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Summary: Constructivism as a paradigm or worldview posits that learning is an active, constructive process. The learner is an information constructor. People actively construct or create their own subjective representations of objective reality. New information is linked to to prior knowledge, thus mental representations are subjective. Originators and important contributors: Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner Keywords: Learning as experience, activity and dialogical process; Problem Based Learning (PBL); Anchored instruction; Vygotskys Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD); cognitive apprenticeship (scaffolding); inquiry and discovery learning. Constructivism A reaction to didactic approaches such as behaviorism and programmed instruction, constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation. NOTE: A common misunderstanding regarding constructivism is that instructors should never tell students anything directly but, instead, should always allow them to construct knowledge for themselves. This is actually confusing a theory of pedagogy (teaching) with a theory of knowing. Constructivism assumes that all knowledge is constructed from the learners previous knowledge, regardless of how one is taught. Thus, even listening to a lecture involves active attempts to construct new knowledge. Vygotskys social development theory is one of the foundations for constructivism.

Summary: The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the black box of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer). Originators and important contributors: Merrill -Component Display Theory (CDT), Reigeluth (Elaboration Theory), Gagne, Briggs, Wager, Bruner (moving toward cognitive constructivism), Schank (scripts), Scandura (structural learning) Keywords: Schema, schemata, information processing, symbol manipulation, information mapping, mental models Cognitivism The cognitivist revolution replaced behaviorism in 1960s as the dominant paradigm. Cognitivism focuses on the inner mental activities opening the black box of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn. Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problemsolving need to be explored. Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions. Learning is defined as change in a learners schemata. A response to behaviorism, people are not programmed animals that merely respond to environmental stimuli; people are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn, and whose actions are a consequence of thinking. Changes in behavior are observed, but only as an indication of what is occurring in the learners head. Cognitivism uses the metaphor of the mind as computer: information comes in, is being processed, and leads to certain outcomes.

Design-Based Research Methods (DBR)

Summary: Design-Based Research is a lens or set of analytical techniques that balances the positivist and interpretivist paradigms and attempts to bridge theory and practice in education. A blend of empirical educational research with the theory-driven design of learning environments, DBR is an important methodology for understanding how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice; DBR methods aim to uncover the relationships between educational theory, designed artefact, and practice. Originators: A. Brown (1992), A. Collins (1992), DBR Collective, and others Keywords: design experiments, iterative, interventionist, theory-building, theory-driven Design-Based Research Methods (DBR) In recent years, educators have been trying to narrow the chasm between research and practice. Part of the challenge is that research that is detached from practice may not account for the influence of contexts, the emergent and complex nature of outcomes, and the incompleteness of knowledge about which factors are relevant for prediction (DBRC, 2003). According to Collins et al. (2004), Design-based Research (also known as design experiments) intends to address several needs and issues central to the study of learning, including the following: The need to address theoretical questions about the nature of learning in context The need for approaches to the study of learning phenomena in the real world situations rather than the laboratory The need to go beyond narrow measures of learning. The need to derive research findings from formative evaluation. Characteristics of design-based research experiments include: addressing complex problems in real, authentic contexts in collaboration with practitioners applying integrating known and hypothetical design principles to render plausible solutions conducting rigorous and reflective inquiry to test and refine innovative learning environments intertwined goals of (1) designing learning environments and (2) developing theories of learning research and development through continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign research on designs that must lead to sharable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers research must account for how designs function in authentic settings development of such accounts relies on methods that can document and connect processes of enactment to outcomes of interest (DBRC, 2003). Design-based research vs. traditional evaluation The following excerpt highlights the difference between the goals and contributions of design-based research methods can offer and traditional evaluation: In traditional evaluation, an intervention (e.g. a textbook, an instructional program, a policy) is measured against a set of standards. During formative evaluation, iterative cycles of development, implementation, and study allow the designer to gather information about how an intervention is or is not succeeding in ways that might lead to better design. Then the intervention is frozen, and the rigorous summative evaluation begins.Like formative evaluation, design-based research uses mixed methods to analyze an interventions outcomes and refine the intervention. Unlike evaluation research, design-based research views a successful innovation as a joint product of the designed intervention and the context. Hence, design-based research goes beyond perfecting a particular product. The intention of design-based researchis to inquire more broadly into the nature of learning in a complex system and to refine generative or predictive theories of learning. Models of successful innovation can be generated through such work models, rather than particular artifacts or programs, are the goal. (DBRC, 2003). For more information, see: Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1). Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2(2): 141-178. Cobb, P., diSessa, A., Lehrer, R., Schauble, L. (2003). Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher, 32(1): 9-13.

Collins, A. (1992). Towards a design science of education. In E. Scanlon & T. OShea (Eds.), New directions in educational technology (pp. 15-22). Berlin: Springer. Design-Based Research Collective. (2003). Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1): 5-8.

Summary: Humanism is a paradigm/philosophy/pedagogical approach that believes learning is viewed as a personal act to fulfil ones potential. Key proponents: Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Malcolm Knowles Key terms: self-actualization, teacher as facilitator, affect Humanism Humanism, a paradigm that emerged in the 1960s, focuses on the human freedom, dignity, and potential. A central assumption of humanism, according to Huitt (2001), is that people act with intentionality and values. This is in contrast to the behaviorist notion of operant conditioning (which argues that all behavior is the result of the application of consequences) and the cognitive psychologist belief that the discovering knowledge or constructing meaning is central to learning. Humanists also believe that it is necessary to study the person as a whole, especially as an individual grows and develops over the lifespan. It follows that the study of the self, motivation, and goals are areas of particular interest. Key proponents of humanism include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. A primary purpose of humanism could be described as the development of self-actualized, automomous people. In humanism, learning is student centered and personalized, and the educators role is that of a facilitator. Affective and cognitive needs are key, and the goal is to develop self-actualized people in a cooperative, supportive environment. Related theories include: Experiential Learning (Kolb), Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, and Facilitation Theory (Rogers). For more information, see: DeCarvalho, R. (1991). The humanistic paradigm in education. The Humanistic Psychologist, 19(1), 88-104. Huitt, W. (2001). Humanism and open education. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved September 11, 2007, from the URL: Rogers, C., & Freiberg, H. J. (1994). Freedom to learn (3rd Ed.). New York: Macmillan.

What is constructivism? Constructivism is basically a theory -- based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know. In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure she understands the students' preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them.

Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become "expert learners." This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn HOW TO LEARN. You might look at it as a spiral. When they continuously reflect on their experiences, students find their ideas gaining in complexity and power, and they develop increasingly strong abilities to integrate new information. One of the teacher's main roles becomes to encourage this learning and reflection process. For example: Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics. Though the teacher knows the "answer" to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways. She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it, and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore. They design and perform relevant experiments. Afterward, the students and teacher talk about what they have learned, and how their observations and experiments helped (or did not help) them to better understand the concept. Contrary to criticisms by some (conservative/traditional) educators, constructivism does not dismiss the active role of the teacher or the value of expert knowledge. Constructivism modifies that role, so that teachers help students to construct knowledge rather than to reproduce a series of facts. The constructivist teacher provides tools such as problem-solving and inquiry-based learning activities with which students formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and pool and convey their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. Constructivism transforms the student from a passive recipient of information to an active participant in the learning process. Always guided by the teacher, students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting knowledge from the teacher or the textbook. Constructivism is also often misconstrued as a learning theory that compels students to "reinvent the wheel." In fact, constructivism taps into and triggers the student's innate curiosity about the world and how things work. Students do not reinvent the wheel but, rather, attempt to understand how it turns, how it functions. They become engaged by applying their existing knowledge and real-world experience, learning to hypothesize, testing their theories, and ultimately drawing conclusions from their findings. The best way for you to really understand what constructivism is and what it means in your classroom is by seeing examples of it at work, speaking with others about it, and trying it yourself. As you progress through each segment of this workshop, keep in mind questions or ideas to share with your colleagues.

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Constructivism Learning Theory

Constructivism learning theory is a philosophy which enhances students' logical and conceptual growth. The underlying concept within the constructivism learning theory is the role which experiences-or connections with the adjoining atmosphere-play in student education. The constructivism learning theory argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Two of the key concepts within the constructivism learning theory which create the construction of an individual's new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences. This causes the individual to develop new outlooks, rethink what were once misunderstandings, and evaluate what is important, ultimately altering their perceptions. Accommodation, on the other hand, is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes. The role of teachers is very important within the constructivism learning theory. Instead of giving a lecture the teachers in this theory function as facilitators whose role is to aid the student when it comes to their own understanding. This takes away focus from the teacher and lecture and puts it upon the student and their learning. The resources and lesson plans that must be initiated for this learning theory take a very different approach toward traditional learning as well. Instead of telling, the teacher must begin asking. Instead of answering questions that only align with their curriculum, the facilitator in this case must make it

so that the student comes to the conclusions on their own instead of being told. Also, teachers are continually in conversation with the students, creating the learning experience that is open to new directions depending upon the needs of the student as the learning progresses. Teachers following Piaget's theory of constructivism must challenge the student by making them effective critical thinkers and not being merely a "teacher" but also a mentor, a consultant, and a coach. Instead of having the students relying on someone else's information and accepting it as truth, the constructivism learning theory supports that students should be exposed to data, primary sources, and the ability to interact with other students so that they can learn from the incorporation of their experiences. The classroom experience should be an invitation for a myriad of different backgrounds and the learning experience which allows the different backgrounds to come together and observe and analyze information and ideas. The constructivism learning theory will allow children to, at an early age or a late age, develop the skills and confidence to analyze the world around them, create solutions or support for developing issues, and then justify their words and actions, while encouraging those around them to do the same and respecting the differences in opinions for the contributions that they can make to the whole of the situation. Classroom applications of constructivism support the philosophy of learning which build a students' and teachers' understanding.

Go Deeper Into Our Constructivism Learning Theory Categories Bruner's Theory Classroom Applications of Constructivis

Constructivist Learning Design by George W. Gagnon, Jr. and Michelle Collay

This paper represents a collaborative effort of two teacher educators to articulate a constructivist approach to "designing for learning" rather than planning for teaching. See our Constructivist Learning Design Notes for a simplified version. Ongoing collaborative research with teachers is presented in our Constructivist Learning Design Study. We believe this focus on learning is needed if teachers are to implement a constructive approach to thinking about day-to-day learning by the students. Conventional lesson planning focuses on what the teacher will do. If learning is teacher directed, then the focus of the lesson plan is on what the teacher does. When designing a learning experience for students, teachers focus on what students will do. Our language encourages teachers to focus on thinking about how to organize what learners will do rather than plan their teaching behaviors. Teachers and teacher educators make different meanings of constructivist learning theory. At a recent retreat with facilitators of learning communities for teachers who were studying in a Masters of Education program, we were talking about our common reading of The Case for Constructivist Classrooms (Brooks & Brooks, 1993). We asked the ten facilitators to answer this question, "What is constructivism?" The results were interesting because all of their definitions were quite different and reflected their own

understanding of the term and the text. This was a clear demonstration that what we read does not produce a single meaning but that understanding is constructed by the readers who bring prior knowledge and experience to the text and make their own meaning as they interact with the author's words. The following interpretation of constructivist learning reflects our understanding of and beliefs about constructivism.

Constructivist Learning
Constructivist learning has emerged as a prominent approach to teaching during this past decade. The work of Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, Bruner, and Vygotsky among others provide historical precedents for constructivist learning theory. Constructivism represents a paradigm shift from education based on behaviorism to education based on cognitive theory. Fosnot (1996) has provided a recent summary of these theories and describes constructivist teaching practice. Behaviorist epistemology focuses on intelligence, domains of objectives, levels of knowledge, and reinforcement. Constructivist epistemology assumes that learners construct their own knowledge on the basis of interaction with their environment. Four epistemological assumptions are at the heart of what we refer to as "constructivist learning." 1. Knowledge is physically constructed by learners who are involved in active learning. 2. Knowledge is symbolically constructed by learners who are making their own representations of action; 3. Knowledge is socially constructed by learners who convey their meaning making to others; 4. Knowledge is theoretically constructed by learners who try to explain things they don't completely understand. With these common assumptions, teacher planning according to the Tyler or Hunter models is no longer adequate. Research indicates that few classroom teachers plan using these models anyway (MorineDershimer, 1979; Zahorik, 1975) and usually because of administrative pressure if they do (McCutcheon, 1982) However, few approaches are available for working with prospective teachers or new teachers to organize for learning. Simon (1995) and Steffe & Ambrosio (1995) describe their processes of planning for constructivist learning and constructivist teaching respectively, but these methods are complex and represent the thinking of experienced teachers. We are proposing a new approach for planning using a "Constructivist Learning Design" that honors the common assumptions of constructivism and focuses on the development of situations as a way of thinking about the constructive activities of the learner rather than the demonstrative behavior of the teacher. Most conventional teacher planning models are based on verbal explanations or visual demonstrations of a procedure or skill by the teacher which are then combined with practice of this method or skill by the student. Much of this approach seems consistent with the description of classroom

activities reported in a major research study titled A place called school conducted ten years ago by Goodlad (1984). He found that most of the time, most of the teachers talk to the kids. Students explained that physical education, fine arts, or industrial arts were their most interesting classes because they actually got to do something. They were active participants in learning rather than passive recipients of information. This is the primary message of constructivism; students who are engaged in active learning are making their own meaning and constructing their own knowledge in the process.

Constructivist Learning Design

The "Constructive Learning Design" we are using now has been through a variety of revisions in the past seven years and now emphasizes these six important elements: Situation, Groupings, Bridge, Questions, Exhibit, and Reflections. These elements are designed to provoke teacher planning and reflection about the process of student learning. Teachers develop the situation for students to explain, select a process for groupings of materials and students, build a bridge between what students already know and what they want them to learn, anticipate questions to ask and answer without giving away an explanation, encourage students to exhibit a record of their thinking by sharing it with others, and solicit students' reflections about their learning. We now longer refer to objectives, outcomes, or results since we expect that teachers have that determined by the district curriculum or the textbook they are using in their classroom and need to think more about accomplishing it than about writing it again. This brief overview above indicates how each of these six elements integrate and work as a whole, but all need further explanation: 1. Situation: What situation are you going to arrange for students to explain? Give this situation a title and describe a process of solving problems, answering questions, creating metaphors, making decisions, drawing conclusions, or setting goals. This situation should include what you expect the students to do and how students will make their own meaning. 2. Groupings: There are two categories of groupings: A. How are you going to make groupings of students; as a whole class, individuals, in collaborative thinking teams of two, three, four, five, six or more, and what process will you use to group them; counting off, chosing a color or piece of fruit, or similar clothing? This depends upon the

situation you design and the materials you have available to you. B. How are you going to arrange groupings of materials that students will use to explain the situation by physical modeling, graphically representing, numerically describing, or individually writing about their collective experience. How many sets of materials you have will often determine the numbers of student groups you will form. 3. Bridge: This is an initial activity intended to determine students' prior knowledge and to build a "bridge" between what they already know and what they might learn by explaining the situation. This might involve such things as giving them a simple problem to solve, having a whole class discussion, playing a game, or making lists. Sometimes this is best done before students are in groups and sometimes after they are grouped. You need to think about what is appropriate. 4. Questions: Questions could take place during each element of the Learning Design. What guiding questions will you use to introduce the situation, to arrange the groupings, to set up the bridge, to keep active learning going, to prompt exhibits, and to encourage reflections? You also need to anticipate questions from students and frame other questions to encourage them to explain their thinking and to support them in continuing to think for themselves. 5. Exhibit: This involves having students make an exhibit for others of whatever record they made to record their thinking as they were explaining the situation. This could include writing a description on cards and giving a verbal presentation, making a graph, chart, or other visual representation, acting out or role playing their impressions, constructing a physical representation with models, and making a video tape, photographs, or audio tape for display. 6. Reflections: These are the students' reflections of what they thought about while explaining the situation and then saw the exhibits from others. They would include what students remember from their thought process about feelings in their spirit, images in their imagination, and languages in their internal dialogue. What attitudes, skills, and concepts will students take out the door? What did students learn today that they won't forget tomorrow? What did they know before; what did they want to know; and what did they learn?

Educational Precedents

Each of these six elements of our constructivist learning design has educational precedents. The following overview provides brief references to theoretical ancestors which support including these elements in organizing for learning: 1. Situations : The work of Duckworth (1987) describes situations to engage students in having their own wonderful ideas about science, Steffe and Ambrosio (1995) use situations for students to explain in math, and Fosnot (1996) provides similar examples from writing and art. 2. Groupings: Schmuck and Schmuck (1988) introduced group process dynamics to classrooms, and heterogeneous groupings are common to the cooperative learning work of Johnson and Johnson (1975) or Slavin (1980a). The materials category is often included in lesson plans. 3. Bridge: This has some grounding in the set induction described by Gagne (1970), the anticipatory set of Madeline Hunter (1982) and the advanced organizer of Ausubel (1978). 4. Questions: There is precedence in Bloom's (1956) taxonomy of educational objectives in the cognitive domain which led to higher level thinking questions, Sanders' (1966) work on kinds of classroom questions, and Flanders' (1970) work describing classroom questioning strategies. 5. Exhibit: The work of Theodore Sizer (1973) and the coalition for essential schools includes an exhibition as part of the learning process. The passages of the Jefferson County Open School in Colorado and the validations of the St. Paul Open School in Minnesota put into practice authentic assessment approaches from a variety of sources including Wiggins (1995). Documentation from Engel (1994), portfolios from Carini (1986), and alternative assessment from the North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation led by Perrone (1988) encouraged teachers to move from testing memorization of information to demonstration of student learning. 6. Reflections: We see earlier work in Hunter's (1982) description of "transfer," the work of Schon (1987) about reflective practice of teachers, which also applies to student learning, reflection about learning through journaling as described by Cooper (1991), and Brookfield's (1986) work on critical reflection. These precedents provide a theoretical framework for a constructivist learning design.

Assessment becomes an integral part of every step in this learning design. Teachers design the situation based on their assessment of students' learning approaches, interests, and needs. Teachers design a process for groupings based on their assessment of materials of available and desired mixture of students. Teachers design a simple assessment of what students already know as a bridge to what they want students to learn. Teachers design questions to assess student understanding of the concepts, skills, or attitudes they are trying to learn. Teachers arrange an exhibit for students to record what they thought and submit it to others for assessment. Teachers arrange for reflections about what students' have learned and their internal process of representations as a context for selfassessment of individual learning.

The planning approach we are proposing is based on actively engaging students in situations that involve collaboratively considering their own explanations for phenomena, resolutions to problems, or formulation of questions. Students are asked to actively construct their own knowledge by making meaning out of the situation by themselves with support and guidance from the teacher. Teachers organize the situation and then provide encouragement and questions to groups of students who are trying to construct and to display their own explanations. For example, composition teachers might ask students to construct the simplest sentences and compare structures, literature teachers might ask students to explain the motives of a character, social studies teachers might ask students to assume the roles of two adversaries in a meeting, science teachers might demonstrate a phenomenon and ask students to explain what was observed, math teachers might ask students to find examples of sloping lines in the world around them and then introduce grids to determine equations, language teachers might engage students in conversational immersion without resorting to English translations, art teachers might ask students to transform clay with their hands without looking at it, music teachers might ask students to identify rhythms in a piece of music using their own annotations. The constructivist approach can be adapted to any subject area or curriculum by involving students as active participants in making meaning instead of

passive recipients of information given to them by the teacher. This approach can be incorporated into 45 or 50 minute class periods to teach a particular concept, skill, or attitude. When referring to student learning we deliberately use the phrase "concepts, skills, and attitudes" to convey different dimensions of knowledge. The accepted educational language described by current NCATE accreditation standards is "knowledge, skills, and attitudes." This implies that skills and attitudes are something different than knowledge or that knowledge is merely a collection of facts or information. Perhaps some of the confusion derives from Bloom's (1956) taxonomy of objectives starting with knowledge and proceeding through comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Again, this language is accepted as a standard in the education curriculum. Bloom later classified objectives in the affective domain and the psychomotor domain as well as in the cognitive domain. This left us with the legacy of knowledge as separate from what we can do with it or how we feel about it. We would argue that what Bloom has labeled knowledge is really information and that the other levels are different ways that learners construct knowledge for themselves and may not be discreet and hierarchical as Bloom suggests. However, these classifications can serve as an important guidelines for moving beyond recitation of information as the goal of education. We contend that an understanding of education should begin with epistemology rather than relegating it to the province of philosophy as an academic pursuit. Constructivist learning implies an initial concern with what knowledge is and how knowledge is actively constructed by the learner. Advocates of constructivism agree that acquiring knowledge or knowing is an active process of constructing understanding rather than the passive receipt of information.

Ausubel, D. (1978). In defense of advance organizers: A reply to the critics. Review of Educational Research, 48, 251-259. Bloom, Benjamin. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay. Brooks, Jacqueline Grennon and Brooks, Martin G. (1993). The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD Brookfield, Stephen. (1986) Understanding and facilitating adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Bruner, Jerome. (1986) Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Carini, Patricia. (1986) Building from children's strengths. Journal of Education, 168(3), 13-24. Cooper, Joanne. (1991) Telling our own stories: The reading and writing of journals or diaries. In Stories Lives Tell, (eds. Witherell, C. & Noddings, N.) New York: Teachers College Press.

Dewey, John (1964) John Dewey on education: Selected writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Duckworth, Eleanor. (1987) The having of wonderful ideas. New York: Teachers College Press. Engel, Brenda. (1994) Portfolio assessment and the new paradigm: New instruments and new places. The Educational Forum, 59 (Fall, 94) 22-27. Flanders, N. (1970) Analyzing teacher behavior. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Fosnot, Catherine. (1996) Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Gagne, Robert. (1970) The conditions of learning. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. . Goodlad, John. (1984). A place called school. New York: McGraw-Hill. Hunter, Madeline. (1982) Mastery Learning. El Segundo, CA: TIP Publications. Johnson, David and Johnson, Roger. (1975) Learning together and alone. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. McCutcheon, G. (1982). How do elementary teachers plan? The nature of planning and influences on it. In W. Doyle & T. Good (Eds.), Focus on teaching (pp. 260-279). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Montessori, Maria. (1965) Dr. Montessori's own handbook. New York: Schocken Books. (Original work published in 1914) Morine-Dershimer, G. (1979). Teacher plans and classroom reality: The South Bay study: Part 4 (Research Series No. 60). East Lansing: Michigan State University Institute for Research on Teaching. Perrone, Vito. (1988). Alternative assessment. Alexandria, VA: ASCD Piaget, Jean. (1977) Equilibration of cognitive structures. New York: Viking Press. Sanders, Norris. (1966). Classroom questions: what kinds?. New York: Harper & Row. Schmuck, Richard. & Schmuck, Pat. (1988) Group processes in the classroom. Dubuque, IA: W. C. Brown. Schon, David. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Simon, Martin A. (1995) Reconstructing mathematics pedagogy from a constructivist perspective. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 26, 114-145. Sizer, Theodore. (1992) Horace's school: redesigning the American high school. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Slavin, R. E. (1980a). Cooperative Learning. Review of educational research, 50, 317-343. Steffe, Leslie P. & and D'Ambrosio, Beatriz S. (1995). Toward a working model of constructivist teaching: A reaction to Simon. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 26, 146-159. Steffe Leslie P. & Gale J. (Eds.) (1995). Constructivism in education. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

von Glasserfield, E. (1995). A constructivist approach to teaching. In L. Steffe & J. Gale (Eds.), Constructivism in education (pp. 3-16). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Vygotsky, Lev. (1986) Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (Original work published in 1962) Wiggens, Grant. (1995) Curricular coherence and assessment: Making sure that the effect matches the intent. ASCD Yearbook 1995, 101-119. Zahorik, J. (1975). Teachers' planning models. Educational Leadership, 33( ), 134-139. For a simplified version of our Constructivist Learning Design follow this link: Constructivist Learning Design Notes For a description of our Constructivist Learning Design research follow this link: Constructivist Learning Design Study

Definition Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world 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. Discussion There are several guiding principles of constructivism:

1. Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the right answers and regurgitate someone elses 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.

How Constructivism Impacts Learning CurriculumConstructivism calls for the elimination of a standardized curriculum. Instead, it promotes using curricula customized to the students prior knowledge. Also, it emphasizes hands-on problem solving. InstructionUnder 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. AssessmentConstructivism 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.