ERIC Number: ED440760
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Constructivist Pedagogy in Primary Classrooms.
Rainer, Julie; Guyton, Edi; Bowen, Christie
Noting the difficulty in translating constructivist theory into effective practice, this study examined how primary school teachers implemented constructivist education into their kindergarten through second-grade classrooms. Participating in the study were six teachers who had received master's degrees from a constructivist program and who had been rated by faculty as successful on five dimensions related to constructivist theory. Data were collected by means of classroom observations, interviews, and surveys. These were analyzed using the qualitative methods of developing constructs, writing analytic memos, defining conceptual schemes, and writing classroom vignettes. The findings revealed that three teachers used more traditional approaches and three used more constructivist approaches. All scored high on the constructivist teaching scale of the Teachers' Belief Survey. The traditional teachers scored just as high on the behaviorist scale, whereas the constructivist teachers scored significantly lower. Teaching processes varied between the two groups, although both groups respected children, motivated hands-on activities, and provided effective management. A focused analysis of the three constructivist teachers and their classrooms supports the elements of constructivist classrooms identified by DeVries and others (1998) as well as three broader characteristics: the importance of children, interactions among classroom participants, and engagement in academic activity. A vignette of one classroom illustrates important constructs to consider in constructivist education, including respectful relationships, real conversations and purposeful talking, intellectual engagement, and shared ownership and responsibility in behavior, learning, and the classroom environment. (Contains 31 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).