Are you a constructivist? Or, are you a good questioner? Are theythe same or different? Since we have learned about and launched theemergent curriculum, we can understand about “constructivism”. However,even though we may have understood “constructivism”, it is not easy toapply it in teaching. Because younger children can learn many thingsquickly like a sponge absorbing water and their ability to think isdeveloping equally fast, EC educators need to inspire them to findquestions. Even if we do not give them questions, children can developtheir own questions. However, as an EC educator, I would like to be also agood questioner and would like to help them to think and create their ownideas because asking a question is a fundamental of education like in theSocratic teaching and questioning.
Thus, I believe that constructivisteducators can bring a fresh approach to children and EC education, and arenaissance of EC education. First of all, according to the article, traditional educationbelieves that a teacher pours knowledge into passive students. Basically Ido not deny this traditional understanding, because sometimes we need tolearn certain things, such as traditional (performing) arts. However, inthe general education field, especially in EC education, I do not thinkthat a teacher can deal with all children’s questions and interests throughthis traditional education method. One of the qualities of constructivistsis being a good questioner.
For example, in my previous placement, a boywas very interested in transportation. He knew about many different kindsof transportation. Therefore, I asked him to tell me a story of trains andto draw me pictures of his favourite transportation. He loved both theseactivities. I believe that I was a good questioner and could help himdeveloping his imagination and drawing skill through asking his favouritethings.
Furthermore, in the constructivist classroom, students often canfind answers or methods with their friends while in contrast students in atraditional teaching class just listen to a teacher. In the latter theyremember an answer but in the former they remember an approach because theconstructivist does not need to remember the answer only ways to find ananswer. There is no right or wrong way in the children’s exploring and evenif they do not find an answer to a question, but they surly can findsomething new or different from each other. Collaboration is one of theessentials in constructivism because learning is not just individual butalso social.
Each student may have a different idea and thus they can finda lot of ways to lead to solutions. In this process children can learn tobe cooperative and sociable and these skills will be very important for thechildren’s future. There are some problems such as in the constructivist classroomeveryone needs to be active to learn. However, some students might be shyand do not like to speak in front of others. Since the constructivism isnot only for major group but also for everyone, a teacher needs to find howto help the quieter or alternative idea child to have a voice.
Oftenminority opinions are ignored and these sorts of children will become morehesitant to speak out loud. From my personal experience, I recognize thatchildren would like a teacher to listen to them. Therefore, whenever I findchildren who do not feel comfortable with speaking in public, I try to bewith them and listen to them carefully. Also I try to get them used tospeaking in public little by little by asking and breaking down a question. In Socratic teaching, teachers give questions to a student, but they answerthem. A teacher is not an authority but a helper in the constructivismclassroom, however, a teacher should always be the model of a goodinquirer.
In conclusion, basically I support the constructivism because ECeducators need to extend children’s possibilities as much as possible. Therefore, we should be good questioners to model this skill and throughquestioning and searching answers we can let children collaborate eachother in order to enhance social development. Also it is important we donot forget about minority voices. EC constructivist educators are notauthority figures but helpers for children. It might be not easy to be agood constructivist, but we are all in the process!