The following course in Constructivism and Student Centered Learning is provided in its entirety by Atlantic International University's "Open Access Initiative " which strives to make knowledge and education readily available to those seeking advancement regardless of their socio-economic situation, location or other previously limiting factors. The University's Open Courses are free and do not require any purchase or registration, they are open to the public.
The course in Constructivism and Student Centered Learning contains the following:
The Administrative Staff may be part of a degree program paying up to three college credits. The lessons of the course can be taken on line Through distance learning. The content and access are open to the public according to the "Open Access" and " Open Access " Atlantic International University initiative. Participants who wish to receive credit and / or term certificate , must register as students.
Constructivism is a theory of knowledge (epistemology) that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. During infancy, there is an interaction between human experiences and their reflexes or behavior patterns. Jean Piaget called these systems of knowledge “schemata”. Piaget's theory of constructivist learning has had wide ranging impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education and is an underlying theme of many educational reform movements. Research support for constructivist teaching techniques has been mixed, with some research supporting these techniques and other research contradicting those results. In past centuries, constructivist ideas were not widely valued due to the perception that children's play was seen as aimless and of little importance. Jean Piaget did not agree with these traditional views, however. He saw play as an important and necessary part of the student's cognitive development and provided scientific evidence for his views. Today, constructivist theories are influential throughout much of the non-formal learning sector.
Formalization of the theory of constructivism is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, who articulated mechanisms by which knowledge is internalized by learners. He suggested that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. When individuals assimilate, they incorporate the new experience into an already existing framework without changing that framework.
Student-centered learning, also called child-centered learning, is an approach of education focusing on the interests of the students, rather than those of others involved in the educational process, such as teachers and administrators. This approach has many implications for the design of the curriculum, course content and interactivity of courses. Student-centered learning, or putting students' interests first, is in contrast to traditional education. Student-centered learning is focused on each student's interests, abilities, and learning styles, placing the teacher as a facilitator of learning. This classroom teaching method acknowledges student voice as central to the learning experience for every learner, and differs from many other learning methodologies. In a student-centered classroom, students choose what they will learn, how they will learn, and how they will assess their own learning. Teacher-centered learning has the teacher at its center in an active role and students in a passive, receptive role. In a teacher-centered classroom, teachers choose what the students will learn, how the students will learn, and how the students will be assessed on their learning. Student-centered learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning.
Lesson 3: JEAN PIAGET’S THEORY OF COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
Jean Piaget was employed at the Binet Institute in the 1920s, where his job was to develop French versions of questions on English intelligence tests. He became intrigued with the reasons children gave for their wrong answers on the questions that required logical thinking. He believed that these incorrect answers revealed important differences between the thinking of adults and children. So, in 1936 Piaget was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development. His contributions include a theory of cognitive child development, detailed observational studies of cognition in children, and a series of simple but ingenious tests to reveal different cognitive abilities. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children were merely less competent thinkers than adults. Piaget showed that young children think in strikingly different ways as compared to adults. According to Piaget, children are born with a very basic mental structure, genetically inherited and evolved, on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based.
Lesson 4: LEV ZYGOTSKY & THE ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT
The work of Lev Vygotsky has become the foundation of much research and theory in cognitive development over the past several decades, particularly of what has become known as the Social Development Theory. Vygotsky's theory stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the process of making meaning. Unlike Piaget's notion that children's' development must necessarily precede their learning, Vygotsky argued, learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function. In other words, social learning tends to precede (i.e., come before) development. Vygotsky has developed a sociocultural approach to cognitive development. He developed his theories at around the same time as Jean Piaget was starting to develop his theories, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, but he died at the age of 38 so his theories are incomplete, but some of his writings are still being translated from Russian. According to Zygotsky, individual development cannot be understood without reference to the social and cultural context within which it is embedded. Additionally, higher mental processes in the individual have their origin in social processes.
Lesson 5: CARL ROGERS & THE FREEDOM TO LEARN
Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach, or client centered approach, to psychology. Rogers is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy research and was honored for his pioneering research with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1956. The person centered approach, his own unique approach to understanding personality and human relationships, found wide application in various domains such as psychotherapy and counseling (client centered therapy), education (student-centered learning), organizations, and other group settings. For his professional work, he was bestowed with the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Psychology, by the APA, in 1972. In a recent study conducted in 2002, referencing six criteria such as citations and recognition, Rogers was found to be the sixth most eminent psychologist of the 20th century and second, among clinicians, only to Sigmund Freud.
Lesson 6: JEAN LAVE & ETIENNE WEGNER: COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
Many of the ways that we have of talking about learning and education are based on the assumption that learning is something that individuals do. Furthermore, we often assume that learning has a beginning and an end, that it is best separated from the rest of our activities, and that it is the result of teaching. But how would things look if we took a different track? Is it by supposing learning is social and comes largely from of our experience of participating in daily life? It was this thought that formed the basis of a significant rethinking of learning theory in the late 1980s and early 1990s by two researchers from very different disciplines, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. Their model of situated learning proposed that learning involved a process of engagement in a community of practice. Jean Lave is a social anthropologist with a strong interest in social theory, based at the University of California, Berkeley. Much of her work has focused on the reconceiving of learning, learners, and educational institutions in terms of social practice. When looking closely at everyday activity, she has argued, it is clear that learning is ubiquitous in ongoing activity, though often unrecognized as such. Etienne Wenger was a teacher who joined the Institute for Research on Learning, Palo Alto having gained a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from the University of California at Irvine. He is now an independent consultant specializing in developing communities of practice within organizations.
Lesson 7: MARIA MONTESSORI
Just who was this woman who began an educational revolution that changed the way we think about children more than anyone before or since? Dr. Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. Her educational method is in use today in some public and private schools throughout the world. Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a blank slate waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work of those of us raising and educating children are in these areas
Lesson 8: Bruner’s Background
Jerome Bruner is one of the pioneers of the cognitive psychology movement in the United States. This began through his own research when he began to study sensation and perception as being active, rather than passive processes. In 1947, Bruner published his classic study Value and Need as Organizing Factors in Perception in which poor and rich children were asked to estimate the size of coins or wooden disks the size of American pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half-dollars. The results showed that the value and need the poor and rich children associated with coins caused them to significantly overestimate the size of the coins, especially when compared to their more accurate estimations of the same size disks. Similarly, another classic study conducted by Bruner and Leo Postman showed slower reaction times and less accurate answers when a deck of playing cards reversed the color of the suit symbol for some cards (e.g. red spades and black hearts). These series of experiments issued in what some called the New Look psychology, which challenged psychologists to study not just an organism's response to a stimulus, but also its internal interpretation. After these experiments on perception, Bruner turned his attention to the actual cognitions that he had indirectly studied in his perception studies.
Lesson 9: BLOOM’S TAXONOMY
Bloom’s Taxonomy was created, in 1948, by psychologist Benjamin Bloom and several colleagues. Originally developed as a method of classifying educational goals for student performance evaluation, Bloom’s Taxonomy has been revised over the years and is still utilized in education today. The original intent in creating the taxonomy was to focus on three major domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. The cognitive domain covered the recall or recognition of knowledge and the development of intellectual abilities and skills; the affective domain covered changes in interest, attitudes, and values, and the development of appreciations and adequate adjustment; and the psychomotor domain encompassed the manipulative or motor-skill area. Despite the creators’ intent to address all three domains, Bloom’s Taxonomy applies only to acquiring knowledge in the cognitive domain, which involves intellectual skill development.
Lesson 10: THE THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
Howard Earl Gardner is an American developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The author of over twenty books translated into over thirty languages, he is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, as outlined in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Gardner was inspired by his readings of Jean Piaget to be trained in developmental psychology. He studied neuropsychology with Norman Geschwind and psycholinguistics with Roger Brown. During his undergraduate years, Gardner worked with renowned psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. In 1965, Gardner received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Relations from Harvard University. His undergraduate thesis was titled The retirement community in America. From 1965 to 1966, he read philosophy and sociology at the London School of Economics. He was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Social and Developmental Psychology from Harvard University, in 1971, for his thesis titled, The Development of Sensitivity to Figural and Stylistic Aspects of Paintings. In 1986, he began teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While he is widely traveled and conducted research in China throughout the 1980s, his entire adult career has been spent in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since 1995, the focus of his work has been on the Good Work Project, now known as the Good Project. Gardner is currently a board member at Amherst College, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MoMA), and the American Philosophical Society (APS). He previously served on the board of the Spencer Foundation for 10 years (2001-2011).
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