Constructivism 
Author Message
 Constructivism

      In my experience, educators tend to not use language too precisely.  
Maybe it is just that so much of learning (and therefore teaching) has been
a little vague as to what actually happens in the brain.  But very few
teachers that I have talked to have much of a clear concept of
constructivism.  Of course, those outside of education usually have an even
less clear concept.  I am not even sure if my concept is the "right" one.
      But as I understand it, constructivism simply means that each person
must come to their own understanding of the world.  This does not mean that
every understanding is valid.  The world is a real place and there are
rules and realities.  But each person must more or less construct that for
themselves.  A good tutor can sometimes help a student arrive at the
interpretations that the leaders in the field agree on.  Of course,
sometimes someone does not arrive at that point because the world is
actually different than the leaders of the field agree on (Einstein).
      Last night I discovered my report cards from the 9th through the 12th
grades.  I barely passed many class, didn't pass a few, and seldom (never?
) had stellar marks.  But during that time frame I had 8 or 9 part time
jobs, read literally more than a thousand of books, did most of the
projects in the Boy Scout Handbook (even though I didn't belong to a troop,
  I wasn't into social things too much), learned to play a musical
instrument, sang in a number of groups and performed in two major play
productions, etc.  School simply wasn't relavent to me.
      My wife is always the first to point out that I was not (am not)
"normal".  And I suppose most students aren't like me.  But I went on and
scored extremely well on the ACT, was placed in advance placement courses
in college, and have completed a Ph.D. and a long career in science.  
Looking back, I believe all these other activities were more important to
my understanding the world than all my public schooling.  Higher education
was a different matter, although again, I didn't enjoy it until I got to
graduate school which was much more constructivist.
      I don't suppose my experience should be forced on all children.  But
the role of Logo, manipulatives, robotics, building, drawing, playing a
musical instrument, and other such activities is certainly not appreciated
fully in the public schools, at least after the fifth grade or so.  I
believe it is a shame that so much of a childs life today is narrow and
limited, often to just school and maybe sports or computer games.

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Sun, 26 Jun 2005 00:24:33 GMT  
 
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