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Personal construct: •The pattern of man’s construction are called constructs; and, since each person sets up his own network of pathways leading into the future, the concern of the psychologist is the study of personal constructs.(Kelly,1955) •To understand someone else is to understand his personal construct system (Duck, 1983)
of the theory
•Metaphor of Man-as-scientist •Constructive alternativism–we continuously construe our surrounding reality. •Anticipation –we are always trying to anticipate /foresee what will happen ≠response •If the construct, when tested, anticipates the right outcome the hypothesis holds and thus the personal theory or construct system about surrounding phenomena holds. •Man/woman is always looking for personal theories that can better differentiate and anticipate events in the world.
What is a personal costruct?
•A construct is defined not as an event, but how we construe the event. Thus a construct is the meaning we give to our surrounding reality. •We create an image of reality and then we respond to this image. •Personal constructs are then tested against reality. • Personal constructs are cognitive structures we use to interpret & predict events. •No 2 people use identical personal constructs, & no 2 people organize their constructs in an identical manner. •According to Kelly, personal constructs are bipolar. • That is, we classify relevant objects in an either/or fashion with each construct. •E.g., friendly-unfriendly, tall-short, intelligent-stupid, masculine-feminine, etc.
•After applying the original black-and-white construct we can use other bipolar constructs to determine the extent of blackness or whiteness. •E.g., If you think a person is intelligent, you may then apply the construct, “academically intelligent or commonsense intelligent.” --provides a clearer picture! How can personal constructs be used to explain personality differences? •Kelly argued that differences in our behavior largely result from differences in the way people “construe the world.” •Suppose two people meet a new individual named Adam.
•Person 1: uses friendly-unfriendly, fun loving-stuffy, and outgoing-shy constructs in forming his template for Adam’s behavior. Person 2: uses refined-gross, sensitive-insensitive, & intelligent-stupid constructs. •After both individuals interact with Adam they walk away with different impressions of Adam. •Person 1 believes that Adam is a friendly, fun-loving & outgoing person, whereas Person 2 thinks that Adam is gross, insensitive, & stupid. •The same situation is interpreted differently. Past experience—guides our predictions
We use past experience to determine what is important to attend to & what we can ignore. If you knew if a person was quiet or talkative (talkative-quiet construct), you could predict their behavior in a given situation more accurately. Why do two people who experience the same event, have different interpretations of that event? •1. Each person may have a different set of constructs they use to evaluate a given event. •2. Two people may use similar constructs on one pole, but not on the other.
• E.g., You might use an outgoing-reserved construct, whereas you might use an outgoing-melancholy construct. Thus, what you see as reserved, I may see as melancholy. •.A subordinate construct may be subsumed within one side of the superordinate construct, like this: Friendly-Unfriendly Outgoing-Quiet Here, people are judged as either friendly or unfriendly. If judged as friendly, they are then judged as either outgoing or quiet. You might, however organize your constructs this way: Friendly-Unfriendly Outgoing-Quiet Outgoing-Quiet Here, whether you judge people as friendly or unfriendly, you can further judge them as either outgoing or quiet.
The theory is set out in his major work as a series of formal postulates and corollaries, but its essence is that personal identity is defined by the way we construe or “understand” our personal worlds. It is therefore a phenomenological approach, rather than a positivist one. All action and thinking is undertaken, PCP maintains, in a “scientific” manner. This basically means trying things out to see whether they work: our “constructs” or ways of making sense of the world, are not necessarily conscious and articulate, but may be inferred from behaviour. Kelly does not refer to learning at all, but to changes in constructs over time — but this is principally because the process of learning is so ubiquitous in the system.
Its major tool is the “Repertory Grid”, which is an amazingly ingenious and simple idiographic device to explore how people experience their world. It is a table in which, apart from the outer two columns, the other columns are headed by the names of objects or people (traditionally up to 21 of them). These names are also written on cards, which the tester shows to the subject in groups of three, always asking the same question: “How are two of these similar and the third one different?”
The answer constitutes a “construct”, one of the dimensions along which the subject divides up her or his world. Some constructs, such as “male” and “female” (when applied to people) are too commonplace to be of much interest (although the question why they matter in this particular case may well be interesting), but it is the personal constructs which say a lot about the person. If, for example, the names (or “elements”) were cars, then the “male-female” construct might be much more revealing. There are conventions for keeping track of the constructs. When the grid is complete, there are several ways of rating or ranking all of the elements against all the constructs, so as to permit sophisticated analysis of core constructs and underlying factors (see Bannister and Mair, 1968)
Constructs do not have to be dictionary opposites: for a given subject “Unselfish” might be a more meaningful opposite to “Mean”, than “Generous”. It is connotations for an individual which count, rather than "objective" dictionary denotations. For this reason you need to exercise great caution in comparing the grids of different people.
The number of constructs generated before the subject begins to repeat them can be revealing. 24—30 is about the norm. People with obsessional traits (“one-track minds”) may generate far fewer: schizophrenics far more. The tester can deliberately deal combinations of the cards to test hypotheses, or get the subject to rank all the items from one pole to another: the resulting scores are amenable to statistical processing to get at the major construct families. Or the tester can ask “why?” the subject has developed a construct: the resulting explanation gets at the “superordinate” constructs, which are hierarchically organised.
Role Construct Repertory Test Assessment evokes personal construct system Person’s understanding of personality emerges through making comparisons Comparison of triads to get hierarchy of constructs used for understanding and predicting behavior Personal construct theory gives one of the richest possible accounts of a person's cognitive processes, and has been developed as a tool in “conversational" models of learning. Kelly formally developed his theory through a series of corollaries , which can be broadly grouped into those concerned with the process of construing, the structure of personal knowledge, and the social embeddedness of our construing efforts. Kelly: "(The fundamental postulate) is ... elaborated by means of eleven corollaries. These, also, are assumptive in nature, and they lay the groundwork for most of what follows." (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 4/1991)
1-The construction corollary Kelly: "A person anticipates events by construing their replications" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 4/1991) 2- The individuality corollary Kelly: "Persons differ from each other in their construction of events" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 4/1991) 3-The organisation corollary Kelly: "Each person characteristically evolves for his convenience in anticipating events, a construction system embracing ordinal relationships between constructs" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991) 4-The dichotomy corollary Kelly: "A person's construction system is composed of a finite number of dichotomous constructs" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991)
6-The range corollary Kelly: "A construct is convenient for the anticipation of a finite range of events only" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991) 7- The experience corollary Kelly: "A person's construction system varies as he successively construes the replication of events" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991) 8-The modulation corollary Kelly: "The variation in a person's construction system is limited by the permeability of the constructs within whose ranges of convenience the variants lie" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991) 9-The fragmentation corollary Kelly: "A person may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems which are inferentially incompatible with each other" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991)
11-The sociality corollary Kelly: "To the extent that one person construes the construction processes of another he may play a role in a social process involving the other person" (1955/1991, Vol. 2, p. 5/1991) Personal Construct Theory or Constructivism: People construe or understand the world and construct own versions of reality-personal system of explaining human behaviors Each of us tries to understand the world and we do so in ways that are different A person’s processes are psychologically channeled by ways in which he anticipates events Every man is, in his own particular way, a scientist
Constructivism is first of all a theory of learning based on the idea that knowledge is constructed by the knower based on mental activity. Learners are considered to be active organisms seeking meaning. Constructivism is founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world consciously we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. Constructions of meaning may initially bear little relationship to reality (as in the naive theories of children), but will become increasing more complex, differentiated and realistic as time goes on.
Guiding principles of constructivism
1. The premisses of constructivism as epistemology are defined as follows: 2. Knowledge is constructed, not transmitted. 3. Prior knowledge impacts the learning process. 4. Initial understanding is local, not global. 5. Building useful knowledge structures requires effortful and purposeful activity.
How Constructivism Impacts Learning
Constructivist learning theory does not necessarily imply that one must follow a "constructivist" pedagogical strategy. In other words, most researches firmly believe that knowledge is constructed, but some (e.g. main stream instructional designers) do not adopt an instructional design that is labelled "constructivist". Typically, a constructivist teaching strategy is based on the belief that students learn best when they gain knowledge through exploration and active learning. Hands-on materials are used instead of textbooks, and students are encouraged to think and explain their reasoning instead of memorizing and reciting facts. Education is centered on themes and concepts and the connections between them, rather than isolated information.
Instruction : Under the theory of constructivism, educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students. Assessment : Constructivism calls for the elimination of grades and standardized testing. Instead, assessment becomes part of the learning process so that students play a larger role in judging their own progress.
Faces Of Constructivism
Dougiamas (1998) describes the major "faces of constructivism" separately. Each of these types of constructivism are "points of view", perspectives loosely defined by a collection of writings of particular individuals in each case. These sections represent popular labels in constructivist literature used as shorthand to indicate these different groups of ideas.
The simplest idea in constructivism, root of all the other shades of constructivism described below, is trivial constructivism(von Glasersfeld, 1990), or personal constructivism or cognitive constructivism. The principle has been credited to Jean Piaget, a pioneer of constructivist thought, and can be summed up by the following statement: Knowledge is actively constructed by the learner, not passively received from the environment
One of the most enduring aspects of Piaget’s work has been his emphasis on the constructive nature of the learning process.In contrast to more traditional views whish see learning as the accumulation of facts or the development of skills, the main assumption of constructivism is that individuals are actively involved right from birth in constructing personal meaning, that is their own prsonal understanding,from their experiences.In other words ,everyone makes their own sense of the world and the experiences that surround them.In this way the learner is brought into central focus in learning theory. Piaget himself was mainly interested in the way in which people came to know things as they developed from infancy to adulthood.Thus,his theory is one which is action based,more concerned with the process of learning than what is learned .It suggests that we “come to know “things as a direct result of our experiences,but that we make sense of those experiences at different stages of life.
Impact of Piaget
•Understanding unfolds in logical order •New cognitions build on older cognitions •Good teachers do not directly teach or reinforce-but guide learners to their own discoveries •Distinctive view of human nature As an advocate of Piaget’s ideas, Jerome Bruner’s theory leads to constructivist approaches to teaching especially by its strong support of discovery approaches. Learning through discovery requires the learner to construct information by discovering the relationships that exist among concepts and principles. Bruner advances some specific recommendations and observations that are especially important for the constructivist, discovery oriented classroom.
Radical constructivism adds a second principle to trivial constructivism (von Glasersfeld, 1990), which can be expressed as: Coming to know is a process of dynamic adaptation towards viable interpretations of experience. The knower does not necessarily construct knowledge of a "real" world. . Radical constructivism does not deny an objective reality, but simply states that we have no way of knowing what that reality might be. Mental constructs, constructed from past experience, help to impose order on one's flow of continuing experience. However, when they fail to work, because of external or internal constraints, thus causing a problem, the constructs change to try and accommodate the new experience. The emphasis here is still clearly on the individual learner as a constructor.
Neither trivial nor radical constructivism look closely at the extent to which the human environment affects learning: it is regarded as part of the total environment. These issues are focussed on in more detail by social, cultural and critical constructivism.
Social constructivism or Socio-Constructivism
The social world of a learner includes the people that directly affect that person, including teachers, friends, students, administrators, and participants in all forms of activity. Teaching strategies using social constructivism as a referent include teaching in contexts that might be personally meaningful to students, negotiating taken-as-shared meanings with students, class discussion, small-group collaboration, and valuing meaningful activity over correct answers (Wood et al, 1995).
Beyond the immediate social environment of a learning situation are the wider context of cultural influences, including custom, religion, biology, tools and language. For example, the format of books can affect learning, by promoting views about the organisation, accessibility and status of the information they contain. "[What we need] is a new conception of the mind, not as an individual information processor, but as a biological, developing system that exists equally well within an individual brain and in the tools, artefacts, and symbolic systems used to facilitate social and cultural interaction." (Vosniadou, 1996)
The tools that we use affect the way we think (by tools, language and other symbolic systems as well as physical tools are included). Salomon and Perkins, (1998) identify two effects of tools on the learning mind. Firstly, they redistribute the cognitive load of a task between people and the tool while being used. For example, a label can save long explanations, and using a telephone can change the nature of a conversation. Secondly, the use of a tool can affect the mind beyond actual use, by changing skills, perspectives and ways of representing the world. For example, computers carry an entire philosophy of knowledge construction, symbol manipulation, design and exploration, which, if used in schools, can subversively promote changes in curricula, assessment, and other changes in teaching and learning.
Critical constructivism looks at constructivism within a social and cultural environment, but adds a critical dimension aimed at reforming these environments in order to improve the success of constructivism applied as a referent. Jurgen Habermas to help make disempowering cultural myths more visible, and hence more open to question through conversation and critical selfreflection knowledge construction and serves as a referent for cultural reform. It confirms the relativism of radical constructivism, and also identifies the learner as being suspended in semiotic systems similar to those earlier identified in social and cultural constructivism. To these, critical constructivism adds a greater emphasis on the actions for change epistemology that addresses the socio-cultural context of Taylor (1996) describes critical constructivism as a social of a learning teacher. It is a framework using the critical theory of potentially.
Constructivist pedagogical theory
Constructivism is a way of thinking about knowing, a referent for building models of teaching, learning and curriculum (Tobin and Tippin, 1993). In this sense it is a learning philosophy and it may also become a teaching philosophy. Some common tenets Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning. Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts. In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models.
The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the "right" answers and regurgitate someone else's meaning. Since education is inherently interdisciplinary, the only valuable way to measure learning is to make the assessment part of the learning process, ensuring it provides students with information on the quality of their learning. Constructivism also can be used to indicate a theory of communication. When you send a message by saying something or providing information, and you have no knowledge of the receiver, then you have no idea as to what message was received, and you can not unambiguously interpret the response.
Viewed in this way, teaching becomes the establishment and maintenance of a language and a means of communication between the teacher and students, as well as between students. Simply presenting material, giving out problems, and accepting answers back is not a refined enough process of communication for efficient learning. Some of the tenets of constructivism in pedagogical terms: Students come to class with an established world-view, formed by years of prior experience and learning. Even as it evolves, a student's world-view filters all experiences and affects their interpretation of observations. For students to change their world-view requires work. Students learn from each other as well as the teacher. Students learn better by doing. Allowing and creating opportunities for all to have a voice promotes the construction of new ideas.
A constructivist perspective views learners as actively engaged in making meaning, and teaching with that approach looks for what students can analyse, investigate, collaborate, share, build and generate based on what they already know, rather than what facts, skills, and processes they can parrot. To do this effectively, a teacher needs to be a learner and a researcher, to strive for greater awareness of the environments and the participants in a given teaching situation in order to continually adjust their actions to engage students in learning, using constructivism as a referent.
Constructivist learning environments
Most educational technologists that adopt some kind of constructivist stance also believes in collaborative learning, construction and that learning is siutated. E.g. Jonassen and Land (2002) suggests three cornerstones for constructivist learning environments: •Context •Construction •Collaboration. This minimal set can be expanded, e.g. in Marcelo Milrad's (2002) Instructional design model for interactive learning environments (ILEs), we find the following elements and that can be enhanced with technology.
•Authentic activities: presenting authentic tasks that conceptualise rather than abstract information and provide real-world, case-based contexts, rather than pre-determined instructional sequences. •Construction: learners should be constructing artefacts and sharing them with their community; •Collaboration: to support collaborative construction of knowledge through social negotiation, as opposed to competition among learners for recognition; •Reflection: fostering reflective practice; •Situating the context: enables context and content dependent knowledge construction; and, •Multi-modal interaction: providing multiple representations of reality, representing the natural complexity of the real world.
Constructivist learning environments can be distinguished from behaviorist designs, but within distinctions may become quite subtle. As a more clearcut example we cite Hay and Barab's distinction of apprenticeship and constructionist learning environments: “ In the end, we believe the differences lie in whether the learning environment has a community-centered focus or a learner-centered one. Both environments share authenticity of practices and goals, ownership of the environment by the learners, and a focus on project outcomes rather than tests. Community-centered environments focus on imparting fixed community practices, and learners are engaged in activities with well-defined goals and subgoals. The definition of success, for the learner, is becoming a community member, and the mentors are invested both in learner development and the quality of the outcome.Learnercentered environments focus on learners' developing emergent skills, where goals are ill defined, where the success is the development of a high-quality product, and where mentors are facilitators, but do not have added investment in the quality of their product.” (Hay and Barab:318).