Constructivism

Define assimilation, accommodation, and equilibration by example.

Assimilation:  incorporate new information by addition.

As a runner, you have learned that decreasing your time trial increases your chance of winning the race. So your strategy in every run is to give it your all in a sprint as soon as you hear the starting gun go off.

Accommodation:  restructure, adjust old information, knowledge.

This time, you joined a marathon which is also a time trial event and as soon as you heard the gun go off, you gave it your all in a sprint, thinking that it will save you time. However, you immediately exhausted all your energy and found yourself burned out right away and finished the race last. So, you made your own research and observation. You found out that in a marathon, one starts off by pacing and conserving his energy and giving it all in the last kilometer of the run. Knowing this, you learn that not all races are won by sprinting right away.  You adjust you previous knowledge regarding running and alter your strategy to win the race.

Disequilibrium:  state of confusion or imbalance

You suddenly became confused of your initial knowledge of running in a marathon race. You thought that to go all out in a sprint was the best way to win the race. Losing, you became confused and it prompted you to assess your running strategy.

Equilibrium: achieving balance.

After observing other people and assessing your situation, you understood the nature of the race. You decided to adjust your technique and strategy. In this case, you achieve balance or equilibrium.

1. How is accommodation “better” than assimilation?

Accommodation requires you to reassess what you know about a subject.  It makes you adjust prior knowledge that you currently believe or understand. It is revalidating, restructuring and adjusting what you know to create a new concept, thought or knowledge instead of just adding information to a preexisting knowledge (assimilation).

 

2.  When / how is equilibrium attained?

 

Equilibrium is attained when we are able to clarify conflicts and issues that confront our thoughts on certain information. Equilibrium is said to be attained if we are able to achieve balance.

 

3. How does disequilibrium contribute to learning?

 

Disequilibrium contributes to learning because it prompts us to assess the information we have on hand. It encourages us to look for answers and in the process we are able to construct new concepts, schemes and principles leading to a state of equilibrium.

 

II. What current practices DO NOT conform to constructivist principles? How would proponents of a constructivist approach to teaching modify classroom experiences?  How will they justify such changes?

Below are some differences of traditional learning as compared to constructivist approach according to http://djc25blog.wordpress.com/:

 

TRADITIONAL APPROACH                         CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH

Teacher Centered

Learner Centered

Content Focused Process focused – learn to learn
Memory Critical thinking
Rote Learning Ability to communicate
Individual Testing Ability to work in teams
Problems not real Authentic Problem Solving
Set Tasks Project based learning
Within Discipline Cross Disciplinary learning
Rigid time tables and supervision Ability to self organize and self direct
   

Assessment

Assessment by range of means

Written exam Continuous
Oral exam Group
  Online
  Exam

As supporters of constructivism, teachers must be more dynamic and creative to encourage students’ collaboration and interaction.  As a justification for change, it may be stated that students who learn through constructivist approach are more interactive, confident. They develop critical thinking skills and problem solving abilities.

 

III. How would you qualitatively differentiate “academic success” between traditional (direct instruction) and constructivist teaching?

Academic success in direct instruction would mean attending to lectures, identifying and defining terms, doing assignments, seatwork and submitting them on time. Depending on how much you have accomplished, you are accorded a numerical grade.  On the other hand, success in constructivist approach would mean being able to collaborate with your groupmates, constructing meaning out of relevant real life issues as projects, scaffolding knowledge and building concepts subject to the learners’ interpretation and are graded in the quality of input you have made as a learner.

 

IV. Why might educators (and learners) who have grown used to traditional methods oppose shifting towards a constructivist approach to teaching-learning?

They may find traditional methods more direct and therefore seem faster, and constructivist approach too slow in teaching. Also, teachers will have to exert extra effort to understand their students’ preexisting knowledge, concepts and ideas to be able to build on them. It is a skill that requires extensive training. The constructivism curriculum also eliminates standardized testing and grades. This eliminates grade-centered goals and rewards as well as the comparisons of student in class which is a common practice in traditional schools.(Calia Roberts)  There is no common benchmark to which all students’ performance are measured, therefore more difficult to gauge progress.

Source:

Advantages & Disadvantages of Constructivism in Teaching

By Calia Roberts: http://www.ehow.com/info_8634178_advantages-disadvantages-constructivism-teaching.html#ixzz2YAz40yJ4

 

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