Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Steps to creating a more Constructivist Classroom: Baby Step One

As I further analyze the constructivist theory and other areas of research, it reinforced in abundance the idea of being student centered versus teacher centered.  Now I might think I’m teaching with a student-centered philosophy but my goal this week was to analyze my day and see when I’m being teacher directed and if/how I can change that to be more student centered.  I never want my classroom to feel out of control and I worry that the more I let the students take over, the more chaotic things will get.  Now that may sound silly to you but it’s a true concern.  So on the idea of trying to be more student-centered, this week I also tried something new with my learning centers.  Instead of me choosing their “have to” work, I allowed the students to create their own “have to’s.”  It has been so interesting to observe the students to see what they choose to do, whom they choose to work with or not work with, and what they create.  Several of my students use the whole time creating many “have to’s.”  They are engaged in using skills they’ve learned all year including writing signs for their pie shop they created, making patterns at the science center with the insects, creating math problems to solve and working cooperatively to play games and build puzzles with one another.  I made an interesting realization, the more times I found myself engaged in student centered activities, cooperative groups, and especially during my implementation of new effective instructional strategies, I found myself truly enjoying  learning and teaching.  I was still there guiding and managing behaviors but the kids were sharing, discussing, and actively engaged.  It was also reassuring to me that the behaviors did not increase and in fact seemed even better.  They seemed happy and were enjoying the learning process.  This is what I want for my classroom and it’s exciting to make this realization and be more intentional in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca~ I totally agree that handing over control to students is terrifying! This is something that I too have been working on this year. I also view myself as student-centered, but have learned through the SMU program that maybe I'm not as student-centered as I thought...yikes! When I let my students make more choices for themselves, I also found that they were more actively engaged and seemed to truly enjoy the activities more! It is refreshing to know that we are learning so much about ourselves as teachers. I'd love to be a fly on your wall to see how you manage your day. From what little I do know about you, I imagine that you have a pretty caring environment where your students are comfortable enough to take risks!