The authors of this book show how teachers who take a social constructivist stance may enhance motivation and meaningful learning. They suggest experiences that deepen understanding of social constructivism and its relevance for multicultural, democratic classrooms.
The book illustrates the power of this theory by suggesting two experiential avenues for preservice and inservice teachers. In the first, readers have in-depth conversations with children and analyze transcripts of the conversations in order to better understand the children's individual thought processes.
In the second, the authors describe strategies for discussing carefully selected children's and young adult books to help both teachers and children understand learning through a social constructivist lens. An extensive annotated bibliography is provided.
Geared toward teachers at all levels, this book takes an interactive approach that includes discussion questions and case studies. Ideal for teacher education courses, professional development workshops, or independent use, this book offers a rare means for grappling with the transformative power of social constructivism in practice.
- Goal 1: Understanding Social Constructivism as a Basis for Meaningful Learning and Intrinsic Motivation
- Goal 2: Accessing Students' Thinking and Deepening Understanding of Social Constructivism
- Goal 3: Envisioning Classroom Practices That Flow From a Social Constructivist Stance
- Goal 4: Considering Possibilities and Challenges of Seeing Learning Through Students' Eyes
- Appendix A: Sample Consent Form for Children's Thinking Project
- Appendix B: Children's Thinking Project Review Form
- Appendix C: An Annotated Bibliography: Books for Children and Young Adults
About the Authors
Given the current emphasis on state standards, the idea that children construct rather than absorb knowledge may be overlooked. This brief volume functions as a useful handbook presenting the principles and implementations of the theory of the social construction of knowledge.
Aimed at practitioners, the book shows teachers how to assess children's understanding of subjects using a variety of techniques, including discussions of children's literature. Building on the children's concepts, teachers can then help children refine and deepen their knowledge. With their different perspectives as two teacher-educators, a principal, and a classroom, teacher, the authors structure their points around questions, engaging readers in the same process they wish teachers to use with children. Their use of classroom experiences situates theory in the concrete reality of day-to day teaching.
Reports from teachers and student teachers demonstrate the impact of this theoretical approach on both teachers and children. The material is well organized and clearly presented. Each chapter has a list of related readings. The appendixes include an annotated bibliography of children's books around curricular themes, a glossary, and some forms for assessing children's thinking. Highly recommended for preservice and in-service teachers.
—CHOICE, May 2000, Vol. 37, No. 9