Philosophy of Educat

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Much of Piaget's conceptual theories are based on thoughts by John Dewey (1910) and the concept of constructivism; people understand only what they have created or constructed. Today, this philosophy of constructivism can be seen as establishing an interdisciplinary approach, since it includes a diverse set of educational, sociological, psychological, and philosophical theories. In should not be viewed as an approach that negates other teaching approaches, but rather one that can be incorporated into present learning as a means of enhancing the student's involvement in the process rather than just having the teacher having overall authority and power.

That is, the constructivist approach places the emphasis on the learner rather than the teacher. The students need to experience their environment and, as a result, gain an understanding of its characteristics and qualities. They develop their unique conceptualizations and discover personalized solutions to problems, which allow them to become more autonomous and independent. In the constructivist approach to education, knowledge gained is influenced by the environment and the learners' beliefs and attitudes. Students are given the impetus of identifying, solving and evaluating problems, in addition to determining methods for using the experienced gained for future situations. In the classroom that emphasizes constructivist education, teachers encourage learners to build on previously gained knowledge and learn how to construct new knowledge. Piaget's constructivist approach is based on his perspective of the psychological development of children and the important element of discovery: "To understand is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition" (Piaget, 1973).

Another educator, Rogers (1969), emphasizes what he calls experiential learning, which is related to constructivism. It distinguishes between cognitive learning or meretricious, and experimental learning, that includes personal involvement, learner initiation and evaluation and pervasive effects on the learner. Rogers contrasts the experiential or constructivist learning approach with the traditional classroom, in which students are merely passive vessels that receive information from the teacher and the textbook. This is similar to Dewey (1910) who believes that knowledge is gained only from experiences that are integrated into social context, such as a classroom, where students participate in transforming materials and, as a result, form a learning community and together build knowledge. Rote memorization is not the way to learn; instead education should take place in a directed-learning situation where structured activities are combined with theory. The point is that students must be engaged in meaningful activities that encourage them to apply the concepts they are attempting to learn.

Another educator involved with the constructivist theory is Bruner (1973), who looks at learning as a social process where students construct new concepts that are founded on current knowledge. Learners choose information, construct hypotheses and make decisions with the goal of integrating these new situations into their mental constructs. Cognitive structures provide meaning and order to experiences, which give learners the opportunity to go beyond the established limitations of information supplied. Bruner believes that learner independence, which is furthered through the encouragement of discovery of new principles, is the basis for effective education. In addition, curriculum needs to be organized spirally, in order that the students can build on the information they have already acquired[continue]

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