Deconstructing Constructivism: A Widely Misunderstood and Misapplied Theory of Learning

And… here’s, last but not least, number 3 of our pingback marathon. Enjoy!

Teaching Blog

When I completed my teacher licensure coursework only a few years back, I would have characterized myself as a die-hard believer in John Dewey, Alfie Kohn, flexible seating and student-centered learning.  I believed children learned best by doing, that teacher-talk should be limited in a “readers/writers/math workshop,” and that group work and personalized technology were the future of education.

I didn’t realize it at the time – probably because my teaching philosophy was identical to much of my cohort – but I was unwittingly indoctrinated in the educational progressive’s interpretation of constructivism. I assumed what I was being taught in teacher training was best practice, until I started reading books that were not on any of my syllabi. 

I was able to gain some perspective and insight into the history of this philosophy of teaching after reading Education is Upside-Down by Eric Kalenze. In his book, Kalenze traces the…

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One thought on “Deconstructing Constructivism: A Widely Misunderstood and Misapplied Theory of Learning

  1. Alice in PA says:

    There are so many misconceptions about constructivism. As a classroom physics teacher originally educated as an engineer, and a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction, I see regularly the misinterpretations presented to teachers by admin who, in turn, have been sold a bill of goods by publishers and PD consultants. In all of these cases, the underlying theory of learning is not driving the suggested pedagogy. Rather a weak watered down interpretation is used to push ideas like giving students free choice in their learning topics and activities.
    Teachers and admin need a sharp focus on how students learn both from a social constructivist and a neurological standpoint rather than a bag of poorly researched tricks that will be poorly implemented. Let’s start from the fundamental principles and them teachers can adjust their classroom activities to better help students learn.


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