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From: lia (johns392_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 04:26:24 PST

  Constructivism is not really a teaching method but a philosophy about how
we understand the world. In this way it can effect how we teach and is
sometimes used to describe a way of teaching. As a philosophy a few
sentences really won't go far to explaining it.....or giving it
context. Basically constructivists believe that everything we know..... we
individually construct from experiences we have had. That is how knowledge
is created. Knowledge does not exist as a pure form outside of this human
construction. Since each of use has different experiences, our
construction of the world is unique. Translate this extremely simplistic
definition of an entire philosophical school of thought..... to teaching
......and constructivism means that teachers need to create contexts and
experiences that allow students a means to build upon their own knowledge
base in order to understand. For example: Rather than providing students
with answers to a problem..... classrooms would promote activities so that
students can construct their own solutions based on their unique experience.

This is all much more complex than this. It is a bit like trying to
explain the tenets of Christianity, idealism, evolution, or any other HUGE
idea. If you want to understand... at the very least find some books with some reading... and start constructing the meaning of
what this idea means for yourself. I will leave an example and then close.

"On Artsednet we all read the same text. Each of us however interprets and
constructs what those words mean based on our own experience of the
world. Each of us hears about printmaking for example.....someone feels
that printmaking needs a definition (they may have experienced that it is
necessary to do this for most people... or may have any number of other
experiences that drive their need to explain), the next person is slightly
offended and takes it personally that such a definition was offered, the
third person is relieved that someone explained printmaking because they
never really knew the difference, the 4th person takes issue with something
that was explained about printmaking as they are a printmaker and know it
differently, the 5th person wonders why everyone is so consumed with an art
form that they consider "lower" than others. The 6th person thought
printmaking was just relief printing.....etc. etc. Soooooooooo.our
experience of this forum is very different.....based on what experience we
bring and who we are. There is no one truth ......we construct our own
reality. (yes....there is a relationship to relativism)

If you take this point of view........a constructivist one. You can hardly
imagine any other way. Believing that .......about knowledge construction
really changes one's view about how teaching and learning occurs in
classrooms. I have to go to work....... lia

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