Constructivism & Technology/Introduction

Section 1.1: What is constructivism?Edit


Constructivism is based on the work of Jean Piaget. As the name suggests, in constructivist theory, meaning is constructed based on experiences. Even though we hear and receive information, it does not necessarily mean that we have learned that information. New learning is assimilated into the learner’s mental schemas by connecting with knowledge that is already present. New information that does not fit into the schema is hard for the learner to understand. Meaning must be made by connecting the new learning to the old. New learning must be reflected upon and connected with old experience. Learners must reflect upon learning to make it connect to the old learning and to construct it’s meaning. Learning is done mainly by asking questions, exploring, and evaluating what is known.

What is it all about?Edit

Constructivism is when students acquire their knowledge through inquiry, research, and their own investigation. As they construct their knowledge, they are enhancing their ability to think critically and analyze information. The goal of constructivism is not to simply memorize and regurgitate information. If a student is truly in a constructivist classroom, they will be more likely able to retain and apply that information. Student learning must be active both mentally and physically, and not passive. Students learn by discovering their own answers as opposed to listening to a lecture.

Principles of constructivismEdit

There are several guiding principles of constructivism. First, learning is a quest for understanding and meaning. Learning starts with the problem or question that students are trying to understand or make meaning of. Second, learning is centered around main concepts and ideas instead of isolated facts. It is important for students to know and understand both the wholes of a concept, as well as the parts of a concept. Third, as teachers, we must understand the mental models of our students, which includes the way they perceive the world, and the assumptions that they make in their understanding of the world. By doing so, we will be able to better guide our students as they construct meaning. The last principle in constructivism is that students are constructing meaning as opposed to repeating facts and memorizing answers. The assessment must be tied to the learning process.

Constructivism in the classroomEdit

In a constructivist classroom, teachers use active techniques to learning. Students learn primarily through experiments, real-world problem solving, reflection and discussion. Unlike traditional classroom instruction where the teacher gives the students the knowledge they need, in a constructivist classroom, the teacher guides the students in their learning. The teacher encourages the students to ask questions and to access their learning. By asking questions, the students work through their learning and not only learn new information, but they learn how to learn. Students are encouraged to evaluate their learning and reflect on their learning progress. Hands on learning is the basis of a constructivist classroom. Students learn by doing. “They become engaged by applying their existing knowledge and real-world experience, learning to hypothesize, testing their theories, and ultimately drawing conclusions from their findings” (Thirteen Ed.). By asking questions and evaluating their learning, students are able to work with their natural curiosity. Students work to understand their world and how it works. Assessment of learning is based on student evaluation of learning.

Constructivist teaching practicesEdit

There are twelve teaching practices of constructivist teachers. First constructivist teachers encourage and accept student initiative. They guide students as they ask questions, and students are responsible for their own learning. Another practice is that teachers use data and primary sources, as well as manipulatives that will help students better comprehend abstract concepts. Third, constructivist teachers use cognitive vocabulary such as "classify," "analyze," "predict," and "create." By doing these activities, it requires higher level thinking that will benefit students. Fourth, students drive the instruction. Based on their needs, the teacher adapts and seizes the teachable moments that arise on a daily basis. In addition, constructivist teachers discover the prior knowledge of their students before sharing their own knowledge. A sixth practice is to encourage students to engage in conversation with both the teacher and with each another. Teachers also further knowledge by asking open-ended questions, and getting the students to ask questions of each other. Another practice is to encourage students to elaborate after responding. This allows the student more think time, as well as the ability to correct their errors, or better explain their thinking. Constructivist teachers engage students in experiences that might cause contradictions to their first or original thoughts or discussion. Another practice is for teachers to allow wait time after posing a question. This gives everyone time to think and process his or her thoughts before responding. In addition, constructivist teachers allow time for students to make connections and create metaphors, which will help guide their learning. The final practice is to nurture a child’s natural curiosity through discovery.

Example scenario
In Mrs. Smith’s third grade classroom, students are learning about animals. Today they are learning how birds use their beaks to eat their food. To learn about this, Mrs. Smith has prepared a variety of stations for the students to learn. The students will be using everyday kitchen tools to simulate the bird beaks. The students will use the kitchen tools to try to pick up and “eat” food that the birds would actually eat. As they progress from station to station, the students will note which tools are useful for eating which type of food and compare these to the beaks of the birds they are studying. By using a simulation, the students are able to use their own though processes to study the bird beaks. They are able to experiment and use tools on real food. When the students are finished with the experiment, they will record their findings and thoughts in their science learning logs. By recording thoughts in learning logs, they are able to reflect upon their own learning and to think about what they have learned.


Section 1.2: Origins and historical backgroundEdit


The philosophy of essentialism believes in using primary concepts, thoughts, and skills. These are believed to be crucial to a society and should be taught in a systematic way. The belief is that this type of education should be taught to any and all students regardless of their educational differences and needs. Essentialism prepares individuals to be productive and contributing citizens. The teacher is responsible for providing all knowledge and maintaining a task oriented environment while the student listens. According to essentialism the purpose of education is to teach children the lessons they need to live in the world. Some of the theorists who used and share similar ideals in education are Johann Friedrich Herbart, Herbert Spencer, and Maria Montessori.

Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776–1841) was born in Oldenburg, Germany. He attended the University of Jena where he studied philosophy. He is known as a philosopher, psychologist, and an educator. Some have even called him the “father of scientific pedagogy.” Herbart believed the frame work of education should be based on two systems psychology and ethics. “To Herbart, ideas were central to the process. He felt they grouped themselves into what he called "apperceptive masses." By assimilation (or apperception) new ideas could enter the mind through association with similar ideas already present” (BookRags Staff,2005). “Herbartianism, in predicting that learning follows from building up sequences of ideas important to the individual, gave teachers a semblance of a theory of motivation.” (Clark, 1999). Herbart was among the first scientists to develop an educational process for learning like this. His process was developed into a five step system. His students called the method the “Five Formal Steps of the Recitation” (BookRags Staff, 2005). The steps were organized as preparation, presentation, association, generalization and application.

Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) was born in Denby, England. He is known as a philosopher, scientist, engineer and political economist (Smith, 1997). Spencer was known for his beliefs about life and the processes of evolution. Some even compare his theories with Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” view. His prospective on humans were concentrated on a very scientific level. “Spencer systematically tried to establish the basis of a scientific study of education, psychology, sociology, and ethics from an evolutionary point of view” (BookRags Staff, 2005). Spencer stated "If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they should die." He believed people had natural will to flourish from their environment and learn from it. If they could not well then they could not.

Maria Montessori (1870–1952) was born in Ancona, Italy. She was the first Italian woman to become a physician when she graduated from medical school in 1896. Her medical practice included studying the behaviors of children. She would analyze their learning by watching them use their surrounding environment to refine their own skills. She became so interested in studying the behaviors of children that in 1906 she gave up her practice and chair position at the university to fully concentrate on studying learning patterns of children. “She left to begin studying a group of sixty young children of working parents in the San Lorenzo district of Rome” (North American Montessori Teachers Association [NAMTA], 2009). This is where she developed her signature method of how children learn called the “Montessori Method.” This method revolved around the premise that children teach themselves learning from the surrounds in their environment. The teacher was the facilitator for the learning environment. While children got on with their activities the task was to observe and to interfere from the side-line (NAMTA, 2009). Montessori provided the children a stimulating environment to learn in emphasizing self-determination and self-realization. She is known today by the many schools she represents all over the world. By studying these three theorists we see a common pattern among them. They all believe children/ people instinctively have the will to learn in their own natural surroundings. They all have a unique philosophy but follow the general concept essentialism.

Montessori method also follows the principles and practices of Constructivism theory, like "Social Constructivism Classroom", kindling the quest in the student, providing opportunity to absorb the concepts as a whole and in its entirety. Teacher being a facilitator in the child's learning process and lastly discouraging recitation to memorize etc.


Humanism is a philosophy that emphasizes the freedom, dignity, and potential of humans. Humanists commit to helping every person realize and perfect their potentials and view reason and education as a means to that end. Although humanism was influenced by the study of ancient Greek and Latin literature and philosophy, it was during the Renaissance when people first called themselves humanists. These Renaissance humanists viewed the ultimate ideal of education to include “those studies by which we attain and practice virtue and wisdom; that education which calls forth, trains and develops those highest gifts of body and mind which ennoble man” (Aloni, 1999). The romantic, naturalistic, or therapeutic form of humanistic education first appeared in Jean Jacques Rousseau’s 18th century writings. This is based on the argument that every person has a primarily good and unique “inner nature” or a “fixed self” that develops – according to its built-in code – toward a healthy existence and full humanity. Humanists believe that true education consists of careful “drawing out” and attentive actualization of a person’s inner nature (Aloni, 1999). The curriculum is student-centered, focusing on the concerns and interests of the students. Class content is relevant and pertinent to their lives. Students are encouraged to evaluate their own learning. The teacher is a facilitator rather than an authority figure and provides support and understanding instead of being critical and judgmental. The following individuals made significant contributions to humanistic education in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was a Swiss-French writer and philosopher. In his first major work, the Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750), Rousseau wrote on the negative theme that man is good by nature but has been corrupted by society and civilization. In 1762, he published Emile which was more of his treatise on education than a true novel. “Émile was the most influential work on education after Plato's Republic” (Doyle & Smith, 2007). His educational ideas were based on his view that children are naturally good and emphasized learning from nature and learning by experience. He stressed the importance of children developing ideas for themselves, to make sense of the world in their own way and to draw their own conclusions from their own experiences (Doyle & Smith, 2007). He believed that emotions should be educated before reason. The aim of education is individualistic and should appeal to each child’s interests. He did advocate physical education and manual work in the curriculum. The role of the educator was to control the environment and facilitate learning because Rousseau felt that when a child is ready to learn and is interested he will then have that self-motivation to learn.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) was a Swiss educator and social reformer whose method resulted in the introduction of an elementary school system in Europe. As a young man, Pestalozzi was influenced by Rousseau and particularly impressed with Emile but later abandoned some of those theories. In 1799, Pestalozzi was invited to teach at Burgdorf, where other progressive teachers joined him in developing a teacher-training institute. In 1804, the institute moved to Münchenbuchsee and then, in 1805, to Yverdon, where Pestalozzi spent the next 20 years testing and developing his philosophy of education. Pestalozzi believed that the “whole child” not just the mind should be educated, religion shouldn’t be an educational guiding principle, and learning occurs by doing. (“Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi,” 1967). Pestalozzi became convinced that children must receive both instruction and discipline first from their parents and then by teachers. He encouraged children to absorb knowledge through their own sensory experiences. His technique of bringing physical specimens into the classroom for observation was innovative in the teaching of natural science. He replaced the harsh discipline and mechanical rules of the times with discipline based on love and understanding.

Friedrich Froebel (1782–1850) was a German educator and psychologist best known for his creation of the kindergarten system. His educational philosophy is based on his belief of the unity of all things in God. His kindergarten program encouraged free activity, creativeness, social participation and motor expression (Bourgoin, 1998). He encouraged educational environments where children were involved in practical work and directly using materials since he felt understanding unfolds by engaging with the world. Froebel stressed play as the chief form of self-expression and developed play materials – spheres and other geometric forms – as well as group play activities.

The educational processes of constructivism and progressivism are not considered to be included with the humanistic school of thought. “Progressivism concentrates on self-esteem, creativity, happiness, and other intangibles rather than more empirical outcomes” (Bechtel, 2006). Constructivism and progressivism seek individual development for democratic life. They are actually considered to be seen as “Hegelian dialectics.” The Hegelian dialects focus on the philosophy learning creates its different stages as a person goes each stage.

Section 1.3: Major contributorsEdit

Beginning of constructivist thoughtEdit

Constructivism is not a new concept in education. Early thoughts about a student-centered methodology in teaching can be traced back to the writings of Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates. Later, theorists like Piaget contributed to the idea of child-driven investigation to enhance what learning they have already experienced. Other theorists, such as Lev Vygotsky, added new dimensions to constructivism. Vygotsky's "social constructivism" credited different aspects of culture and socialization to a child's construction of knowledge. These theorists and a few others influenced modern day constructivists who have taken this work and turned it into practice in modern-day classrooms.

Plato's education theory and Socrates. Elements of constructivism have been found in the earliest of works of Greek philosophy, including Plato's The Sophist (Leigh, 2007). Plato's andragist view on education was obvious in that he theorized that learners contain a belief system that has the ability to be challenged by their own investigation and research as to what is true about their previous knowledge and what is false (Leigh, 2007). In a similar way, Socrates believed in the role of teacher as questioner (LovetoKnowCorp, 2002). The idea of the instructor as a questioner can be found today as instructors pose essential questions to students in preparation for further investigation rather than to recite definitive answers (Adams & Burns, 1999).

Late 18th and early 19th centuryEdit

Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Vico contended that a human being constructs his own understanding and was the first theorist to put this idea into words with his well-known postulation verum esse ipsum factum ("true itself is fact" or "the true itself is made" (SEDL, 1994). His perception of "truth" stems from the process of a person growing and maturing, thereby learning of what is honest and accurate in his own reality (Parkinson, 2004). As a contemporary of Vico, Kant's thinking was similar in that he believed knowledge to be based on a person's own point of view (Heylighen, 1993). Brooks & Brooks (as cited by Regina Public Schools & Saskatchewan Learning, 2004) stated that Kant supported the notion that humans have the ability to gather information through perception, organize it within their cognitive structures, reflect on, and analyze what happens to them, and then apply meaning to those situations.

Alexander Kapp (1833) was a German instructor who developed the term "andragogy" to define the idea of adult learning (Smith, 1999). This definition was created in contrast to the term pedagogy, which describes the specific way children learn (Smith, 1999). Decades later, his work was further developed by Malcolm Knowles who believed that a significant difference in cognitive development causes adults and children to learn differently. For example, adults are more process-driven than content-driven, and they learn on their own better than children, who usually need assistance (Smith, 1999). Today, constructivist theories and androgist beliefs greatly influence teacher education programs. These programs will eventually transform practices in the classroom (Harris, Lowery-Moore, & Farrow, 2008).

Late 19th and early 20th centuryEdit

John Dewey (1859–1952) and Jean Piaget (1896–1980). John Dewey is often mentioned with Jean Piaget and is credited for giving constructivism momentum as an active movement in education (SEDL, 1994). Dewey advocated the idea that learning should pertain to actual life (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004). He also saw the need for the learner to reflect on any personal experience that brought about learning. Vanderstraeten and Biesta (as cited by Regina Public Schools & Saskatchewan Learning, 2004) explain that Dewey wanted learning to occur naturally and over time, becoming the student's own habit. Examples of Dewey's beliefs in action in a twenty-first century classroom include taking a field trip to a local organization or taking part in social service work that benefits the greater community (Fogarty, 1999). Piaget contended that students came to every learning situation with prior knowledge (Kretchmar, 2008). Phillips & Soltis (as cited by Regina Public Schools & Saskatchewan Learning, 2004) note that Piaget believed that humans should be at one with the world around them. When children feels unbalanced in their world, they seek to once again feel adjusted. Uneasy children will have found that balance through investigation and by engaging with the world around them (Regina Public Schools and Saskatchewan, 2004). He thought such an experience, also known as "learning by doing," contributed to knowing (Lunenburg, 1998). A classroom today that allows students to perform experiments to learn science concepts is using Piaget's idea of constructivism (Fogarty, 1999). Piaget's beliefs, combined with the use of the Internet, have the potential to influence teaching practices. The Internet has had great success in enlarging a student's social boundaries and giving educators a larger bank of resources from which to pull information and experiences (Lunenburg, 1998).

Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934). Although a contemporary of Piaget and Dewey, Vygotsky's constructivist contributions fall under a slightly different category, labeled specifically, "social constructivism." Fogarty (1999) interprets this type of constructivism by explaining that knowledge becomes deeper when you first learn from others, then yourself (Fogarty, 1999). Vygotsky also had developed the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (Kretchmar, 2008). Vygotsky had believed that a child needed adult assistance to build knowledge. As knowledge is constructed, the additional support can be decreased and the child could think on their own (Kretchmar, 2008). Therefore, any instructor in the twenty-first century who had conducted a whole group discussion, then allowed students to work independently on the concept(s) presented has applied Vygotsky's practice (Fogarty, 77).

20th centuryEdit

Jerome Bruner (born 1915) and Ernst von Glasersfeld (1917–2010). Following the thought of Piaget, Bruner postulated that students come into the educational system with their own beliefs and ideas (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004). At the same time, he acknowledged that children need assistance with their learning to build on what they already know (Boulware & Crow, 2008; Caldwell, 2008). Bruner reasoned that children should understand the skills and knowledge that go into understanding a concept rather than focusing on categorizing a concept by name. In other words, the "how" and "why" are more important than the "who" or "what" (Boulware & Crow, 2008). American and British education systems owe a debt to Bruner and his ideas (Caldwell, 2008). Both von Glasersfeld and Bruner took the stance that children need to be involved with their learning (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004). However, von Glasersfeld believed that the new knowledge acquired by a person does not have a definite correct or incorrect answer that is absolute. Instead, he contended that since experience is combined with perception, then someone can only use his or her ideas to ask questions that will formulate new thinking.

Seymour Papert (born 1928) and Donald Schon (1930–1997). Papert, a professor at MIT, centered his constructivist theory around the idea of "learning by doing" (or "playing") and incorporating technology to improve student learning and enhance creativity (Papert, 2005b). Best known for his Logo software, which is used in math programs in schools throughout the United States, Papert contended that technology should be used far more extensively in education to prey on students' inherent motivation to play ("Seymour Papert", n.d.; Papert, 2005a). By adding more technology to classroom practices, Papert believed interest in science, for example, would increase substantially among learners. Schon studied internal processing and wrote about the capability of people to think about themselves and believed that if people thought about (reflected on) the things they have done, then they could modify their behavior and, therefore, their lives (Kinsella, 2007).


Constructivism has been studied by a variety of individuals, and has evolved as a theory from Classical times to present day. Although the theorists vary slightly in their approach to constructivism, they all seem to agree that children must be actively engaged in making meaning out of the world around them. They support the idea that the instructor's main role should be as a facilitator, instead of the traditional notion of the "sage on the stage" who has all of the information to disseminate to the students. Instead, the students are the investigators who manipulate, play, and manage the variables to make sense of problems or situations.

Section 1.4: Current controversiesEdit

What is constructivism?Edit

Constructivism is a theory of learning that emphasizes students constructing their own knowledge. Constructivism is a process where the students are actively seeking their own knowledge and not sitting back and passively absorbing knowledge. Students, through the learning process of constructivism, develop their own theories of knowledge through building mental models and building off of past knowledge. The main components of constructivism involves being active in the learning process and continuously building off of previous knowledge.

While the constructivist approach is accepted and practiced by many, others feel that the approach has a number of problems and downfalls for both the students and teachers. The next sections will discuss these controversies.

Noisy and uncontrollable classroomEdit

Many people feel that a constructivism based classroom is subject to much noise and confusion, lending itself to an uncontrollable environment. They feel that for students to actively research or create models or representations of knowledge that the teacher would lose control of the classroom. While alternative classrooms might be different than the traditional classroom, it does not mean that control will be lost. For example, students can construct, using appropriate software tools, simulations of models of the phenomena they are learning about, conduct experiments with the models they have constructed, and analyze the results so obtained. According to their own analysis, driven by the feedback they received from running their models on the computer, the students can gradually improve their models, eventually arriving at a precise representation of the phenomenon under study (Technion, 2000).

Role of the teacherEdit

One of the most debated and critical controversies surrounding constructivism is that constructivism eliminates the need for a teacher in the classroom. Constructivism deals with students branching out and building off of both previous knowledge and creating their own learning environment. Constructivism simply changes the role of the teacher making the teacher more of a guidance and expert resource in a particular field rather than a teller of knowledge. The teacher has to create both problem solving activities as well as inquiry based activities to guide the students through the knowledge process. The student is responsible for forming ideas and making inferences on the material that the teacher has supplied. The constructivist approach to education is to have the students create their own knowledge off of experience rather than to have the teacher tell the students that knowledge (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004).

Constructivism as a theoryEdit

Constructivism has its fair share of doubters when it comes to theory. Some say that it is not a true theory and does not account for all learning. While constructivism teaches active learning, not all learning takes place in this manner. For example, when one reads and links that with reasoning then the process involved is simply word recognition and not constructivism (Stanovich, 1994). While other theories of learning state that memorization can not be associated with the constructivist theory of learning, constructivist advocates state that the memorization is actually a constructively based activity. Memorization consists of deciding to commit that information to memory, why that information has been committed to memory, how that learner will use that information, and how that information committed to memory can be used for future construction of knowledge (Dimock & Boethel, 1999).

Lack of supportEdit

While much evidence does support constructivism and its effect on students, there is still controversy surrounding the benefit of constructivism on novice learners. Novice learners do not have the background or base knowledge in order to create new ideas and build knowledge. They are not capable of learning new ideas by building off of previous knowledge (Sweller, 1988). Kirschener described constructivist based learning as "unguided methods of instruction." Some have even suggested that novice learners need more structured learning environments in order to build a base of knowledge (Kirschener, Sweller, and Clark, 2006). Others state that constructivism pushes behavioral activity too early and that novice learners should focus more on cognitive learning (Mayer, 2004). Constructivism is an approach that deals with guided instruction and structure in the classroom. Certain critics of constructivism lump it together with other theories and fail to take into account the structure of constructivism.

Students with learning disorders pose many problems with learning through the constructivist approach in that they typically have issues with grasping higher level thinking and problem solving (Steele, 2005). Constructivism based thinkers believe that all students are benefited by a constructivist approach to education and that with the appropriate guidance and leadership that even learning disabled students are capable of becoming successful (Grobecker, 1999). Learning disabled students benefit from constructivism in that they are able to start with new ideas and concepts which improve self esteem by allowing those students success (Steele, 2005). Teachers allow students to show what they already know while building on new knowledge formation.


Research has shown constructivism to be very successful in many environments, yet a failure in others. While much controversy surrounds the constructivist approach to education, there are still many institutions and individuals that stand by the approach. While many of the controversies brought up in this chapter have been supported by researchers, most of them are able to be refuted by others in their specific environments. The ultimate answer lies within the teaching environment. Any theory or approach to education will have doubters, but it lies in the teachers hands as to if the approach will have success or not. The failure of any theory or approach stems from lack of readiness on the teacher and the institution. Another consideration is the learning style of individual students. While some students might not be as successful being taught from a constructivist approach, many others might have success. Teachers need to be able to teach with a variety of methods and tailor education to meet individual needs in order to become successful. If we cannot teach to our student needs, then we are not succeeding in our job.



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Please provide your answers in a Mail Message in the Worldclassroom / BB Vista Course. Send your answers to the EDITOR assigned to each chapter section, with cc to the Instructors. For details, see Module B > 6. Chapter 1 Quiz.

Section 1.1

1. If students are expected to understand their world and how it works for them, the classroom environment must allow for which of the following?

  A. Rote memorization of facts and figures.
  B. Hands-on learning experiences.
  C. Lecturing about what students need to know.
  D. Closed-ended questions to encourage students to elaborate on their response.

2. Why should an instructor have to adapt to the role of the facilitator in a constructivist classroom?

  A. To give answers according to a set of curricula.
  B. To give a monologue.
  C. To help the learner obtain his or her own understanding of the content.
  D. To indicate the most important information to the learner.

3. Constructivist teachers use cognitive vocabulary to benefit learners in which way?

  A. To make certain that the learners are studying the course content.
  B. To ensure learners are not working with their natural curiosity.
  C. To require learners to regurgitate information at a moment's notice.
  D. To require learners' use of higher-level thinking.

4. How is learning taking place in a constructivist classroom setting?

  A. Through linking new learning to old learning.
  B. Through hearing and receiving information.
  C. Through skill and drill exercises.
  D. Through working alone to accumulate facts.

5. What are the differences between traditional and constructivist classroom teachers?

6. Why is constructivism though to be more in tune with today's student?

Section 1.2

1. Which essentialism theorist is responsible for providing children a stimulating environment to learn in emphasizing self-determination and self-realization?

2. Which theorist used the concept of “Survival of the fittest” as a foundation of his philosophy of learning?

3. Which educator is considered the founder of the kindergarten system?

4. Which educator is credited with introducing the elementary school system in Europe?

5. Choose one essentialism theorist and explain why their perspective on learning would be useful in your classroom today.

6. You have been selected by your principal to create a classroom that is based on humanistic educational principles. What you would propose to your principal?

Section 1.3

1. Constructivism has roots reaching back as far as:

  A. Immanuel Kant in the 18th century.
  B. Ernst von Glasersfeld in the 20th–21st century.
  C. Jean Piaget in the 19th century.
  D. Socrates and Plato in Classical times.

2. Which of the following is not included in constructivist theories or evolutionary concepts involving constructivism?

  A. Social constructivism (Vygotsky).
  B. Knowledge as based on one's own personal point of view (Kant).
  C. Learning as acquired by doing (Papert).
  D. The teacher as questioner (Socrates).

3. Which of the following is not one of Piaget's beliefs?

  A. Students use prior knowledge in active learning situations.
  B. When children feel unbalanced, they are content.
  C. Experience contributes to individual knowledge.
  D. Children seek balance in their world.

4. The term "andragogy", introduced by Alexander Kapp, means:

  A. Adult learning in contrast to child learning ("pedagogy").
  B. Child learning in contrast to adult learning ("pedagogy").

5. Depict two different classroom situations in which pedagogy and/or andragogy are demonstrated in your teaching.

6. Compare and contrast the evolution of constructivist thought during two different time periods mentioned.

Section 1.4


1. What are five controversies associated with constructivism?
2. True or false: A constructivism based classroom will result in a noisy and uncontrolled environment.
3. True or false: A novice learner can not learn through the constructivist approach to education.


1. Explain three controversies associated with constructivism.
2. How does technology aid in reducing controversies associated with constructivism?
3. What other issues might be associated with constructivism? How would this approach work in your school?