Publication 6871

Castle K. (1997) Constructing knowledge of constructivism. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 18(1): 55–67. Fulltext at
Excerpt: Constructivist theory as developed by Piaget (1936/1952) and applied to teaching young children by Kamii (1985, 1989, 1994) and DeVries and Zan (1994) is also being applied to teacher education (Fosnot, 1989). It is based on the view that knowledge is actively constructed by individuals in interaction with the environment and with others. DeVries and Zan (1994) have found that constructivist teaching engages the learner’s interest, inspires active experimentation, and fosters cooperation. Teacher education programs whose goal is to teach teachers to facilitate children’s knowledge construction attempt to involve students in their own construction of knowledge rather than explain constructivism through lecture. Duckworth (1987) describes how she engages teacher education students with phenomena such as real objects, encourages them to wonder and question about the object, and then to explain to others the sense they are making while she tries to understand their sense. In addition, Kamii (1994) and DeVries and Zan (1994) emphasize having prospective teachers attempt to understand children’s understanding by observing and questioning them as they are involved in learning. Teachers are more likely to facilitate children’s construction of knowledge if they have reflected on what it means to construct knowledge. Teacher education programs can promote this understanding through projects such as moon watching as described in this paper. Just as the moon goes through phases of waning and waxing, teacher education students go through phas-es in their construction of knowledge of the moon and of constructivist teaching.

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