Site for John Lawrence Bencze, Associate Professor (Emeritus),
Science Education, OISE/University of Toronto
Teaching & Learning Strategies Based on Constructivist Learning Principles
The above 3-phase constructivism-informed framework can, in principle, be used for pedagogy in any learning domain - such as for learning 'products' (e.g., laws & theories) of science and technology. Applying constructivism to multiple learning domains at once could be quite complex. A simpler framework may be more helpful. I have, accordingly, developed (with science teachers during my PhD thesis research) a pedagogical framework featuring intermeshed 3-phase learning cycles for two very broad learning domains; that is, for:
the framework at right, conceptual and procedural
knowledge may be re-constructed in syncrony. For
each phase of the conceptual learning cycle, time
could be spent encouraging students to reconstruct
their procedural talents. Eventually, however, much
less teacher direction may need to be paid to
procedural education, as students become more
autonomous learners. Ideas and resources for each of
the 3 phases in the two cycles are available at:
Note that the
degree of teachers' and students' control of
learning in this framework should vary, in terms
of Lock's (1990) model - below.
This framework was developed in association with five teachers of secondary school science, whose contributions to it are acknowledged and greatly appreciated.
Although this framework has been used successfully by teachers, it should be noted that it is highly stylized. By using one-directional arrows, for example, it wrongly suggests that teaching and learning are one-directional. Similarly, by drawing it with relatively equal spaces between stages, it inappropriately suggests that equal amounts of time must be spent in each stage. Therefore, the above framework should be used only as a general guide - adapted by teachers in ways suiting various factors that typically affect teaching and learning including, for example, the nature of the teacher, students, curricula and the milieu surrounding teaching and learning (e.g., parental perspectives and priorities).
|Much of what students learn
can be planned and analyzed by thinking about who
controls educational situations. Roger Lock's (1990) framework, depicted below, right, and associated
with the model above, is
useful for this.
The horizontal axis on the grid at
right refers to control of methods or procedures
of an activity; i.e., it may be teacher-directed (TD)
or student-directed (SD) or some combination of them.
The vertical axis represents control of conclusions
of the activity; i.e., the activity may have
pre-determined conclusions, making it closed-ended
(CE), or the activity may have no pre-determined
conclusions, making it open-ended (OE). The activity
also could be partly closed-ended and partly
open-ended (CE, OE). Some general principles for
variations in control of learning are:
|For information about
this framework, including examples of activities in
several different positions (e.g., TD/CE or TD-SD/OE),
refer to Lock's (1990) original article.