Constructivism theory based on primary education

Abstract. The Constructivism Theory allows learners to build their own knowledge through testing ideas from available experience and knowledge, then apply this knowledge to other situations in relationship with new knowledge. Teaching with Constructivism Theory is the trend of modern education, based on participation of learners in solving problems and using critical thinking. Critical thinking is promoted in activities that pupils find relevant and interesting.

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JOURNAL OF SCIENCE OF HNUE 2011, Vol. 56, N◦. 1, pp. 107-112 CONSTRUCTIVISM THEORY BASED ON PRIMARY EDUCATION Pho Duc Hoa Hanoi National University of Education E-mail: Abstract. The Constructivism Theory allows learners to build their own knowledge through testing ideas from available experience and knowledge, then apply this knowledge to other situations in relationship with new knowl- edge. Teaching with Constructivism Theory is the trend of modern educa- tion, based on participation of learners in solving problems and using critical thinking. Critical thinking is promoted in activities that pupils find relevant and interesting. Keywords: Constructivism Theory, active teaching and learing, inqury- teaching, VARK theory. 1. Introduction Constructivism Theory is one of the superior theories which are applied in education. It encourages pupils to build their own knowledge based on individual experiments and direct application in their learning environment. Learning of each individual pupil is central in the teaching process. Constructivism in Education is the trend in researching and applying construc- tivism theories in different types of schools. It welcomes new teaching approaches and methodology which consists of critical thinking, anti-dogmatic teaching and tra- ditional theory according to behavioral theory (Behaviorism-Traditional Teaching). 2. Content 2.1. Constructivism Theory and views Conscious processing of primary pupils is unique. It is not a process to find new knowledge for humanity; it is the awareness of new things for themselves from the general treasury of human knowledge. There are many scientists doing research in Constructivism Theory and giving different arguments. 107 Pho Duc Hoa J. Piaget says that pupils knowledge is never empty and awareness of people at any level always performs intellectual actions through available knowledge and skills to process information and impacts in order to achieve conscious goals. Von Glaserfeld, when researching the Constructivism Theory, also pointed out four theoretical points which show that knowledge is created in a active way through the awareness process of the subject based on available knowledge and experiences. Nguyen Huu Chau believed that the development of the Constructivism The- ory through authors are from the general, popular things to specific things and from the unshaped to the shaped things to come up with more and more detailed statements. That is the way we become aware in the natural world. In summary, Constructivism Theory is a theory about learning by experi- ence. Constructivism Learning based on the participation of learners in solving the problem and critical thoughts in activities that they find suitable and interest- ing. Constructivism Theory enables pupils to build their own knowledge through testing ideas from available experience and understandings, then applying this new acknowledgment in new situations and linking up to new knowledge. 2.2. Characteristics of Constructivism Theory The Constructivism Theory is basically a theory based on observation and scientific research, saying that human beings construct knowledge and understand- ings about the world through experience and reflection. When facing new problems, people often tend to resolve the situations based on their available experiences. Therefore, in practice people are also constructors and appraisers of their acquired knowledge. Knowledge is constructed and applied in consistence with individual experiments. Constructivism Theory advocates teaching based on learners activeness of ac- tive process, learning motivation and aspirations to learn and to know. Although there are many different expressions of Constructivism Theory in teaching, all of them emphasize the active role of learners in the learning process and the way learners acquire knowledge for themselves. Learners build their own knowledge, new lessons depend on existing knowledge of learners, learning becomes easier with social interaction. Practical exercises promote learning, making learning activities more mean- ingful and more effective. Pupils learn based on collaboration and teamwork. The above characteristics of the Constructivism Theory requires learners to self-study and self-research in order to implement the principle of learners construct- ing their own knowledge by themselves. Therefore, Constructivism Teaching sets 108 Constructivism theory based on primary education up some requirements: - Learning through activities and processing learning situations, then con- structing new knowledge. - Learning through social interaction, discussion and exchange between mem- bers in the collective. - Learning is to overcome intellectual obstacles and break old mistakes. - Learning through solving problems. Constructivism Theory affects learning programmes, coaching and evaluating pupils learning, in following ways: - Curriculum: Constructivism Theory requires rejections of the so-called stan- dard curriculum. Instead of that, it encourages using the curriculum which individ- ualizes learners and is designed with priority for pupils perception and needs. - Instruction: The teacher focuses on creating relationships between objects and phenomena and building new knowledge for the learner. Designing lectures within a system of questions and opening issues to encourage learners in analyzing, proving and identifying hypotheses. Teachers also respond with answers clearly and stimulate expanding exchange amongst pupils. - Evaluation: Constructivism Theory requires standard exams and classifi- cation of levels to be rejected. Instead of this, evaluation becomes a part of the learning process for learners to participate in the role of self-controlling the devel- opment process of knowledge for themselves. 2.3. Teaching the Constructivism Theory way Teaching with Constructivism Theory is a theory in which learning activities of learners have to be based on knowledge learned (old knowledge) and their life experiences. Thus, according to this theory, we build our own knowledge by our- selves about the world that we are living in. Therefore the learning is a process of adaptation to available templates in harmony with new experiences. Learning with Constructivism Theory would create many opportunities for learners to learn in an environment with various experiences and teachers are the ones who guide to build their own knowledge and methods to find the knowledge. This approach contrasts with traditional ones through activities organized in class, where learners merely are the containers with the information that teachers and materials provide. Teaching with Constructivism Theory Learning by critical thinking (other ways to call the active teaching method) expressed by signs: a. Teachers explain to their pupils that they always have certain available life 109 Pho Duc Hoa experience (knowledge). b. These life experiences are available knowledge sources, the foundation and basis for occupying and constructing new knowledge. c. Teachers must provide opportunities for their pupils to think in the learning process. d. Learners occupy knowledge positively through activities. Learners imple- ment those activities following the steps of the VARK theory. e. In terms of organizational form of teaching, teachers should and need always to change the position of pupils seating (It can be folded U-shaped, square) g. Learning through relationships between teacher-pupil, pupil-pupil Class is boisterous and even noisy... Learners are ebullient and enthusiastic h. Evaluative information and self-evaluation are always updated regularly and continuously. In teaching with the Constructivism Theory, Questions and the ways of asking questions play an extremely important role. Instead of questions which are mere promotion of the re-appearance thinking of learners (closed questions ) such as Who? What? When? when using active teaching methods, questions and issues given always contain different answers (open questions) in order to stimulate development of critical and creative thinking of pupils. These types of questions always create opportunities for pupils to use their life experiences as a source of available knowledge which is basic for receiving new knowledge. Designing and building questions require teachers to consider the needs and cognitive abilities of pupils. 2.4. Some suggested principles for teaching with Construc- tivism Theory Learning with Constructivism Theory, self-discovering issues have their own experience. It can be said that these are different practical skills that learners must comply to. So, in order to teach with Constructivism Theory effectively, the following guidelines should be followed: a. Learning activities to find meanings for. Therefore, these activities must be from objects and phenomena around learners such things really inspire the learners to understand the essence of the problem. b. Finding meaning and essence of the problem requires learners to understand overall as well as parts of objects and phenomena. Those parts should be placed in many different contexts. Thus, the process of occupying knowledge of learners focuses on basic concepts and background rather than unconnected and separate 110 Constructivism theory based on primary education parts. c. The purpose of learning is that individual learners find by themselves the essence of objects and phenomena rather than merely memorizing correct answers, repeating contents that other people have found. The only valid way of measuring the learning results of pupils is to assess each part in the whole learning process, ensure the provision of feedback information in corresponding with their current level. d. Learning is a social activity. The Learning activity is to create friendly relationships, being open with people around them; teachers, friends, family and people we meet at random. e. Learning activities needs the participation of language; the language we use affects the receiving of new knowledge. l. Vugotxki a psychologist who is very supportive to the Constructivism Theory has opposed the view that language and learning are two separate parts. g. New knowledge needs to be based on available knowledge and life experi- ences. This old knowledge is the foundation for receiving new knowledge. h. The Learning activity is a lifetime activity, it takes time. The key of efficient learning is motivation. i. Physical activity and practical experience may be necessary for learning, especially from young children, but is not a sufficient condition. Teachers need to provide pupils with activities within both thought and action. 2.5. The organizational form of teaching with Construc- tivism Tendency There are many organizational forms of teaching with the tendency to exploit pupils motivation. The followings are some organizational forms which represent the Learning Experience: - Demonstration and Practice. - Discussion with questions (teacher-pupil, pupil-pupil). - Learners keep different roles in learning (role play). - Case study analysis. - Analysis in extracts of VCD, DVD (Video analysis). - Learning by debating and expanding the power of thought of learners (De- betes/ mock trial). - Research/Individual or team based. - Pair, triplets and quad work. 111 Pho Duc Hoa - Developing posters and displays. - Games and Simulations. - Learning by solving problem (Problem-based learning). - Performances. - Experimentation. - Interviews real or mock. - Inductive thinking. - Web display. - Work experience. 3. Conclusion Teaching the Constructivism Theory is the trend of modern education, based on participation of learners in problem solving and critical thinking in activities that pupils find relevant and interesting. The Constructivism theory will help learners to develop critical thinking and interest in learning. REFERENCES [1] Pho Duc Hoa, 2009. Active teaching and learning & approach to teaching in primary education. Hanoi University of Education. [2] Ministry of Education and Training, Hanoi 2000.Teaching thinking skills. Docu- ments of Vietnam Belgian project Support for remote teaching. [3] J.Samuel Barkin, 2010. Realist Constructivism: Rethinking International Rela- tions Theory. Cambridge Unniversity Press, UK. [4] Carol Blades, 2002. Thoughts on Children and Learning. University of Calgary, Canada. [5] SEAMEO Regional Centre for Education, 2006. Applying constructivism and inquiry models in teaching volume-temperature relationship of gases (charles law). Penang, Malaysia. [6] http// 112
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