BCW teamAgency, Inquiry, learning, Understanding Learners, Visible Learning

ABC of Inquiry Constructivist learning


ABC OF INQUIRY – CONSTRUCTION “Any human act that gives rise to something new is referred to as a creative act, regardless of whether what was created is a physical object or some mental or emotion construct that lives within the person who created it and is known only to him*” Lev. S. Vygotsky
 (*Him is a direct quote, but in the context of this writing, we are referring to all gender identities and realities)
CONSTRUCTION: If you build it…
Construction is about building something. Inquiry based teaching is a constructivist approach to learning, a view that believes learning occurs when participants are able to take ownership of the ideas they are building. Constructivist approaches to learning position the learner as an active builder of ideas. They are not passive receiversor vaults to be filled with information that is to be recalled, rather they are the builders creating foundations and scaffolds of ideas, skills, understandings and attitudes that they can then use to extend and develop new ideas from. Mistakes and reflection play a big part in this process. Mistakes combined with reflections become launch-pads for new learning. As the learner builds the ideas, they have a richer, stronger connection and understanding of the what, why and how content, etc. They are more able to adapt, review and reuse ideas, skills, understandings and attitudes in new and changing situations. Just as a builder collaborates with teams of other trusted specialists to build structures, learners collaborate with peers and trusted mentors to build ideas that are useful in the world beyond their learning environment. 
There is still a need for skill development, but the skills are developed through trial, experimentation and reflection, not drilled into the learner. Recall is not as effective as understanding when faced with a new problem solving situation.
There is still topic specific knowledge developed, but it is not done through memorisation or testing, it is done by recognising a need to understand the content of something in order to take action. 
The biggest difference between traditional teaching and constructivist learning is that the learner is active in the development of understandings, skills, knowledge, attitudes, etc. They are not mimics who recall, not drones who are drilled into routines, they are meaning makers, problem posers and active agents in discovery.

BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.

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