Constructivism at Indian River

Constructivism is a theory, based on scientific study and observation, about how people learn. It basically states that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. It states that we are active creators of our own knowledge and we need to ask questions, explore and assess what we know.

In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards any number of different teaching practices. In general, it means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure he/she understands the students' pre-existing conceptions and guides the activity in order to address these and build upon them. 

At Indian River, the constructivist theory is taken into account whenever teachers engage in writing new curricula, particular from the unit of study perspective. Teachers write the new unit of study in their curriculum area, knowing full well that after students engage in learning experiences with the new material, they must examine the new material, think about it in relationship to what they already know and work with it. The student then makes the material his or her own and emerges with a new set of knowledge, skills, understandings and perceptions. See the story of Stuart Dent (Stu Dent) below. Thanks and credit given to Patricia Fabrizio, Instructional Technology Specialist, for this pictorial version of the constructivist tenets and the impact to students. Theory


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