Constructivist Approach in Teaching Science Essay Sample
This essay sample focuses on the constructivist approach to learning and teaching in science classrooms and an explanation of the constructivist model.
The word ‘constructivism’ means that the teaching and learning process is constructive and the knowledge from experience varies from person to person.
The conventional teaching and learning process in the science classroom helps students to memorize laws, theories, and formulas which reflects the ability to construct knowledge and express it in the examination.
A constructivist classroom provides an opportunity for the students to observe, explore, learn through interaction and raise questions in the classroom. In a science class, and ample opportunity is given to the students to learn science in accordance with the nature of science.
Constructivism is a continuous and dynamic process of learning in which a learner connects his prior experiences and understanding in a social setting. Students coming to a science classroom for the first time do not come empty-headed rather they have strongly formed ideas of working of the natural world.
This approach in teaching science encourages the learner to actively participate in the activities of the T-chart, Mapping which helps in the biology class. Group discussions, debates, brainstorming session all plays an important role in the constructivist classes.
These activities create a positive impact and help the students to improve their science, science process skills, and attitudes.
The 5 E’s of Constructivist Model by Robert Karplus
Robert Karplus in the 1960s constructed a model of learning and teaching which was based on the work of Piaget.
It is a representation of the systematic application of psychology and science education.
There are 5 E’s of this model which shows the different stages of learning and teaching in a constructivist classroom.
Engage -It includes previous and presents learning experiences that help in anticipating the activities. Learners need to be actively and psychologically be engaged in learning new concepts, processes, and skills.
Explore – The teacher in the classroom designs many interesting activities for the students to gain knowledge, experience, building concepts, skills, and processes.
Exploration helps in the restoration of any disequilibrium as it is an open concept of learning which is used for establishing experiences by the students and teaching formal education by the teachers.
Explain -This phase is to help the students in explaining whatever they have learned so far through exploration. The teacher tries to bring students to focus upon exploration and engagement experiences presenting skills, concepts, and processes briefly.
Elaborate -It is an understanding of the learned concepts and practicing of skills and behavior by the students.
Evaluate -It encourages learners to assess the understanding and abilities themselves and teachers can evaluate the development and performance of the students.
Role of the teacher and learner in the constructivist science classroom
There has been a drastic change in the teaching methods of the teachers and learning methods of the students in the modern approach of a constructivist science classroom.
In the conventional approach of teaching, it is believed that the knowledge is objective and universal which can be transferred from the head of the teacher to the head of the students.
While in the modern constructivist classroom teacher not only transfers the knowledge but also facilitates the construction of knowledge by the students. He changes the student from a gainer of knowledge to a constructor.
The classroom environment in this approach is democratic, fair, and transparent which does not confer any authoritarian rights to the teacher. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to present their ideas and opinions fearlessly.
It gives a fair opportunity to the students to perform personal experiments to learn problem-solving skills and creativity.
Teachers help the students to revise the already learned concepts of the subjects by asking them questions, giving them new information, engaging them in-class activities, and contradicting or constructively criticizing them.
In a constructivist science classroom approach teacher is not the supreme authority rather is a mentor who guides the students to learn science and be an active learner of it.
Some of the principles that need to be kept in mind about ‘learning’ by a teacher when teaching the students in a constructivist classroom.
- Learning is a continuously evolving process as it never ends. People learn to learn more in the future.
- Learning is an active construction of knowledge by the students.
- It requires knowledge and effective work to gain learning.
- Motivation is an important factor in the process of learning.
- Learning is a social process that is gained through experience.
- It involves a lot of time and use of language.
In the modern age, science learning and education have become a key aspect of the school curriculum.
The traditional method of teaching science to students is not at all appropriate as they focus only on the end product and not much importance is given as it is considered to be just a body of knowledge. It just has the need to be delivered to the students. It does not provide any deep knowledge and understanding of science.
In the constructivist approach, the knowledge is constructed at every stage of science teaching. Learners are encouraged to reflect and question their own understanding.
It makes them an active learner of science in the truest sense who constructs knowledge through experience, analysis, observation, and reflection. It helps students to learn within the four walls of the classroom and outside of it.
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The above sample mentions the constructivist approach of teaching in a science classroom and its various features.
Certificate in Education and Training (5M3635) NFQ Level 5, Education and Training QQI Level 5 and 6, Montessori with ECCE Major Award QQI Level 6 students can read this essay sample who are preparing for getting degrees in formal teaching and education.
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