Is Constructivism The Answer To Motivating Children to Learn?

There is an “out of the box” teaching method called “constructivism” that asks teachers to depart from their traditional teaching methods and encourages interaction and questions.  They believe the best way for a child to learn is through the senses, causing the brain to build a full understanding of things around them.

Constructivism is a theory put together by Jean Piaget that people generate knowledge and learn from interaction between their experience and ideas. During infancy, it was an interaction between human experiences and their reflexes or behavior-patterns that teaches a child. As toddlers it is learning through play and interaction with other children and parents. Piaget saw play as an important and necessary part of a child’s cognitive development, and was able to provide scientific proof to back up his theory. Today, constructivist theories are important teaching tools throughout much of the non-formal educational systems.

One good example of constructivist learning is the Investigate Centre at The Natural History Museum in London, where visitors are encouraged to explore a collection of real natural history specimens and make discoveries for themselves through interaction.

By making learning fun, and allowing children to explore on their own and ask questions, you have opened up a world where it’s alright to questions and seek out answers, and learning becomes fun and not a job. Famous people, such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, were lucky enough to have parents who encouraged questions and exploration. Although mainstream education proved to be more of a roadblock than a help to them, because of their parents open-mindedness in allowing them to find out answers for themselves we have some of the most amazing discoveries ever conceived.

Each child is a different entity, and when that child is taught according to his/her specific learning style (visual, auditory or kinestic) his/her ability to learn is much more enhanced. If teachers are able to reach a child through his/her own learning method they have found the answer to unlock a child’s potential. And, if parents are able to focus their attention on results and individual achievements, instead of grades, the child will not feel pressure and will be more relaxed and open to learning. Interaction between a child, teacher and parent has proven to be the most effective.

All children are born with a deep-seeded curiosity and desire to learn. Finding the way to get them to do that is the path to opening up that world.  By encourage learning through activities in which there are no expectations of an end result or time limit, and allowing a child to experiment with open-ended activities encourages creativity and self-esteem.

By eliminating the pressure of grades, allowing your child to ask questions and helping him to find the answers, your child is able to learn more, often without realizing that he is learning. The grades, eventually, will fall into place on their own.

How do you motivate children to learn? Maybe this was the answer.

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion

 

Sources:

Funderstanding and Constructivism: http://www.funderstanding.com/content/constructivism-and-the-developing-child.

Wikipedia – Constructivism (learning theory): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_%28learning_theory%29

Thirteen Ed.com – Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html

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