I believe the world is established upon a bias. We each have our opinions, narrative upbringing and life choices that are developed by experience and exposure. From the Wikipedia List of Cognitive Biases I pasted the definition of choice-supportive bias.
Choice-supportive bias – the tendency to remember one’s choices as better than they actually were.
I propose the idea that one may have the “tendency to remember ones choices as better than they actually were” (Wikipedia) because of the outcome that they produced. Much like the Web presented in week eight a person’s life is created by intricate details that include disposition, choice, decision, error and growth etc. When one makes a choice that has a positive outcome the happenings that occur after are affected by this choice. It may impose opinion on the next decision or add insight something else. So in a sense it is larger than it actually was.
Studies show that when one succeeds they are more likely to be receptive of new information. Hence, my point that a choice that is remembered as greater is actually because it encourages other positivity and affects future outcomes. The idea of constructivism encourages this concept. I am including a research paper on this idea. Please see the following. I would love to hear your opinion on the ideas presented. They are still rough and need further thought.
Yakira Leah Dorfman
Research Paper- Constructivism
If one takes the theory of constructivism one must ignore the idea that one is learning a piece of knowledge. Instead one must look at ones learning as “personal and social construction of meaning out of the bewildering array of sensations which have no order or structure besides the explanations which we fabricate for them.” (Hein) This concept is much like the learning cycle and experiential learning as the information is absorbed into the back cortex of the brain and then formulated into a complete and whole concept through reflection. Our ideas, thoughts and theory’s are definitely constructed by our experiences. Ones learning is determined by our prejudices, experiences, age and both physical and emotional maturity. It has been proven that a motivated learner will offer determination to what s/he is learning and therefore learn better. If one has an association to the topic s/he will be more open to receiving it. “We learn things that are important to us. Plasticity in the brain probably depends more on signals from the emotional centers than it does on new sensory inputs.” (Zull, 225) Our emotions can inhibit or assist our learning and in the case of constructivism one learns through personal experience.
For example, a personal from constructivism is growing up attending Orthodox Jewish Schools and how I managed to construct the knowledge of my secular studies always with the idea of how it could connect and impact positively my Judaism. The studies became personal and still to this day are. On a more basic level, I remembered Hebrew words with connections to things that I knew. For example, the Hebrew word MIDBAR (desert) was remembered through the word BAR. A BAR is where someone gets a drink. MID meant to me that it was lacking a drink- much like in the desert where there is very little water. Something as mundane and basic as a “bar” was now the key tool to remembering the Hebrew word MIDBAR.
History has proven that constructivism is the way man developed and created new inventions. Man created mechanics and placed pieces together in connection to what he already knew. Development is built upon and individual facets are explained in relation to each other. According to Chassidus, Jewish philosophy that is considered the “light” of the Torah only G-d created and can create “something from nothing” (Yesh M’Ayin). Humans on the other hand create “something from something” (Yesh M’Yesh.) This is much like the idea of constructivism in the way that individuals learn through association of something else “something from something.”
In an educational setting such as a classroom a teacher constructs a lesson that she already knows the answer in a way that the students can learn how to find out the answer themselves. “Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become “expert learners.” This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn HOW TO LEARN.” ( http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html)
In fact, yesterday I practiced the Constructivism approach in my classroom. I was finishing up the last portions of study for Passover and wanted to review it through a game. I made two teams the student verses myself. They obviously won, because I carefully empowered them by guiding their answers with carefully chosen questions. The activity seemed to be very successful and my students seemed to retain much of what I had taught.
Much like my experience in the paragraph above when an individual succeeds s/he is open to retain information. In a constructivist classroom one is motivated through the success of being able to achieve success through support and guidance. Success allows one’s mind to achieve more even when it’s of the smallest amount. This information is shared by Zull in the Art of Changing the Brain on page 237.
The best thing I ever heard the principal of my Judaic teachers seminary was at the end of the year where he shared his few last thoughts of wisdom to us. He stated that all the knowledge (Judaic and secular) he infused in us the past year was phenomenal, however, the most important thing to know is how to find the answer or seek knowledge yourself. This is a pure example of a Constructivist teacher and leader. And, in fact he did and majority of the teachers did teach with this approach.
Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are the two eminent individuals in the development of the constructivist theories and each share the common belief that all classrooms should be run with the method of constructivism. However, they have different beliefs in how they should be carried out in the classroom.
Piaget explains the learning process through schemes of assimilation and accommodation. The assimilation scheme is when one develops information into a scheme and accommodation is when one transforms existing schemes or creates new ones. The motivation to the learner is to find commonality and balance between the different schemes. This is much like the generic definition of constructivism when one finds association between two given items. Piaget bases his theory on learning and constructivism on discovery. He feels that in order to provide a learning environment that is of excellence children should be able to construct knowledge that is meaningful to them and their stages of development.
Vygotsky’s theory is known as the theory of social constructivism . This is because of his idea of Proximal Development which is when one develops through the guidance of a teacher, mentor or individual that one is in contact with. Hence, the word “proximal.” In Vygotsky’s approach the classroom is an environment where there is support but no force is given. The individuals are free to discuss, engage, analyze ,solve freely and even use electronic devices to express and discover. This is much like a 2013 learning environment with the MOOC experience or a multimedia project given to a sixth grade student about a Southern American civilization. It seems the methods of learning in this scenario are not limited- the sky is the limit.
According to my research Constructivism seems to be a very beneficial approach to education. It allows one to establish understanding and gives opening for true growth. Its ideas allow empowerment and I believe will encourage greatness.
Works Cited Cormier, Davie. what is a mooc? n.d. Youtube.
Hein, Prof. George E. Constructivist Learning Theory . Jerusalem: institute of inquiery, 1991.
Ozer, Ozgur. “CONSTRUCTIVISM in Piaget and Vygotsky.” The Fountain ( 2004). issue 48.
Zull, James E. The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, 2002.