CONSTRUCTIVISM:A NEW PARADIGM FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS Dr.Anjali Gautam S.
D(P.G)College Ghaziabad The progress ofany country depends upon the quality of education offered and its practices.Indian Education system of was well known for its Gurukul system of Educationin Vedic age. Education in Indiahas undergone various phases and stages of development (AnjaliKhirwadkar).Nowadays global upsurge for explosion of knowledge, expectationsand aspirations of teachers, parents as well as students have led to theexploration of new teaching methods. These alternatives include self-learning,question-answer, and use of teaching aids, discussions, project method, andheuristic etc.
Educational institutions of the country have continuouslyendeavored to use the latest technologies to support the process of education.Here the role of teacher educator is of prime importance for effectiveimplementation of all new techniques. It is well recognized that overallquality of education mainly depends upon the quality of teachers .Soundprogramme of professional preparation of teachers is essential for impartingquality education.CONSTRUCTIVISM: – The National Curriculum Framework 2005,recommends a paradigm shift from rote memory to learning by understanding. Itsuggests that curriculum should help students to develop their own thinking andideas through experience, action and reflection.
School should facilitate theprocess of knowledge construction and help them to become independent thinkerscapable of solving their everyday problems.(Santosh Sharma) Current schoolimprovement programmes are embedded inthe philosophy of constructivism.(Kuldeep Singh).
The constructivist approach tolearning is based on some common assumptions of constructivism(Driscoll1994).A) Complex, challenging learning environment and authentic tasks; B) learningthrough social negotiation and shared responsibility: C) multiplerepresentation of the content; D) understanding that knowledge is constructed,and E) student centered instruction. Collins (1991) held that students benefitfrom constructivist approach such as experiential learning because: A) theylearn to apply knowledge; B) the learning environment fosters invention and creativity;C) they see the implications of knowledge and D) they learn that knowledge isorganized for appropriate uses in context.
A basic premise of constructivism isthat individuals live in their own world of personal and subjective,experiences. The role of teacher therefore undergoes a major transformationfrom the imparter of knowledge to facilitator of conditions which will helplearner in the process of knowledge construction (Saroj Pandey).CONSTRUCTIVIST TEACHER According to thesocial constructivist approach, instructor has to adopt the role offacilitators and not teachers. Where a teacher gives subject matter, a facilitatorhelps the learner to get to his or her own understanding of subject matter. Inthe former learner plays a passive role and in the later learner plays anactive role in the learning process. The emphasis thus turns away from theinstructor and the content, and towards the learner. This dramatic change ofrole implies that a facilitator needs to display a totally different set ofskills than a teacher (Brownstein 2001).
A teacher tells, facilitator asks; ateacher lectures from the front, a facilitator supports from the back; ateacher gives answer according to a set curriculum, a facilitator providesguidelines and creates the environmentfor the learner to arrive at his or her own conclusions; a teacher mostly givesa monologue, a facilitator is in continuous dialogue with the learners.According to Santosh Sharma aconstructivist teacher;- Is leader of democratic learning group. accepts students autonomy and initiative tailoring teaching strategies to permit students responses. encourages students to analyze, interpret and predict. ask open ended questions. use raw data as primary sources and interactive material TRAINING TEACHERS FOR ADOPTING CONSTRUCTIVISMConstructivism is a descriptivetheory of learning and not a formula for teaching.
When a constructivistteacher preparation programme is developed certain basic principles arefollowed (Dr. Ronald & Bonnstetter). These include: -1. establishing an inclusive democratic environment oftrust and mutual respect.2.
utilizing student’s background knowledge andexperience.3. building a curriculum directed at content-pedagogicalknowledge in a context of doing “real work”.4. developing a climate of sharing thus a community oflearner.5. producing an understanding that all knowledge is partial and positional.
6. negotiating an assessment protocol that rewards anintrinsic motivation and is both performance based and authentic.7. creating an educational program that is not onlyinformational but also transformational by exposing and reflecting on beliefs.8. shaping in a climate where questions reflecting onexperience becomes a professional way oflife.
For trainingteachers for practicing constructivism teacher educators should take the initiative. They should developconstructivist and inclusive environment in their own classrooms and becomerole model for future teachers. Ultimate responsibility is of teachereducators.Constructivistteacher education generally reflects two major traditions–the developmentaland social reconstructions traditions (Canella & Reiff, 1994). Programsinfluenced by the developmental tradition attempt to teach students how toteach in a constructivist, generally Piagetian, manner.
They are typicallycharacterized by substantial direct instruction in theory and practice, oftenwithout complementary opportunities for inquiry, discovery, orself-examination. This approach can easily become overly prescriptive. If thisoccurs, the teacher educator models an approach to teaching that is essentiallyantithetical to the approach students are intended to employ in their futureclassrooms (Oldfather, Bonds, & Bray, 1994).