A Better Classroom with Constructivism

Are you teaching your students in the way they learn best? If you aren’t using Constructivism then the answer is no!!!

In their article 2001 “The Many Forms of Constructivism”, Purdue professors George Bodner and Micheal Klobuchar discuss the idea of Constructivism and the varying types of Constructivism

What is Constructivism?

  • Educational theory about how people learn
  • People construct knowledge through past experiences
  • Add to and correct prior knowledge
  • Active way of learning
Which do you think is an example of Constructivism?

One of these teaching methods is easier for the teacher. But the other is much more beneficial for the student! Which do you think is best?

Types of Constructivism

  • Traditional Constructivism– Schema are formed from an early age and then adapted as new knowledge is constructed
  • Personal Constructivism– The construction of knowledge is done by individuals to meet their owns needs
  • Radical Constructivism– Knowledge is not passive, the goal of cognition is to organize our experiences in the world and make then meaningful
  • Social Constructivism– Social effects and language may modify the knowledge constructed by an individual
  • Critical Constructivism– Teaching and learning are socially constructed
  • Contextual Constructivism– Culture has an effect on the development and organization of an individual’s thoughts

Important Things to Consider

  • Students have a wealth of previous knowledge that will be essential to their learning
  • Not all students have common previous knowledge
  • Students may have different previous knowledge then you have/had
  • Not all previous knowledge will be strictly academic related, but it ALL can be applied in the classroom

Examples of Constructivism in the Classroom

Constructivism in the classroom can truly enrich students learning and provide them with a more interesting learning environment.

  • Allow students to demonstrate their understanding of motion through a project about their favorite sport
  • Provide photographs at the beginning of a lesson and have a discuss about them with students
  • Relate your lesson to pop culture
  • Get to know your students interests and allow them to use these as basis for research and projects
  • Give students open ended problems to solve using their prior knowledge of similar situations
Create comparison between traditional teaching and constructivism, with examples of constructivism as well.

Works Cited:

J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 8, 1107. Publication Date:August 1, 2001 https://doi.org/10.1021/ed078p1107.4


  1. Hi Natalie! I really enjoyed reading your post! I love your use of visuals, especially the first picture comparing the two different teaching methods. They were very informative and added to the message you were conveying. I found the video you used to be very interesting. The video talked about come criticisms of constructivism. Do you agree with these criticisms and do you think that constructivism needs to be “balanced” in some way as the video suggests?

    • I think that there are definitely some aspects that may make constructivism more difficult to teach, especially in a science classroom. Some topics are very difficult to teach this way because students have extremely little to no previous knowledge on them. Difficulties may also arise when there are many different cultural knowledge bases in your class. You cannot assume that all of your students have the same previous knowledge. However, all teaching methods have their flaws. I think if used properly constructivism can be the best way to teach, despite its more challenging aspects.

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