Publication 4701

Akpan J. P. & Beard L. A. (2016) Using constructivist teaching strategies to enhance academic outcomes of students with special needs. Universal Journal of Educational Research 4(2): 392–398. Fulltext at
Over the past decades many teaching strategies have been proposed by various educators to improve education of all students including students with special needs. No single one of these proposed teaching strategies meets the needs of all students. The new Every Student Succeeds Act, successor to No Child Left behind Law, which transfers oversight from federal level back to states, could be a benefactor for constructivism and special education. Educators are also optimistic that the new Every Student Succeeds Act will be better for vulnerable students in special education because it will introduce more flexibility in how individual states carry out evaluation of students and teachers. In addition, it will provide more flexibility on testing and adapt the curriculum to student’s needs. It would further reduce time and energy for students preparing for standardized tests or statewide exams. It will also end “Adequate Yearly Progress” – a measure that required schools to show test score gains. Constructivist teaching philosophy is all about accepting student autonomy where student thinking drives the lessons, where dialogue, inquiry, and puzzlement are valued and assessing student learning is in the context of teaching. It helps teachers to draw on new ideas as they make decisions about which teaching techniques are most appropriate for all students to learn. Now is the time to revisit the great debate of constructivism versus teacher-centered instruction and special education. Time has come to effectively explore our educational system and examine the core unit of the whole enterprise, the textbook, the classroom, a setting that is often dominated by teacher talk and students listen.


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