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Constructivism & modeling
Posted:
Aug 30, 1995 8:33 AM


>From: Deann M Huinker <huinker@csd.uwm.edu> >To: Multiple recipients of list <amte@csd.uwm.edu> >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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