In the past 40 years, education has been experiencing a revaluation. The aims of education have been changed because of the education theories, constructivism and behaviourism.
According to educational theories, we discuss and compare behaviourism and constructivism in the views of knowledge, learning and instruction.
The purpose of this academic essay is to discuss, reflect and conclude on two main educational theories, constructivism and behaviourism, which have been dominant in the field of learning and teaching. We will also argue these theories to reflect, which one of these theory is the more persuasive position.
This contemporary world has defined the individual, as an active participant who, does not just accepts the knowledge and reformats it, but interprets and gives meaning from their own point of view and does not wait for guidance. In this century, the information is produced rapidly and renews itself constantly. Consequently, the future of individual and society are interrelated, accessing the information, using knowledge effectively and advancing production skills.
Relation between Constructivism and Behaviourism
Kant (late 18th to early 19th centuries) explained that “logical analysis of actions and objects lead to the growth of knowledge and the view that one’s individual experiences generate new knowledge” (Brooks and Brooks, 1993, p. 23). We know that the idea of constructivism is not new. From the other point of view, on the basis of behavioural learning theories, the objectivist paradigm affects teaching-learning processes for many years and continues to influence it.
For many years in the past, traditional approaches are dominated in educational world. Teacher-centred teaching is adopted and also conducted. The teacher transmits the information, thus the student is not in active role in the learning process.
From the point of the constructivist philosophy, knowledge, instruction and learning strategies have led traditional education programs, which are under the influence of behaviourism, to change.
According to constructivist theory, knowledge is the natural consequences of a constructive process. From the behaviourist views, knowledge is the resulting from a finding process that can be transferred to individuals (B. A. Bichelmeyer & Yu - chen Hsu 1999). Expanding the educational applications of constructivist learning, rejects the objective paradigm theory and views that, knowledge and learning is subjective, also knowledge is configured by the individual activity. (Novak 1998)
As far as Constructivists are concerned, knowledge is unique to an individual. These knowledge are owed by the individual directly, so cannot be transmit to another individual (Phillips, 2000).
According to constructivism, learners construct knowledge individually and re-organize it. Learning is an active process and I believe, it makes learners as active and creative. Knowledge is structured by the individual to make his life meaningful. Individuals are not empty vessels, waiting to be filled. (Traditional Approach) Because of the past experiences individuals differences, concept for a schema and also new information interpretations cannot be the same as any other individuals.
Behaviourist approach views, learning as a process of acquiring knowledge. On the hand constructivist approach views learning that, active process of constructing knowledge (B. A. Bichelmeyer & Yu - chen Hsu, 1999, P.4). Constructivism rejects that transmitting knowledge one to another. To be successful in learning process, learners should ask questions, research the subject, work in the group activities, briefly they should think about
thinking (metacognition). Additionally, when learners find their own answer and invent their own interpretations of the concept, they can construct their knowledge. As in behaviourist theory, if knowledge obtains as resulting from a...
References: B. A. Bichelmeyer & Yu - chen Hsu (1999). Individually - Guided Education and Problem Based Learning: A Comparison of Pedagogical Approaches from Different Epistemological Views [Electronic version], The National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) (21st, Houston, TX, February 10-14, 1999)
Brooks, MG & Brooks, JG (1993). In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Press.
Fox, Richard (2001). Constructivism Examined [Electronic version], Oxford Review of Education
Novak, J. D. (1998). Learning, creating and using knowledge: Concept maps as facilitative tools in schools and corporations [Electronic version] Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Phillips, DC (2000). An opinionated account of the constructivist landscape. DC Phillips (Ed) [Electronic version], Constructivism in Education: Opinions and Second Opinions on Controversial Issues
Richard R. Skemp, 1976, Relational Understanding and Instrumental Understanding [Electronic version]
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