>From: Deann M Huinker <email@example.com> >To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Subject: Modeling and Constructivism > > >I found it interesting that Tad choose to focus on the issue of "modeling" >as I have often heard my prospective elementary teachers use this term in >ways that concern me. Namely, many seem to use it as a synonym for >"showing and telling" students what to do. If this is the case, than >modeling can not be consistent with constructivist epistemology ... <...snip a little ...>
Well, let's look at this. I am not a theoretician in constructivist philosophy, but I don't think the conclusion about modeling is correct. As I understand the constructivist philosophy, the belief is that ALL of us create our own knowledge/understanding/etc by constructing our own set of theories, rules, and so on. I would say that we have proven that people can do this constructing by observing an expert model that information -- that's exactly how most of us have mastered our area of expertise. I would also say that we will help more students as we shift to more variety in our teaching methods.
I think the question really is: Do these learners need a more direct experience to master this material (i.e. -- to construct their own knowledge of it)?? I believe that learners vary a great deal in terms of how direct their experience needs to be for this purpose. Also, I see one of the goals of education as being to assist each learner in becoming more able to learn in various modes -- including variances along this dimension of "teacher modeling" to "student experiments". In other words, I see liberation within a mathematics classroom.
People may not agree with this particular goal of education, but I think teacher modeling can be consistent with constructivist theory, since some of us have succeeded with only that modeling.
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