happen from outside a profession.

However, that is not to say that I am giving up. I am just realistic about
our chances about implementing the ideals of constructivism. So I continue
to try to provide a "pure" constructivist approach as best I can within my
own art education methods courses. I am hopeful that over time (30 or 40
years) education will realize a more constructivist ideal. I am hopeful that
constructivism doesn't just go the way of all the other so-called trends. I
hope it continues through time. Of course, time will tell.

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