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Constructivism

Constructivism is a theory of learning that emphasizes the active construction of knowledge by individuals.

Constructivists’ viewpoints suggest that learning occurs when individuals integrate new knowledge with existing knowledge.

Learning is viewed as a natural and ongoing state of mind.

Three major components of constructivism

1. Learning takes place through internal mechanisms that are often unobservable to the viewer (internal thought processes).

2. Learning often results from a hypothesis-testing experience by the individual (making a guess, trial and error).

3. Learning results from inferencing (filling in the meaning gaps, reading between the lines)

People associated with Constructivism

John Dewey

Louise Rosenblatt

Elizabth Moje

Nelson Goodman

Whole language and instructional strategies

use of real, high quality literature for literacy learning

use of real, meaningful contexts for literacy activities

child centered instruction based on student interests

heavy emphasis on student choice

use of thematic instruction

use of active, social learning experiences

use of “teachable moments”

use of a variety of grouping systems

use of large blocks of time for integrated literacy activities

use of alternative systems of assessment, such as portfolio assessment

use of centers in the classroom

Thematic instruction

a form of instruction that is integrated through the use of a unifying concept or theme

“Literacy becomes meaningful when it is consciously embedded into the study of themes and content subject areas” (Tracey & Morrow, 2011, p. 69 ).

Three types of thematic units

1. Organized around a literacy genre or a particular author (ex. Author study, fairytales)

2. A theme with a social studies or science thrust (ex. dinosaurs, government)

3. Use of a science or social studies topic and with literacy consciously integrated into all content area lessons including music, art, math, social studies, and science

Constructivism Inquiry learning Psycholinguistic/ Whole language Transactional/ schema reader response engagement
Constructivism
Inquiry learning
Psycholinguistic/ Whole
language
Transactional/
schema
reader response
engagement
metacognition
(Tracey & Morrow, 2006)