CONSTRUCTIVISM: to learning by understanding. It suggests that

CONSTRUCTIVISM:

A NEW PARADIGM FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS

 

Dr.Anjali Gautam

                                   S.D(P.G)
College Ghaziabad

 

The progress of
any country depends upon the quality of education offered and its practices.
Indian Education system of was well known for its Gurukul system of Education
in Vedic age. Education in India
has undergone various phases and stages of development (Anjali
Khirwadkar).Nowadays global upsurge for explosion of knowledge, expectations
and aspirations of teachers, parents as well as students have led to the
exploration of new teaching methods. These alternatives include self-learning,
question-answer, and use of teaching aids, discussions, project method, and
heuristic etc. Educational institutions of the country have continuously
endeavored to use the latest technologies to support the process of education.
Here the role of teacher educator is of prime importance for effective
implementation of all new techniques. It is well recognized that overall
quality of education mainly depends upon the quality of teachers .Sound
programme of professional preparation of teachers is essential for imparting
quality education.

CONSTRUCTIVISM: –

 The National Curriculum Framework 2005,
recommends a paradigm shift from rote memory to learning by understanding. It
suggests that curriculum should help students to develop their own thinking and
ideas through experience, action and reflection. School should facilitate the
process of knowledge construction and help them to become independent thinkers
capable of solving their everyday problems.(Santosh Sharma) Current school
improvement programmes are  embedded in
the philosophy of constructivism.(Kuldeep Singh).The constructivist approach to
learning is based on some common assumptions of constructivism(Driscoll1994).
A) Complex, challenging learning environment and authentic tasks; B) learning
through social negotiation and shared responsibility: C) multiple
representation of the content; D) understanding that knowledge is constructed,
and E) student centered instruction. Collins (1991) held that students benefit
from constructivist approach such as experiential learning because: A) they
learn to apply knowledge; B) the learning environment fosters invention and creativity;
C) they see the implications of knowledge and D) they learn that knowledge is
organized for appropriate uses in context. A basic premise of constructivism is
that individuals live in their own world of personal and subjective,
experiences. The role of teacher therefore undergoes a major transformation
from the imparter of knowledge to facilitator of conditions which will help
learner in the process of knowledge construction (Saroj Pandey).

CONSTRUCTIVIST TEACHER

According to the
social constructivist approach, instructor has to adopt the role of
facilitators and not teachers. Where a teacher gives subject matter, a facilitator
helps the learner to get to his or her own understanding of subject matter. In
the former learner plays a passive role and in the later learner plays an
active role in the learning process. The emphasis thus turns away from the
instructor and the content, and towards the learner. This dramatic change of
role implies that a facilitator needs to display a totally different set of
skills than a teacher (Brownstein 2001). A teacher tells, facilitator asks; a
teacher lectures from the front, a facilitator supports from the back; a
teacher gives answer according to a set curriculum, a facilitator provides
guidelines and creates  the environment
for the learner to arrive at his or her own conclusions; a teacher mostly gives
a monologue, a facilitator is in continuous 
dialogue with the learners.

According to Santosh Sharma a
constructivist teacher;-

 Is leader of
democratic learning group.
accepts students autonomy and initiative
tailoring teaching strategies to permit students
responses.
encourages students to analyze, interpret and
predict.
ask open ended questions.
use raw data as primary sources and interactive
material

 

TRAINING TEACHERS FOR ADOPTING CONSTRUCTIVISM

Constructivism is a descriptive
theory of learning and not a formula for teaching. When a constructivist
teacher preparation programme is developed certain basic principles are
followed (Dr. Ronald & Bonnstetter). These include: –

1.     
establishing an inclusive democratic environment of
trust and mutual respect.

2.     
utilizing student’s background knowledge and
experience.

3.     
building a curriculum directed at content-pedagogical
knowledge in a context of doing “real work”.

4.     
developing a climate of sharing thus a community of
learner.

5.     
producing an understanding  that all knowledge is partial and positional.

6.     
negotiating an assessment protocol that rewards an
intrinsic motivation and is both performance based and authentic.

7.     
creating an educational program that is not only
informational but also transformational by exposing and reflecting on beliefs.

8.     
shaping in a climate where questions reflecting on
experience  becomes a professional way of
life.

For training
teachers for practicing constructivism teacher educators should take  the initiative. They should develop
constructivist and inclusive environment in their own classrooms and become
role model for future teachers. Ultimate responsibility is of teacher
educators.

Constructivist
teacher education generally reflects two major traditions–the developmental
and social reconstructions traditions (Canella & Reiff, 1994). Programs
influenced by the developmental tradition attempt to teach students how to
teach in a constructivist, generally Piagetian, manner. They are typically
characterized by substantial direct instruction in theory and practice, often
without complementary opportunities for inquiry, discovery, or
self-examination. This approach can easily become overly prescriptive. If this
occurs, the teacher educator models an approach to teaching that is essentially
antithetical to the approach students are intended to employ in their future
classrooms (Oldfather, Bonds, & Bray, 1994).