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ERIC Number: ED538549
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov-20
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
Constructivist Teaching and Learning. Research Brief
Johnston, Howard
Education Partnerships, Inc.
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) describes constructivism as an approach to teaching and learning based on the premise that cognition (learning) is the result of "mental construction." In other words, students learn by fitting new information together with what they already know. Constructivists believe that learning is affected by the context in which an idea is taught as well as by students' beliefs and attitudes. Although Constructivism is based on sound theory and research, the jury is still out on its overall effectiveness as a single instructional approach. While there is evidence that the use of constructivist approaches does promote critical thinking, collaborative learning, and increased student engagement, it is less clear if it results in improved test scores. Indeed, by rejecting test scores in favor or authentic assessments, critics say that constructivists have not accepted accountability for student learning in the contemporary environment. Others have charged that the approach works best with students from privileged backgrounds who already possess essential skills and school-oriented attitudes and behaviors. Still others say that the overuse of collaborative and constructivist strategies can lead to "group think" and discourage independent thinking and creative problem solving by highly talented individuals (Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning). Like most debates about instructional approaches, advocates and critics alike would probably agree that no single approach works for all students all the time. The key is to find the right mix of methods for the students being served and the content being taught. (Contains 10 online resources.)
Education Partnerships, Inc. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Partnerships, Inc. (EPI)