Social Constructivism

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This week’s blog is on social constructivism. Like Personal Learning environments, social constructivism is a relatively new learning theory that is another move away from traditional teaching and learning pedagogy. Learning is a social activity, and is done in a variety of ways and in a variety of different settings, learnt and taught to different people of all ages.

According to Oluwafisayo (2010), learning can be viewed from two different perspectives. These are traditional teaching and learning pedagogy, and progressive education. Traditional pedagogy entails the teacher imparting all knowledge to students through the medium of the traditional text book and by “isolating the learner from all social interaction and seeing education as a one on one relationship between the learner and the objective material”. Progressive education on the other hand recognises the social aspect of learning which requires interaction and conversation between people, either peers or student to teacher. Teaching is the foundation of many educational processes, and one of these is social constructivism.

Fosnot (1996) suggests that social constructivism is where learners actively construct their own knowledge and meaning from their experiences. The theory has its foundations in philosophy and psychology which suggests that reality can only be sensed through experiences and as each experience is different, each person has their own unique view of reality (Satish and Munsung, 2004).

Education has to be changed to adapt to an ever changing world, particularly the 21st century. Children born from 1992 are considered to be the “net generation” as they have never known life without the internet. (I am part of this generation myself!). Having grown up with the internet and now studying to be a teacher, I can see that the internet plays a large role in the implementation of social constructivism in classrooms and education today. Social constructivism therefore offers a new perspective to education in this “new age of information” (Oluwafisayo, 2010) where new technologies are constantly and rapidly being developed. Social constructivism allows students to be in control of their own learning and allows the learner to play an active role in acquiring new information to previous knowledge.

Fosnot, C. T. (1996). Constructivism: Theory, perspective, and practice. New York: Teachers College.

Press as cited in Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

Satish, M. and Munsung, R. (2004) Enhancing educational learning through some TQM principles. The International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management. Vol. 21 (8) Pp. 801-816 as cited in Oluwafisayo, E. (2010). Constructivism and Web 2.0 in the Emerging Learning Era: A Global Perspective. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability.  Vol. 6(4).

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