Are you a constructivist? Or are you a good questioner? Are they the same or different? Since we have learned about and launched the emergent curriculum, we can understand constructivism”. However, even though we may have understood “constructivism”, it is not easy to apply it in teaching. Because younger children can learn many things quickly, like a sponge absorbing water, and their ability to think is developing equally fast, EC educators need to inspire them to find questions. Even if we do not give them questions, children can develop their own questions. However, as an EC educator, I would also like to be a good questioner and help them to think and create their own ideas because asking a question is a fundamental part of education, like in Socratic teaching and questioning.
Thus, I believe that constructivist educators can bring a fresh approach to children and early childhood education, and a renaissance of early childhood education. First of all, according to the article, traditional education believes that a teacher pours knowledge into passive students. Basically, I do not deny this traditional understanding because sometimes we need to learn certain things, such as traditional performing arts. However, in the general education field, especially in early childhood education, I do not think that a teacher can deal with all children’s questions and interests through this traditional education method. One of the qualities of constructivists is being a good questioner.
For example, in my previous placement, a boy was very interested in transportation. He knew about many different kinds of transportation. Therefore, I asked him to tell me a story about trains and to draw pictures of his favorite transportation. He loved both of these activities. I believe that I was a good questioner and could help him develop his imagination and drawing skills by asking about his favorite things.
Furthermore, in the constructivist classroom, students often find answers or methods with their friends. In contrast, students in a traditional teaching class simply listen to a teacher and only remember an answer. In the constructivist classroom, they remember an approach because they do not need to remember the answer, only ways to find it. There is no right or wrong way for children to explore, and even if they do not find an answer to a question, they can surely find something new or different from each other. Collaboration is essential in constructivism because learning is not just individual, but also social.
Each student may have a different idea, and thus they can find a lot of ways to lead to solutions. In this process, children can learn to be cooperative and sociable, and these skills will be very important for the children’s future. However, there are some problems in the constructivist classroom. Everyone needs to be active to learn, but some students might be shy and do not like to speak in front of others. Since constructivism is not only for the major group but also for everyone, a teacher needs to find ways to help quieter or alternative idea children to have a voice.
Often, minority opinions are ignored, and these sorts of children become more hesitant to speak out loud. From my personal experience, I recognize that children would like a teacher to listen to them. Therefore, whenever I find children who do not feel comfortable speaking in public, I try to be with them and listen to them carefully. Also, I try to get them used to speaking in public little by little by breaking down a question. In Socratic teaching, teachers give questions to students, but they answer them. A teacher is not an authority but a helper in the constructivism classroom. However, a teacher should always be a model of a good inquirer.
In conclusion, I support constructivism because educators need to extend children’s possibilities as much as possible. We should be good questioners to model this skill and through questioning and searching for answers, we can let children collaborate with each other to enhance social development. It is also important not to forget about minority voices. Constructivist educators are not authority figures but helpers for children. It may not be easy to be a good constructivist, but we are all in the process!