I have long valued and used a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Tasks of short or long duration where the emphasis is on constructing the knowledge, process, product or understanding is core. Students develop ownership of the concepts, ideas, product or knowledge. Learning is practical, hands on, multi-sensory, collaborative experience. There must be engagement of the learners and they must be motivated to learn. To do this the tasks have relevance to them as learners and are set contextually. There is transparency and clarity in assessment and where possible the students help to develop and administer this. They often involve a digital medium, but the medium is isn’t ever the focus, the journey is everything.
My personal underlying education philosophy matches quite nicely to what I see in the Reggio Emilia Philosophy often used in primary and early years education.
Consider the following explanatory statement about Reggio Emilia
- Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
- Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
- Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and
- Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
As an education philiosophy it allows the teacher flexibility to seize the teachable moment. It encourages problem solving and project based learning. It does not restrict solutions to being text based but celebrates expression and communication in its many different and varied forms. It is multi-sensory – Visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, tactile and potentially olfactory and even taste. Its collaborative and because students have a degree of control it is motivating, engaging, relevant and contextual.
This is not a bad teaching philosophy to have.
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