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Learning to construct knowledge

Assignment #1:
Learning to construct knowledge.

Laura Hall
ETEC 530/65B
University of British Columbia
Instructor: Dr. Samia Khan
19 February 2016

Learning to construct knowledge

The field of education is based on the construction of knowledge through learning.


Knowledge is information interpreted to help us make sense of the world (Pritchard,
2014, p.59). Exemplifying constructivist theory, Pritchart (2014) stresses the importance
of the process of creating meaning, challenging how one comes to understand the world
around them. The New London Group describes educational mission as a process to
ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully
in public, community, and economic life (1996, p. 60). Palloff and Pratt (2013) extend
this mission to include online communities that endeavor to enhance student learning and
skills by including online platforms and a collaborative approach to building knowledge.
Concepts examined throughout this class have illustrated the fundamental role that
educators have to construct and develop an environment following constructivist
principles in order to support 21st century students learning to actively participate in the
global arena.
Constructivism encourages the creation of information through inquiry, collaboration,
knowledge building and reflection in order to develop understanding. This educational
theory demands students to be active participants in their creation of knowledge (Siegel,
2012). Von Glasersfeld (2008) supports the constructivist ideal through stages of
planning, instruction and reflection. Decentralizing the role of the teacher affords
students the opportunity to develop their own understanding through inquiry, which
supports and encourages the constructions of knowledge providing students with a more
holistic approach to learning (Fosnot, 2013, 66%). Supporting the appropriation of
knowledge provides the learner the inherent right to perceive the knowledge as they see
fit (Pritchard, 2014, p.70). The process of learning is attained through a collaborative
approach to constructing understanding through making connections to experience and
knowledge.
Constructivism shifts our focus from overarching subject areas to inherently placing
the responsibility of knowledge acquisition into the hands of the learner. This is
illustrated in George Formans chapter (12) in Fosnot (2013) through his the emphasis on
collaboration mindset of constructing knowledge as a collective (66%). Constructivist
theory allows for cross-curricular connections. This allows for growth and development,
not only within the course discussions (creating understanding through application of
concepts and theories to personal and media ties), but also through professional
development. In my own practice, a further understanding of knowledge and
constructivism has extended to environmental and pedagogical changes. Further
understanding the importance of ownership in learning has helped me to support my
students learning through changing the environment of teaching, the pedagogy for
information conveyance, as well as to help me to write grants to access much needed
resources. Much like Formans chapter looking at Reggio Emila, it is not only the
approach to instruction that must change, but also the environment in which you allow
inquiry and reflection to take place. Von Glasersfeld emphasizes, learning is a
constructive activity that the students themselves have to carry out (Fosnot, 2013, 4%).
With a focus on learning communities and the collaborative approach, we are better
prepared to engage fully in the world (von Glasersfeld, 2008, p. 48).
The exploration of knowledge, constructivism and learning has transformed my
understanding of effective teaching practices. Challenging how students acquire new
knowledge, and how they understand it to be true, supports a reflective practice that

Learning to construct knowledge

furthers students understanding (Moon, 2001). Von Glasersfeld (2008) implies that there
is less value in truths and facts. Rather, the value lies within the process to learn to
construct, reflect and evaluate ideas in relation to our surroundings. The non-linear
approach that constructivism allows thereby affords students the opportunities to fully
interact, generate connections, and create individualized learning through the
participatory culture needed to engage in civic life (Fosnot, 2013, 5%, von Glasersfeld,
2008, Siegel, 2012, New London Group, 1996). Knowledge cannot be transferred but
rather, must be constructed.





































Learning to construct knowledge

References
Fosnot, C. T. (2013). Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice, *2nd Ed.
Teachers College Press. 15-66.
Moon, J. (2001). PDP Working paper 4: Reflection in higher education learning.
New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures.
Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.
Pritchard, D. (2014). What is this thing called knowledge? (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Siegel, M. (2012). New times for multimodality? Confronting the accountability culture.
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(8), 671-681.
Von Glasersfeld, E. (2008). Learning as a Constructive Activity. AntiMatters, 2(3), 3349. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from
http://antimatters.org/articles/73/public/73-66-1-PB.pdf