The Effect of Constructivist Approach in Teaching Short Stories and Poems to the English Performance of Students

By Villanueva, Louie B. | Researchers World, January 2016 | Go to article overview

The Effect of Constructivist Approach in Teaching Short Stories and Poems to the English Performance of Students


Villanueva, Louie B., Researchers World


INTRODUCTION:

"Education is at the heart of human life", therefore peoples from all walks of life aim for a quality education. One has to equip himself or herself with the right skills to face the adversities of life. However, according to Lasaten (2008) most teachers are not willing to try out new approaches in teaching because they are already confined to traditional approaches. As a result, many learners find difficulty in understanding important concepts because most schools do not adequately provide the requisite experiences for learners to fully develop their skills and potentials (Lasaten, 2008).

Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson (1999) stated in their study on constructivism that many teachers have a strong desire for students to be active participants in their own learning. These teachers do not want students to listen passively as they are told what they need to learn. Students who are actively engaged in learning become more involved as they discover and make sense of their world.

Interestingly, literature is the source for the students to learn worthwhile values and skills necessary for their existence. Hence, teaching literature needs a careful plan for instruction to fully develop the potentials of the students (Lasaten, 2008).

Specifically, short stories and poems, being a literary genre, can make its r eaders see life in a wider perspective. Their realistic presentation of life's situations and characters can hurl learners into another world or another period; it can create an emotional situation, a mood or tone, a feeling that can make them experience t he SHESignificant Human Experience (Baraceros, 2005). The appreciation of a short story and poems will greatly increase as one understands the tools, which an author uses in telling one. These tools include the elements of a story namely: setting, characters, plot, point of view and theme respectively and the elements of poetry such as: rhythm, rhyme, figures of speech, stanza form, symbols, subject matter, theme, persona and mood. Short stories and poems therefore, are means of communicating creative exp eriences (Villanueva, 2012).

Considering these, teachers of literature who are teaching short stories and poems, are confined to the traditional method and approaches of teaching, resembling a one-person show with a captive but comatose audience (Lasaten, 2008).

In a research conducted by Bolosan, Bumanglag, Norono, Pascua and Villanueva (2010) about classroom interaction in the teaching of short stories, they found out, that in a traditional classroom setting, the teachers seem to be the only fountain of knowledge in the class, making the students passive and seldom engage in group activities and decision making. Moreover, only few students respond to questions raised by their teachers and classmates. Some others do not even share their understanding of t he short stories and poems they read.

The Constructivist Approach advocates social or classroom interaction, wher ein students are given the opportunity to interact with their teacher, other students and the material they read. According to Bruner (1986), students construct their own knowledge, relating their previous knowledge through social interaction. Moreover, Lasaten (2008) contends that meaningful learning takes place through social interaction that is, knowledge is constructed as more knowledgeable when one interact with others and share their expertise. Thus, to learn is to experience, that is to interact with one's environment; to do, to feel, to sense, to handle and to perceive the opportunities. Certainly, students benefit from social interaction by (1) sharing ideas, (2) appropriating understanding, and (3) articulating thinking.

With the Constructivist Approach, students are transformed from being passive recipients of information to active participants in the learning process. Furthermore, the students construct their knowledge actively rather than just mechanically ingesting ideas from the literary texts, from the teacher or from the textbook. …

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