Constructivism as a Learning Theory
A community of learners is established by hearing student voices. It is a deliberate process orchestrated by an effective teacher to ensure that every child has that access to powerful learning experiences and potential academic success.
Linda Carpenter, Jennifer Fontanini, and Linda Neiman
This past weekend we attended the ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) convention in Chicago (and yes, we saw the Chicago River dyed green!). We were honored to present, “Orchestrating Student Voices to Build a Community of Learners” and this the above quote is how we ended our presentation. We were pleased that our participants were engaged and enjoyed an interactive, constructivist presentation.
As we also volunteered to host other presentations, and in talking to conventioneers, one theme emerged—that although we talk about interactive, constructivist learning, most presentations were lecture mode—sit and get. Constructivism isn’t a passing fad, constructivism is a learning theory that is supported by educational and cognitive neuroscience (See Constructivism as a Learning Theory) and it applies to all learners. As my colleague, Linda Carpenter remarked at the beginning of our presentation, “Kids and adults like to have fun just like elementary students. Sometimes that means music and colored paper and even crayons.”
All in all, it was a wonderful conference, highlighted by Maya Angelou. We were in the sixth row thanks to Tammy from Alabama, who guided and glided us through the process of getting awesome seats. It was a privilege to be in the presence of someone like Maya Angelou.
In our work for Teachers Pay Teachers as well as the presentations and workshops we do, we intentionally plan that work around the principles of constructivism. We learn more, deeper, and better, when we construct our own meanings within a context that provides a positive and safe learning environment and relevant content. Effective teachers teach in ways that ensure that every child has access to powerful learning experiences and potential academic success.
Check out the products we are developing for Teachers Pay Teachers. Each month we are adding more products that employ a constructivist, student-centered approach. It’s not your average workbook pages anymore! Kids deserve better!