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Essay on Teaching History and Geography in the Constructivist Classroom

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In most curricular areas the curriculum has become strict rules that need to be adhered to. The constructivist approach brings a new light to a child’s learning experience with the focus being on practical interactive learning. Children often experience this type on learning before they reach primary school. For example when a child encounters a jigsaw they are not just shown on a whiteboard how to finish the jigsaw, the child is guided by an instructor through hands on experience. The child learns techniques to then complete a jigsaw by themselves and will move on to complete more complicated jigsaws with time. Education should not be focused on day to day learning but more focused on life-long learning and experiences. Adopting the constructivist approach in the classroom especially through the subjects of history and geography is essential for children to reach their full learning potential.

We must first look at the need for a constructivist approach in a classroom, to do this we think back to our days in primary school and indeed secondary school where textbooks we like bibles. We were told to take out our books, look at the board, and now complete the exercise on page z. This approach in a class is repetitive, the teacher holds authoritarian power and learning is by no means interactive. “In a traditional classroom, an invisible and imposing, at times, impenetrable, barrier between student and teacher exists through power and practice. In a constructivist classroom, by contrast, the teacher and the student share responsibility and decision making and demonstrate mutual respect.” (Wineburg, 2001) This approach focuses on basic skills and strict adherence to the curriculum. Children are being forced to learn through repetit...


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...g experience is child-centred. “Constructivist classrooms are structured so that learners are immersed in experiences within which they may engage in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing and personal reflection.” (Gray, A) The constructivist approach is one that more teachers need to adopt in their classroom, it is incredibly beneficial. The approach will not only improve the child’s learning but also the teachers learning of their students.




Works Cited

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (1999) The History Curriculum, Dublin- The Stationery Office.Gray, A. Contructivist Teaching and Learning. University of Saskatchewan, The Road to Knowledge is Always Under Construction'- A Life History Journey to Constructivist Teaching.O’ Sullivan, E. (2014) Constructivism in the History Class. Unpublished MIC Lecture-


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