Constructivist Pedagogical Approach in Teaching of Science

Abstract- The basic idea of constructivism is that the learner must construct knowledge; the teacher cannot supply it. The constructivist paradigm as advocated by Piaget (1960/1981) and Bruner (1990) stresses that whatever gets in to the mind has to be constructed by the individual through knowledge discovery. Its emphasis is on how a student constructs knowledge. In other words, this theory holds the view that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge.

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According to Sextin, Martin and Galovich (1994) constructivism is a theory that assumes knowledge can not exist outside the bodies of cognizing beings………knowledge is a construction of reality.

At present constructivism is a popular idea associated with teaching and learning science. Constructivism stresses the importance of considering what is already in the learner’s mind as a place to initiate instructions. Learning is regarded as an active process where by student personal meaning of the subject matter through their interaction with the physical and social world. It is the student who must make sense out of the experiences.

The basic idea of constructivism is that the learner must construct knowledge; the teacher can not supply it (Bringuier, 1980).The constructivist paradigm as advocated by Piaget (1960/1981) (cited in Joan .S, 1980) and Bruner (1990) (cited in Joan.S 1980), stresses that whatever gets in to the mind has to be constructed by the individual through knowledge discovery. Its emphasis is on how a student constructs knowledge. In other words, this theory holds the view that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge.

According to Simpsons (1993) (cited in Joan.S, 1980), constructivism is an n approach in which the learner is building an internal illustration of knowledge, a personal interpretation. Constructivism emphasizes the careful study of the processes by which children create and develop their ideas. According to constructivism approach learning is an interaction between the learner and the

learning environment. In other words, learning occurs if a student can construct his or her own knowledge and apply or generalize its meaning to new situations. Constructivism is based upon the theories of Piaget and Bruner (NCF-2005)There are views of some scholars about teaching of science.

1 . PIAGET’S VIEWS ON TEACHING OF SCIENCE

1. Formal operational- They understand science with out
doing activities.

2. Concrete operational- They can understand science only if they do activities by their own hands.

3. Pre-operational- They can understand science if they do activities rapidly by their own hands.

According to Piaget, these are the children’s cognitive stages of development. (Siddiqui; Siddiqui, 2006)

2.BRUNER’S VIEW ON TEACHING OF SCIENCE

Bruner (1966) (cited in Gupta, Shukla& Mathur, 1984) has given three modes of learning and starting knowledge in the brain .These modes of learning are-
a) Enactive-Learning through body; learning by doing.
b) Iconic- Learning by seeing.
c) Symbolic-Verbal and book learning.

A very young child will learn principally by the enactive mode but as he grows older the iconic and then the symbolic become more important. Nevertheless, even with adults the enactive and iconic forms are still important and probably people understand comprehensively and remember more easily if all the three modes can be employed at the same time with respect to the same topic.

3.JOHN DEWEY PRINCIPLE OF LEARNING

John Dewey advocated physical and mental learning for children. He believed that students learn best when they have to solve problems that are meaningful to them. Dewey championed the notion of mentally active hands-on learning. He believed that children learn effectively through personal struggles in which they must investigate, accumulate ideas, process information, and put ideas to practical use.

Effective instruction depends on the teacher’s ability to understand how students make sense of the stimuli, rather than how teachers make sense of those stimuli by themselves. According to Driver (1996),”If it is accepted that learning involves the restructuring of students conceptions, then not only do educators need to appreciated the ideas that children bring to the learning situations, but they need to understand the processes by which conceptual change occurs in order that this can be taken into account in the design of learning programs. Constructivism advocates learner-centered, activity –oriented interactive pedagogic approach.

Constructivist learning process is facilitated by the skilled teacher who engages students in thinking, questioning, testing ideas, exploring and representing ideas. So the teacher’s own role in children’s cognition could be enhanced if they assume a more active role in relation to the process of knowledge construction in which children are engaged. A sensitive and informed teacher is aware of this and able to engaged children through well chosen tasks and questions, so that they are able to realize their developmental potential. Teaching from a constructivist referent might view the learning process as a journey that begins where the students resides. The voyage is a collaborative effort between the learner and the teacher.

Bibliography-
• Bringuier, J.C (1980) Conversation with Jean Piaget. Chicago; The university of Chicago press.
• Driver.R. (1996) Young People’s Image of science. Buckingham; Open University Press.
• Gupta, Shukla, Mathur (1984) Teaching of science in secondary school. New Delhi; NCERT.
• Joan. S (1980) Constructivism and Learner centered approach in education, in Edutracks, vol.6 (13-15).
• NCERT, National curriculum framework for school education (2005). New Delhi; NCERT.
• Siddiqui&Siddiqui (2006) Teaching of science today tomorrow. Delhi; Doaba House.

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