Constructivism is a theory of ‘constructing’ or building understanding and knowledge through experience. Every time we experience something, we create with it impressions, ideas and memories in our subconscious. Sometimes, experiences make us disregard past experiences or even change our views on similar notions we had of certain encounters.
Take for example, vegetables. We have all seen the stereotypical setting, where kids have spent entire mealtimes thinking about how to get rid of the green stuff on the plate. Shoving it under the table, hiding it behind the rice or feeding it to the family pet. Greens just gave the idea that they tasted bad.
That may still be true of some adults, but for others, learning and gaining knowledge about vegetables have now made some pile the veggies onto the plate, sometimes even without anything else to “mask” their taste. If someone told you to eat your veggies, you probably wouldn’t, unless you had your own good experiences that came with that idea.
Creating your own knowledge through experience is how constructivism works.
Constructivism in Education
Education systems today are moving towards this constructivist approach. Having students learn by experience and their own understanding to then create knowledge. Students of today do not just memorize and repeat theories and concepts on whiteboards or textbooks. Instead, they are made to question them and find out for themselves, exactly why something works the way they do. To understand and appreciate it for what it really is because they understand it. Not just memorized it. These concepts are then applied to everyday situations. Students are able to then apply the knowledge because they have been able to actively take each piece apart and comprehend each idea.
STEM and Constructivism
STEM refers to the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related subjects. The methods of teaching STEM go hand in hand with the constructivism theory.
Hands-on and activity-based learning, encourage students, even very young ones, to interpret theories that are fed to them. To break them down and critically analyse every concept. Young students nowadays are not going to sit down and be told to repeat phrases over and over like how we might have with the rote learning methods of yesteryear. Plus, things like the Internet and smart phones give them a plethora of information at a simple click of a button.
STEMmates and Constructivism
STEMmates provides students with many ways to experience their learning. Our courses such as Robotics and Oceanography, show children how theories are related to real life situations, allowing them to be a part of their learning. They discuss and brainstorm with each other and their teachers in order to get a sound understanding of each of the new ideas being presented to them and how to apply them in their daily lives.
Should your child be a constructivist? Find out how you can get them started on the path to becoming one by visiting STEMmates’ Facebook and website pages today.