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Topic: On the hunt for the wild constructivist
Replies: 4   Last Post: Feb 7, 1997 4:18 PM

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Kim or Melodie Mackey

Posts: 272
Registered: 12/6/04
On the hunt for the wild constructivist
Posted: Feb 6, 1997 12:23 AM
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In my readings on constructivism, email conversations with various
psychologists, and discussions on this newsgroup, it seems that every time I
think I am getting close to coming to grips with a constructivist classroom
I find myself confronted with smoke and mirrors. If everyone is a
constructivist, what distinguishes it from traditional practice? I am not
speaking now of the _caricature_ of traditional practice, but traditional
practice as done by teachers who are well-versed in their subject matter and
who incorporate a variety of strategies and techniques in their teaching
style. Let me expose some of my techniques and specify which I think are
constructivist and which I think are not. This way we have a target to shoot at.

Constructivist Practices:
Problem of the Week write-ups.

Quarterly Portfolio of written work with a page of self-assessment

student presentation at the board of their attempt to solve problems
introducing new concepts

cooperative group work on non-routine solid geometry problems

continual emphasis on reasonableness of answers
Non-constructivist practices

students required to memorize 19 formulas over a year's time for mental math

students required to memorize the pythagorean theorem, vertical angle
theorem, and the 180 theorem

continuous practice of mixed problem sets over the course of a quarter or

explicit teaching of concepts

use of mnemonics (SOHCAHTOA, PEMDAS)

70 percent of grade by examination each quarter, 30 percent quizzes (6 a
quarter), 40 percent tests (3 a quarter).

feedback to students to help eliminate procedural bugs

So what do the constructivists in the audience think?

regards, Kim Mackey

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