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Constructivist Theory
About the Originator
 Jerome Seymour Bruner was born
in New York City on October 1st
1915 to Polish immigrants.
 Formerly blind.
 Received his first B.A degree from
Duke University (1937), then his Ph.
D. from Harvard (1947)
 A leading educational and cognitive
psychologist and one of the founder
of constructivism.
 He is 94 years old.
About the Theory
 Constructivist theory places emphasis on the development of
self-learning (student-centred).

 Learners are equipped with prior knowledge and understanding

to construct meaning of what they learn.

 Bruner developed 3 stages of representation. They are

enactive, iconic, and symbolic.

 Teachers act as facilitators as well as encourager to students in

order for them to be actively involved in their learning.
Principles of the theory:

 Learning begins with issues or ideas that let the

learners to do active thinking.

 Focused on primary concepts as a whole, not in


 Teachers must understand learners’ mental models

that they use to perceive the world and assumptions
that support them.

 The purpose is for learner to construct meaning.

 Promotes students’  Confusions may occur
active involvement in if there is no initial
their own learning. framework given.
 Promotes motivation  Cognitive overload.
and responsibility.  Inefficient and time-
 Encourages creativity consuming.
and problem-solving  Misconceptions.
skills.  Problem in trying to
 Relevance of real life. detect the root of those
 Fosters curiosity. misconceptions.
 A tailored learning  Frustration.
Applications in Educational
3 key principles of instructions:

 Readiness: must concern with learners’ experiences

that will enable them to willingly learn.

 Spiral organization: must be structured so that

learners grasp the idea easily.

 Going beyond the information given: designed to

facilitate extrapolation.
 Learners work best in groups.

 Examples of the applications of constructivism in

classroom activities:

 Classroom discussions: Learners sit in groups,

discuss together about a particular topic and reach an
understanding towards it.
 Research: Conduct a research and share findings.
 Field trips: Allows learners to put the concepts and
ideas discussed in class in the context of real world.
 Experimentations: Performing experiments.
 Visuals: Using visual items to transform perceptions
into meaning.
 Also useful in online educational settings.
(Educational websites, forums and blogs)

 Alexandria and Larson (2002) listed 10 events, divided in 4 categories, which

provide the framework of how constructivism can be applied in educational

 Investigation: 1) Contextualize (explain the project’s process)

2) Clarifying (learners discuss about the project)
3) Inquiring (acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to complete
the project.)

 Invention and Initial Implementation:

4) Planning (develop initial plans)
5) Realizing (first draft that will meet the criteria for the project)
 Further implementation and Evaluation:
6) Testing (check whether what is planned is working)
7) Modifying (rework if there is modification)
8) Interpreting (relate value with background experiences)
9) Reflecting (put their evaluations in a larger context)

 Celebration: 10) Celebration (Learners present their completed


Constructivist assessments strategies:

 Mind mapping (create a list of categorised concepts)
 Hands-on activities (teachers use checklist etc. to
evaluate learners’ success. Learners try doing things)
 Pre-testing (teachers access what learners bring to
 Oral discussions (a topic is brought upon for an open