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Chapter 11 Helping Students Construct Usable Knowledge.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 11 Helping Students Construct Usable Knowledge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 11 Helping Students Construct Usable Knowledge

2 Helping Students Construct Usable Knowledge  Constructivists believe students build knowledge by making connections between new information and previously acquired knowledge.  They believe new knowledge will remain “Inert” (non-usable) unless connections to prior learning are made.  For knowledge to be “Generative” (applicable to new situations) that knowledge must become part of a student’s newly-organized thinking

3 Constructivist Principles  An orientation toward learning rather than teaching –Learners construct their own unique representations of knowledge –Learners make sense of new knowledge by relating it to their prior knowledge –Learners can develop new learning by restructuring existing knowledge or viewing key concepts differently

4 Constructivist Principles (Cont.)  Constructivists emphasize the need for teachers to go beyond transmission of facts to students (Transmission View)  Constructivists believe teachers should structure reflective discussions, about the meaning of content  Constructivists believe teachers should create opportunities for students to use content in inquiry and problem-solving  (Social Construction View)  Note: See p. 341 for comparison

5 Role of Prior Knowledge  Networks of prior knowledge (Schemas) provide contexts for interpreting new knowledge  Schemas help students fill in conceptual gaps and anticipate how new knowledge can be applied  Activation (waking up) of students’ schemas is a beginning stage of Constructivist teaching

6 Knowledge Restructuring and Conceptual Change  Students’ schemas must be accurate or misconceptions will interfere with development of sound concepts  Teachers must monitor students schemas for accuracy and help students make adjustments to schemas that are incorrect  (Don’t assume they know it, or have it right!)

7 Social Constructivist Views (Lev Vygotsky 1978)  Children begin to connect thought and language in preschool years  Language (conversations with parents, teachers and other children) is the basis through which much cultural knowledge is transmitted and schemas are developed  “Zone of Proximal Development” is the range in which students can learn concepts they do not know -- if they are provided help (supporting language) from a teacher.

8 Social Constructivist Views (Cont.)  Students can learn things below their Zone of Proximal Development easily without support.  Students cannot learn things above their Zone of Proximal Development without support.

9 Readiness vs. Zone of Proximal Development  “Readiness” theorists believe teachers must wait until students have developed to the appropriate stage before the students can manage a set of new knowledge or concepts.  “Zone of Proximal Development” theorists propose that teachers can move students to new knowledge and concepts by recognizing students’ “zone” and supplying appropriate “Scaffolding” or support.

10 Comparison of the Transmission view of information processing with the Construction view of information processing See Chart P. 341 Good and Brophy

11 Sociocultural View of Teaching and Learning  Socioculturalists view learning as “cognitive apprentiships” under the supervision of one or more mentors.  They believe learning should take place in “communities of practice” in which novices begin learning by participating in beginning levels of activities with “expert” supervision and direction.

12 Sociocultural View of Teaching and Learning (Cont.)  Socioculturalists emphasize the importance of learning taking place in authentic, natural settings.  Such settings afford easier conceptual transference to “real world settings.”  To apply these ideas in school settings, teachers must consider how learning will be applied and how classroom instruction can model that application.

13 Scaffolding – What Teacher Can Do  Develop student interest (Preview goal)  Cognitive modeling – (Think out loud)  Ideal version – (Model correct action)  Simplify task – (Break task down and reduce the number of required steps)  Prompts or cues – (Give hints to help students who are temporarily “stuck”)

14 Scaffolding – What Teacher Can Do (Cont.)  Control frustration and risk – (Provide tasks within students’ “zone”)  Provide critical feedback (Identify discrepancies between student performance and ideal performance)  Attend to student motivation and goal achievement (Monitor effort and achievement carefully)  Transfer responsibility for learning (Gradually transfer management of learning to the students)

15 A Note of Caution  Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006)  Fifty years of research indicates that minimally guided instruction is less effective than instruction in which the teacher structures and scaffolds student learning.  Minimally guided learning is effectively ONLY when students have enough prior knowledge to allow them to self-regulate their learning.

16 Subject-Specific Examples of Constructivist Teaching  NOTE: See Pages 347-349 (Good and Brophy) for specific examples of subject-specific examples of teaching the following subjects: –Reading –Writing –Mathematics –Science –Social Studies

17 Important Considerations Related to Constructivist Teaching  When teachers engage students in discussions or project learning, they must provide emphasis on: – learning goals – purpose of the learning – connections between lesson segments – appropriate social interaction in groups

18 Important Considerations Related to Constructivist Teaching (Cont.)  According to Nuthall (2002) when using constructivist techniques teachers must: –Guard against misinformation from students’ peers –Provide 3-4 high quality exposures to new concepts, no more than 2 days apart for it to “take”

19 Important Considerations Related to Constructivist Teaching (Cont.) –Focus discussions on students’ shared experiences during learning (group work) –Use small group learning more than whole group –Place limits on independent student work

20 Important Considerations Related to Constructivist Teaching (Cont.)  Constructivist learning appears most appropriate when the teacher wishes to establish Knowledge Networks or wants to emphasize Higher Order Thinking.  Young children or Limited English Learners may not have the language skills necessary for constructivist learning.  Learners of any age may not have the prior knowledge necessary for effective constructivist learning.

21 Final Notes on Constructivist Teaching  Effective teaching blends instructional approaches based on student characteristics and the learning goals.  Well-rounded instructional programs incorporate a range of curricular and instructional elements  All teaching approaches should attend to the process of transferring responsibility for leaning from the teacher to the student, regardless of instructional method

22 Final Notes on Constructivist Teaching  Decisions about which teaching approach to use for specific learning goals, and for unique student needs, ultimately are the choice of the trained professional in the classroom.  When teachers skillfully apply theories about teaching and learning to real-world classrooms, they are demonstrating: The ART OF TEACHING!

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