Social-Constructivism

Social-constructivism builds upon Jean Piaget’s theory of constructivism, which is based upon the idea that children ‘construct’ their own meaning by using their prior knowledge and interests as a foundation for intrinsic motivation. Social-constructivism focuses not only on the aspect of constructivist learning, but also on the social and cultural aspects (Turner, 2011).

You may ask: why is it so important for children to use their prior knowledge when they are learning new concepts? Well, each child enters the formal schooling system with varying levels of knowledge and experiences, which should be utilised and built upon in engaging manners. In this way, the student’s learning is more interactive, since they are able to better relate to the content and engage in discussion, therefore fostering an interpersonal approach to teaching and learning (Smith, 2002).

Developments in technology, such as Web 2.0 and Edmodo are authentic learning tools which move away from teacher-directed pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, such as the transmission approach which presumes that all students in the class have the same level of knowledge and learn in the same way. Web 2.0 allows for students to take control of their own learning, creating an online environment where students can creatively develop and share their ideas on Wiki’s, blogs and interact with other students all around the world (Webopedia, 2013). I believe that this is extremely important for students, but should also be complimented by quality teacher and student interactions in the classroom, through class discussions and group work.

Even though the following video is set in a high school, the principles illustrated are applicable for a primary school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx8E8VVWiZs (Date accessed: 5/04/2013)

While observing children in a Year 2 class during my practical experience, I noticed that when one child was having difficulty answering a question, the class would engage in discussion and help each other. This approach to learning is closely linked to Lev Vygotsky’s theory of social-constructivism, whereby children, who interact with their peers and teacher, can gain a deeper conceptual meaning, rather than a simple surface understanding; indicating the success of the lesson (Tucker, 2010).

References:

Smith, M. K. (2002). Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm

Tucker, K. (2010). Mathematics through play in the early years. (2nd ed). London: Sage. (pp. 5-12).

Turner,  J. (2011). Collaboration. Retrieved from http://aspirestar.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/radical-constructivism.html

Webopedia. (2013). What is web 2.0? Retrieved from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Web_2_point_0.html

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