What experiences have you had with the theory of constructivism so far in your teacher education program? What do you know about constructivism based on that experience?
My experiences of learning within the theory of constructivism were very challenging at first. Perhaps because of my own learning experiences in institutions were based on transmission of knowledge and I was not challenged to share my own opinion as much. So in a way, it was simpler to get the marks as long as you memorize information. As long as you provide the answers teachers were asking for, you get your mark. However, I soon realized that it was not really good learning process after I experienced in the constructivism learning environment.
- Collaborative learning (group work) was very scary at first and did not do it well in a way that it should have worked. We just divided sections and each did individual portion, then put them together after. This wasn’t true collaboration. Then when the second year came, we started to have personal relationships with colleagues and learned each others’ strengths. And the collaborative learning process became much more meaningful. We discussed more in detail and thought about what the end result should be. Moreover, I learned many other strategies and tools that I would not used if I were to work alone.
(And here are some of great tools I continue to use for collaborative learning: Google Doc and Drive to write and share your document instantly, Twitter to share your thoughts and resources, also ask questions and get answers from community of professionals (#saskedchat), WordPress let us become co-authors.)
- Inquiry Learning: I feel like we have been doing inquiry learning about ourselves many times. It took me a while to get comfortable to share myself, vulnerable at times. However, the thing that made me better at this is reflective thinking process. We were asked to reflect upon our own values and beliefs in critical ways, how they were constructed and how it affected our learning. Furthermore, how it will transfer into our teaching styles. I had a break through with one of my writing in ECS210 and I know this piece gave me opportunity to become confident and stronger in person.
- Multiple intelligences: Many (not all unfortunately) of professors and instructors in Faculty have been honoring students diversity and allowing multiple interpretations and expressions of learning.
Although I was pushed expand my. learning to many directions in this teacher education program, I believe it have made me an engaged learner myself.
Is there anything missing that you feel would be important to add?
As third year program unfolded, the program focuses are now on curriculum, lesson plans and actual classroom management skills. And I do have a conflicting thoughts in my head: my ambition to have a student-centered classroom with the theory of constructivism but there is a necessity of traditional teaching, especially for younger students. I know from my experiences working with Kindergartners that they need structured environment and learn basic skills by repetition. I really think I have to find a good balance of both.