Constructivism Video Analysis

Constructivist Teaching in Action: A High School Classroom Debate (Links to an external site.)

Click on the video link above.  After watching the video, respond to the prompt below by the due date.  You will also be responsible for participating in two threads other than your own by responding to the posts of two other participants.

Discussion Prompt:   Identify elements of the constructivist approach to instruction illustrated in the lesson.  Please address elements of constructivist philosophy, as well as specific aspects related to students, curriculum, and instruction.  

reply 1:

In the video, the students were instructed to answer different questions in their group to then come up with one argument. Once they’ve discussed it with their group members, they were able to come back together as a class and talk about it more. The teacher allowed the students to talk to each other and help each by having them work in groups. The teacher was also activity involved because after they discussed with their group they came back together as a class.  The students were given the opportunity to use their own thoughts and understanding to answer and debate these different questions. The class was actively involved in learning because they were able to discuss their thoughts and able to compare it to other classmates. One of the questions that the students was asked was to find the main idea. This is an open-ended question so that allowed students to voice their opinions on what could be the answer. And it also allowed them to explain using their experiences and knowledge on why their answer is correct.

reply 2:

Many elements of constructivist philosophy were demonstrated in this video. The teacher clearly used group work to promote interaction, and she used open-ended discussions. All students were put in cognitively active roles. As the students debated, she was able to evaluate their grasp of understanding. 

The teacher gave clear directions, such as time limit, and she asked open-ended questions that caused each team to carefully evaluate the material she’d previously taught, and to form a cohesive answer.  She stated that her goals in this exercise was 1.) for students to have a clear grasp of the topic being taught, and 2.) for her to see what type of mastery they possessed.  She is very active in teaching the class, but the majority of the class time was provided to the students’ discussions.

As the students physically moved their desks together into something like a ‘huddle,’ their ’embodied cognition’ was enhanced. The students seemed to be very positive in their interactions with each other, and eager to participate.

The teacher had to provide sources from which their information was gathered, or they would go “awry” and misconceptions could be reinforced.  The use of the debate was an effective tool in helping students discuss not only the facts being taught, but also the cause and effect of those facts, and how to defend a particular point. 

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