Applying social Constructivism in English Language Teaching
This paper talks about the key concepts underlying social constructivism together with some practical suggestions for teaching reading in the muligrade classroom.Social Constructivism is a variety of cognitive constructivism that emphasis the collaborative nature of learning. Vygotsky has argued that knowledge is constructed by the learner through social interaction and with the help of the society. Meaning and the rules of application of words and other factors of language is regulated by culture and hence the society. This approach looks upon the learner as a social being who interacts with everyone around in the environment from birth and goes beyond the existing level to higher levels of ability. Social constructivists see reading, like learning, as social practice. The social context affects when you read, what you read, where you read, who you read with and, of course, why and how you read. Interacting with text can involve practices as diverse as reading instructions, scanning a newspaper, or reading an academic article. Social constructivist theory emphasizes the need to encourage students to create their own meaning from text, rather than to impose a teacher’s interpretation of the meaning upon them. Of course teachers may help as resources to bridge the linguistic and cultural gap that students experience in reading a text. Some strategies like asking questions, providing a context and purpose for reading, modeling, integrating the four acroskills, creating awareness of the author behind the text, using peer-scaffolding, setting students free etc. are proposed here to show how the social constructivist theory can be translated into action for teaching reading in an ESL classroom.
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