Jean Piaget is referred to as the father of cognitive development. He was a Swiss psychologist who observed the intellectual development of children during childhood. According to him,
“Cognitive development is a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience.”
He studied the intellectual development of his three children.
He also proposed the constructivism theory of learning that involves the use of existing knowledge to gain new knowledge. This existing knowledge is integrated with new information to expand the knowledge an individual possesses. A learner is considered successful when he or she can embed new information with the previous information he or she holds. A learner, in social constructivism, is always considered to be subjective because they will have different experiences and therefore, will develop a unique perspective of the world.
Educational Implications of Constructivist Theory
The constructivist learning theory is applied in the classroom as follows:
Learner is Active
In constructivism, learners play an active role since they have to construct knowledge based on their past knowledge and new experiences.
Culture is Important
Culture plays an influential role in constructivism because the experiences and beliefs of learners are formed by the culture he or she is raised in.
Society is Important
Society is another influential factor in constructivism because children’s social interactions are formed by society.
Teachers are Facilitators
According to the constructivism theory, teachers should take the role of facilitators and facilitate the development of learners instead of being people who simply teach.
Experiences are Important
Experiences play an important role in constructivism theory of learning because learners need to form new knowledge based on their old experiences. a”
Previous Knowledge is Important
Just like past experiences, learners have to construct new knowledge through their existing knowledge.
Social Processes are Important
Social constructivism stresses that social processes are important for the creation of new knowledge and observing the world is not enough for gaining knowledge.
In the constructivism learning theory, learners have to play an active role and take part in activities that improve their self organization skills and creativity.