READING PHILOSOPHIES 6
Fora long time, teaching strategies have attracted the interest of manyresearchers and has been a phenomenon of hot debate as well asideological controversy, in particular as to best practice(Kirschner, Sweller & Clark, 2006). The source for thecontroversy surrounds two orientations explicit or direct teachingand constructivist approaches. While none of the aforementionedinstruction techniques alone is suitable for generating all kinds oflearning, literature demonstrates that constructivist approach hasbeen a leading technique in school systems, especially in the westerncountries.
Thecurrent paper investigates and analyzes constructivist and explicitinstructional approaches, discusses the style by which I learned toread, and defends the approach that I prefer as a learner.
Constructivistis a learning approach founded on the view that knowledge is notsubstance that can basically be provided by the tutor to students ina classroom setting in which the latter sits back behind their deskspassively listening and acquiring facts (Karadağ, 2007). Instead,knowledge itself is constructed by students via a dynamic, mentalprocedure of development. They generate and create significance andknowledge by actively taking part in the learning process in order togain new understandings. Some authors have defined constructivism inrelation to four doctrines as explained here. They include: learningrelies on what people are already conversant with new ideas takeplace as individuals get used to and modify their old ideassignificant learning takes place by reorganizing old ideas andgenerating novel conclusions regarding novel ideas that may beinconsistence with one ones and learning entails generating ideasinstead of automatically building up facts (Garbett, 2011).Therefore, a fruitful constructivism classroom comprises an activeinstruction that is student centered.
Inconstructivist approach, the teacher offers learners with experienceswhich enable them imagine, envisage, ask questions, manipulatethings, explore and invent (Karadağ, 2007). The instructor’s mainresponsibility is to facilitate the learning process. Constructivistbeliefs have to a certain extent been adopted for teaching in theclassroom, especially in the western countries.
Accordingto studies, constructivist approach promotes critical thinking andgenerates inquisitive thinkers, inspired, autonomous and activestudents (Garbett, 2011). The author has even recommended that theapproach be integrated into the school curriculum, besides suggestingthat instructors creating a favorable learning environment to enablestudents construct new understandings.
Althoughconstructivist appears as an excellent instruction approach, it hasbeen argued that the method is not credible enough. Basically, theapproach is said to have damaging impacts linked with minimumguidance. To start with, it overlooks the instructor as an expert asthey are required to engage learners with reliable and appropriateassignments. Through this, teachers are pulled away from and fail tofocus on cognitively difficult problems as they are forced tointroduce distracting contexts (Kirschner, Sweller & Clark,2006).
Explicitinstruction, also called direct approach, is deemed as one of thebest methods available for teachers who seek to maximize academicgrowth of their students. It is an organized, structured and usefultechnique for teaching academic skills (Silvia, 2004). It is a clearand direct methodology that encompasses instructional design as wellas delivery processes. The most important factor to note aboutexplicit approach is that teachers guide the learners through theinstruction process by providing unambiguous statements regarding thesignificance justification for acquiring novel skills. They alsoprovide explanations concerning teaching target, as well as supportedpractice combined with appropriate feedback to ensure that studentsmaster what they are being taught.
Variouseducational researchers have discovered several instructionalbehaviors and features of explicit teaching approach. Firstly, theapproach focuses teaching on important content. This means that itteaches strategies, concepts, skills, as well as terminologies thatempower learners, while matching their learning requirements (Nazari,2013).
Besides,the approach follows a logical sequence to teaching. This involvesteaching simpler and easy to understand skills prior to introducingthe harder ones, guaranteeing that students get mastery ofprerequisites of a certain skill prior to teaching the actual skill.It also involves the separation of similar strategies, which mightconfuse the learners.
Inaddition to that, other features of explicit approach encompass:designing focused and organized lessons, breaking down difficultstrategies and skills into minute instructional units to enhanceunderstanding, reviewing knowledge and skills disseminated inprevious lessons prior to commencing instruction, using clearlanguage and using examples, demonstrations and supported practicewhile giving instruction among others (Nazari, 2013).
Theapproach that I prefer
Ilearned to read through explicit approach. The approach is effectiveas it involves the teacher transmitting knowledge and skills tolearners and the latter are trained on prerequisite skills needed forevery novel skill.
Althoughboth explicit and constructivist approaches have their own demerits,as a learner, I would prefer explicit learning methodology. This isbased on the fact that the assessment methods used and instructionalneeds meet learning requirements of students. Traditional assessmentstechniques, which are teacher-directed, are used. They includeworksheets and lecturers. Furthermore, it has an aspect ofindividualization that assist in meeting individual needs of everylearner, besides supporting convergent thinking.
Garbett,D. (2011). Constructivism deconstructed in science teacher education.AustralianJournal of Teacher Education,36 (6): 35-49.
Karadağ,E. (2007). Development of the teachers’ sufficiency scale inrelation to constructivist learning: Reliability and validityanalysis. EducationalSciences: Theory and Practice,7(1), 165-175.
Kirschner,P. A. Sweller, J. & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidanceduring instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure ofconstructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential andInquiry-based teaching. EducationalPsychologist,41(2):75-86.
Nazari,N. (2013). The effect of implicit and explicit grammar instruction onlearners’ achievements in receptive and productive modes. Socialand Behavioral Sciences,70:156-162.
Silvia,G. (2004).Implicitversus explicit learning: some implications for L2 teaching. EuropeanJournal of Psychology of Education,19(2): 203-219.