Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Constructivism in Teaching vs Career Development: One Point of Comparison

Constructivist teachers aim to help their students to learn how to learn as well as to master various curricula. Constructivist career developers have parallel goals. We want each client to make meaningful choices for the immediate future and we also want the client to take away the ability to continue making choices that will be meaningful for them. The strategies that career developers and teachers employ must differ somewhere, however, and here's why.

Here's what one source says about constructivist teaching:

'For example: Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics. Though the teacher knows the "answer" to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways. She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it, and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore.' [Concept to Classroom in What is Constructivism?]

In a subject like physics the teacher does (almost always) know the answer and can discern if a student has offered a relevant concept. In contrast, although there are career developers who think they know what would be best for their clients we do not know "the answer". That is to say, we do not know what would be best for the client. Indeed it is solely within the the client's ability to determine whether they have found an acceptable solution to their problem

(I have been looking for websites that might be valuable to career developers wishing to offer constructivist support to clients. As part of this I have been looking at sites for teachers.)


Dr. Sanford Aranoff said...

In any case, we have to understand how students think, especially in physics and math, and build from there. See "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon.

Bill Bell said...

It's also amusing to see the lengths to which some authors will go to advertise their books. I notice that Aranoff has used similar language in about 168 postings scattered thither and yon on the web to date.