The Courage to be Constructivist

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The Courage to be Constructivist
Martin G. Brooks and Jacqueline Grennon Brooks

“Learners control their learning. This simple truth lies at the heart of the constructivist approach to education.”

There has been a lot of talk about test-driven teaching, understandably so. When programs such as RISE have up to 50% of a teacher’s evaluation counted via the test scores of his or her students, it makes sense that schools would want to do what they can to ensure that students get the highest scores they can. However, research is emerging that says teaching to standards and tests is ineffective, and hinders learning rather than aids it.

Instead, we should be focusing on constructivism and getting students involved in their learning. Brooks & Brooks say it well when they say “When students want to know more about an idea […] they put more cognitive energy into classroom investigations and discussions and study more on their own.” Isn’t that the type of learners we want to be encouraging? Students who are so interested and invested in their learning that they go out on their own to learn more? Constructivism gives them the tools and outlets to go into that investigation with an excitement for learning that is not seen when the focus is on drilling for a test.

I agree that using constructivism in my classroom is going to take courage, but I think that I have that. I would much rather have a classroom of students who are actively engaged and hands-on in their learning, than a room full of children who are checked-out of the process and simply there because they “have to be.”

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