What is constructivism?
Constructivism is a philosophy of learning that "refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves---each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning---as he or she learns (Hein, 1991, p.1). In other words, "students construct their own knowledge based on their existing schemata and beliefs"(Airasian & Walsh, 1997, p.1) Constructivists deny the existence of one "true" body of knowledge that exists independently of the
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These methods include "time for ‘experiencing’; for ‘intuitive learning’; for learning by listening; for practice; and for conscious, reflective thinking"(Clements, 1997, p.1). All of these activities may not require a physical or verbal interaction between the instructor and learner and/or the learner and the community of learners, but all of these activities do require the learner to be actively reflecting on the information being shared. Instructors must provide learning opportunities that are hands-on as well as opportunities of learning that engage the learners’ minds as well.
A second myth or misunderstanding is that "memorization and rote learning [are] useless" (Hein, 1991, p.3). Quite simply, there is certain knowledge that can not be received by the learner any other way. The instructor must be aware that "the right balance between the activities of constructing and receiving knowledge" is attained (Hein, 1991, p.3).
A third misconception about constructivism is that "learners are lonely voyagers"(Clements, 1997, p.2). "Students do not construct knowledge alone, even though each has to modify his or her own ways of