Constructivism in Education

By Leslie P. Steffe; Jerry Gale | Go to book overview

17
From Alternative Epistemologies to Practice in Education: Rethinking What It Means to Teach and Learn

Terry Wood Purdue University

A look into most secondary classrooms, and even many primary classes, reveals a way of teaching that has been described variously as direct instruction ( Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986), guided instruction ( Baumann, 1986), and active teaching ( Good, Grouws, & Ebmeier, 1983). The familiarity of the lessons stems, in part, from the well-known format that is followed. A lesson begins by reviewing or checking the previous day's work, which is then followed by a presentation from the teacher on the new content to be learned. Next is guided practice for students, in which the teacher checks for understanding by asking questions and providing feedback and corrections as necessary. Finally, this sequence ends with independent student practice ( Rosenshine & Stevens, 1986).

Moreover, it is claimed that teachers can be trained to follow these specific instructional procedures, and that this leads to increases in student achievement (cf. Anderson, Evertson, & Brophy, 1982; Becker, 1977; Good & Grouws, 1979). Although students' achievement on standardized measures can be challenged as not representative of the processes of thinking, research conducted by Book, Duffy, Roehler, Meloth, and Vaurus ( 1985) provides contrary evidence. In this study, teachers followed an explanation model, which consisted of a five-step procedure. In this procedure, the teachers provided explicit verbal explanations to their students that not only improved their reading achievement, but also increased students' awareness of the processes they used while reading.

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