Constructive Learning

Topics: Educational psychology, Jean Piaget, Knowledge Pages: 5 (1332 words) Published: June 3, 2013
Constructivism is child centered and focused on knowledge construction, not knowledge reproduction. It is a belief that one constructs knowledge from one's experiences, mental structures, and beliefs that are used to interpret objects and events.

According to Bagley and Hunter (1992) knowledge continues to double every two years, which active learning leads to greater retention and higher level thinking, thus becomes a dynamic process where students must learn to access information.

Learning is an internal process and influenced by the learners personality, prior knowledge and learning goals (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). Piaget studied how children reasoned and called it genetic epistemology, or the study of the development of knowledge. Piaget went on to identify four major stages of cognitive growth that emerge from birth 0-2 years which is the sensorimotor stage, 2-7 years which is the preoperational stage, 7-11 years which is the concrete stage, and 11 years and beyond which is the formal operational stage. (web.archieve.org). Therefore, learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning out of it. The learner needs to do something, because learning involves the learner engaging with the world.

An example would be a baby 0-2 years old. This is the sensorimotor stage where infants use sensory and motor capabilities to explore and gain understanding of their environments. If a baby cries, the care giver will pick the baby up and try to find out why the baby is crying. Once the baby’s realize that if he or she cries someone will pick them up and care for their needs. This will allow the baby to begin to gain understanding of their environment. As the child begins to walk, talk, and do things that will engage their mind as well as their hands, they will become motivated to continue to learn and understanding more about their environment. According to Von Glasersfeld (1989) sustaining motivation to learn is strongly dependent on the learner’s confidence in his or her potential for learning. The student’s motivation and not the subject-matter is what determine both quality and quantity of learning" (Dewey, 1902, p. 13-14). Motivation is the key component in learning that is essential (web.archieve.org).

Vygotsky stated it this way; it has to be meaningful to the child. The community plays a central role, and the people around the student greatly affect the way he or she sees the world. (web.archieve.org)

Children may enter some form of learning institute as an infant, while others may enter between the ages of 2-7 years old. This may be a daycare center, nursery (0-4) and pre-kindergarten (4) then kindergarten (5) in an elementary school setting. Because students develop and learn at different rates, Vygotsky called it a Zone of Proximal Development. The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) consist of problem solving skills of tasks that can be placed into three categories: Those performed independently by the learner, those that cannot be performed even with help, those that fall between the two extremes, the tasks that can be performed with help from others (web.archeive.org). Since children learn much through interaction, curricula should be designed to emphasize interaction between learners and learning tasks (web.archeive.org).

Bruner stated that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Cognitive structure (i.e., schema, mental models) provides meaning and organization to experiences and allows the individual to "go beyond the information given" (Bruner, J. 1996). While in or out of a school setting, students will continue to use their mind to build upon their prior knowledge to understand meaning.

The crucial action of constructing meaning is...
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