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Lecture 2

EDUC Week 2 Lecture Notes.docx

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Trevor Norris

EDUC 1F95 January 15 , 2014 What is Constructivism?: • Apsychological theory (vs. sociological or philosophical). • Atheory about how people learn. • Became dominant only in the last 50-60 years. • Main proponents: Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky. • May seem obvious, but it was/is revolutionary and controversial.  Building levels on the ones that already exist. • Learners construct knowledge for themselves. • Therefore, to learn is to construct. • Because learning is constructing, we must focus on who does the learning: the student. • Therefore, in constructivism, the student is the center: student centered learning. What do Students Construct?: • It’s called constructivism, so what is being constructed?: o New knowledge. ∗ No knowledge is separate from the person, the context, or the experience. • No such thing as knowledge “out-there”. Contrast to John Locke: • Students are like “blank slates”. • They have no prior ideas, values, mental structures, or assumptions. • Every time you teach something new, it is as if students have never thought before, and have nothing in their minds. • Students should work alone, and listen silently all day. • Teaching is like pouring data into student’s empty heads. • Learning is like having something put into your head. o Learning is passive. Building Understanding: • Students already have a preexisting mental framework. • As a teacher, you must help fit new information into that structure. • Astudent embeds a new idea into the structure of prior ideas that already exist. • Everybody takes in new knowledge differently. • To make new learning ‘your own’, it is necessary to fit it in within what you already know, sometimes discarding things you are mistaken about. • Knowledge is incorporated into prior structure. • It’s possible for you to ‘teach’something, but students don’t ‘learn’anything. • Who you are as a person is important to how you respond to new material. • We are active in creating theories to make sense of our world. • Learning is based on the interaction between: o Already existing structures in the mind. o And new experiences and information. Context is Important: • Teaching must take context into account: o Ex) social and cultural context. o Or individual context. o Or context of curriculum content. • I would teach this course differently if: o I was teaching in Japan. o You were over 40 years-old. o It was 100 years-ago. o You were all millionaires. Question: • How has context influenced you when you were teaching? • How attentive have you been to context? Role of a Teacher: • Teachers as mediators and facilitators. • Teacher wants to know and understand their students. o Be present to your students. • Ask open-ended questions and follow-up questions. • Provoke dialogue and debate. • Encourage students to find their own unique way to learn. o Shift of responsibility. • Instead of: teachers as all knowing and powerful. Jean Piaget
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