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ERIC Number: EJ824473
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Constructivism in the Community College Classroom
Henry, Michael
History Teacher, v36 n1 p65-74 Nov 2002
For over thirty years, teaching the United States history survey course has been the focus of the author's professional life. At both the high school and college level, he has introduced students to the sweep of American history from Jamestown to Watergate. During those years, he has grappled with the conundrum of how to make this often-unwieldy course meaningful to his students. But in his search for a means to address his students' needs, he always bumped up against the survey's greatest challenge--the need "to cover" material. In this article, the author discusses "constructivism," a theoretical paradigm that addresses this challenge, and describes how he had introduced its ideas and methods into his United States history survey. The author concludes that bringing constructivism into the classroom is an effective way to add vigor and interest to the traditional survey history course. By blending lectures and having students question and respond to primary source documents, an instructor can address the demands of covering material at the same time can encourage historical thinking in students. With expository techniques, a teacher can lay the factual foundations of the survey, and through inquiry-oriented constructivist exercises, can allow students to build on these foundations. Although constructivism is not a panacea for all that ails the teaching of history, it is an important tool in strengthening classroom instruction at the post-secondary school level. (Contains 26 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A