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Education has many different approaches based on the context and the individuals participating in it. There is no one-size-fits-all theory that will work for everyone.
This has caused myriads of theories and philosophies to evolve. One of those being Constructivism.

What is Constructivism?

This concept has been derived from much scientific study which outlines how learning takes place. Constructivism’s premise is that people actively control their own knowledge and learning based on their individual experiences and understanding of the world. When new information is presented people have to decide if they are willing to accept this information by aligning it with their previous conceptions, or discard it due to its inability to fit with their own beliefs. In order to make this distinction, we must ask questions, investigate and evaluate what we know.

Key principles of Constructivist learning and teaching:

  • Learning is influenced by the emotional state and perspective of the student.
  • Cognition is impacted by society, the environment and even the weather.
  • It promotes a wider understanding of the world by engaging the spatial memory system of the brain.
  • It creates a challenging, but not intimidating classroom environment.
  • Relies on the multiple intelligences of learners and commits to presenting information in a variety of ways.

Traditional learning models once favoured a teacher-centred approach where information was simply given to the students and they were required to take this as finite and simply repeat it back when required. With the progression of school curriculum, technology and the will of society, this style of teaching became outdated in the Western world to cater for a more student-centred style.

Constructivist Teaching and Learning

What is Constructivism in practice?

Students individual knowledge bases are the core of this type of learning environment. The teacher takes a back seat and allows the student to input which information is relevant to his learning.
The responsibility has shifted to the student to question new information and assess its importance. This new model encourages student to be active in their own learning. It also takes into account individual learning styles and aims to foster the understanding of students in a variety of ways. It is important that both the teacher and the student think of learning as a fluid, an ever-changing dynamic that is open to the inevitable alterations of the world itself.

Key parameters of this type of classroom:

  • Even when students have the same learning episode, each person will still draw upon their own set of experiences to interpret it.
  • Constructing meaning and evaluating information is a continuous process that students must take responsibility for.
  • As new information requires evaluation it may require individuals to call into question their own set of beliefs to either accept or reject it.

Teachers or tutors of this method are not the ones in control. They are mere facilitators of information and are there to be used as a guide and sounding board by the student for their own self-guidance. A constructivist teacher must be able to adopt a support role and let the learner own their discoveries.
Constructivist Teaching and Learning

What is the role of a constructivist teacher?

The integral point of constructivist teaching is to provide a curriculum that is malleable and can be re-imagined when a student’s experiences, interests and skills become part of the picture. It is vital to appreciate that each student will respond to and evaluate information according to their own philosophy and learning episodes should reflect this variance. A teacher’s central role is to ensure their students feel safe to learn freely and are supported in their individual learning styles.

Key principles for a constructivist teacher:

  • Present tasks with real-world application so that students can contextualise their knowledge easily.
  • Give assistance so that students are able to consolidate their established understanding with their new learning.
  • Provide scaffolds to bridge the gap between what learners know and what they are being presented with.
  • Enable relevant experts to lead lessons when appropriate.

In a constructivist classroom the student becomes the centre of attention. Learning revolves around them and uses their personal skills and level to drive the lesson progression and content. In order to challenge themselves, students need to know how to influence their ideas and elicit change. This alteration is aided by learning the significance of societal thinking or community ideals that shape a culture’s understanding. Therefore, the use of tutors or peers in a constructivist classroom is a pivotal addition to their education. It can be a new challenge for them, as it involves having a lot more responsibility for their own progress.

What is the role of the student in a constructivist classroom?

Ordinarily students begin the learning process with pre-determined sets of ideas: prior experience and knowledge. By actively participating in their own learning they can challenge, explore and recreate these preconceptions with new ideas and concepts. By adopting a new perspective, students can start to break down their own barriers and move to a new level of understanding. They also need to explore why they hold certain beliefs and what has shaped them. Students should enter this type of classroom with an open mind and a goal of moving beyond their current level of understanding.

Key tasks of a student learning in a constructivist classroom:

  • Students must learn to combine new information with their current knowledge.
  • Reflect on their own experiences and establish how they have been affected by them.
  • Learners should value the trial and error approach by questioning ideas and evaluating concepts through real-world activities.
  • Students must be in control of what and how they learn.

Ultimately, constructivism is a way for education to impart more responsibility on the learner to own their understanding. If a student can influence their own learning, it will create more tangibility for them to see its importance. As a result, a constructivist classroom sees an increased due-diligence and greater outcomes from its participants than its traditional counterparts.

What are the benefits of a constructivist approach for students?

The constructivist learning approach offers students several significant benefits over traditional classroom learning, making it a valued educational model. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Enhanced understanding — By actively engaging with the material, students construct their own understanding and make personal connections to the content. This deepens their grasp of subjects and helps them apply knowledge in various contexts.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills — Constructivism challenges students with real-world problems, requiring them to analyse, evaluate and create solutions. This fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in both academic and real-life situations.
  • Active learning — Instead of passively receiving information, students in a constructivist classroom are active participants in their learning. This engagement encourages curiosity and motivation, making the learning process more enjoyable and effective.
  • Personalised learning experiences — Constructivism values the unique background and experiences of each student, allowing for personalised learning paths. This approach respects individual learning styles and paces, leading to more tailored and meaningful educational experiences.
  • Collaborative skills — Many constructivist activities involve group work, which helps students develop collaborative skills. Learning to work with others, share ideas and respect different viewpoints prepares students for teamwork and communication challenges in the future.
  • Self-reflection and metacognition — Constructivism encourages students to reflect on their learning process, helping them become more aware of their own thought patterns and learning strategies. This self-awareness, or metacognition, is crucial for lifelong learning and self-improvement.
  • Adaptability and flexibility — By engaging with dynamic learning environments and diverse perspectives, students learn to adapt to new situations and be flexible in their thinking. This adaptability is a valuable skill in a rapidly changing world.
  • Ownership of learning — Constructivism places the responsibility of learning on the students, empowering them to take ownership of their educational journey. This fosters a sense of independence and confidence in their abilities to learn and grow.
  • Emotional and social development — Constructivist classrooms provide a supportive environment where students can express themselves, take risks and learn from failures. This contributes to emotional resilience and social development as students learn to navigate interpersonal relationships within a learning context.

What are some examples of constructivist classroom activities?

In a constructivist classroom, learning activities are designed to encourage students to build their own understanding through hands-on experiences and reflection. Here are some examples:

  • Real-world problem solving — In this approach, students tackle real-life problems or case studies relevant to the subject matter. They work collaboratively to propose and evaluate solutions, applying their learning in a practical context and developing critical thinking and teamwork skills.
  • Peer teaching — Students work in pairs or small groups to teach each other about a particular topic. This method encourages students to communicate their understanding and clarify their thoughts, which reinforces their learning.
  • Exploratory research projects — Students choose their own questions or topics of interest and conduct research using various sources. They gather evidence, analyse their findings and present their conclusions, connecting new knowledge with what they already know.
  • Reflective journals or blogs — Students maintain a journal or blog where they reflect on their learning process, discuss challenges they faced and articulate their understanding of new concepts. This activity encourages self-reflection and helps students consolidate their knowledge.
  • Hands-on experiments and simulations — Through direct observation and manipulation of materials, students conduct experiments or participate in simulations to explore scientific principles or other subject-specific concepts. This experiential learning supports the construction of knowledge by allowing students to test theories and observe outcomes firsthand.
  • Interactive discussions and debates — Class sessions are organised around discussions or debates on specific topics, where students are encouraged to share their viewpoints and challenge each other’s ideas. This fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter and promotes the development of communication skills.
  • Group projects and collaborative work — Students work in teams to complete a project that requires collective research, planning and execution. This method emphasises the importance of collaborative learning, as students rely on each other’s strengths and learn to navigate group dynamics.

Constructivism reshapes education by focusing on learners actively constructing knowledge through experiences rather than passively absorbing information.

By fostering an environment where students take responsibility for their own learning, question assumptions and apply new insights, constructivism aims to produce more profound understanding and lifelong learners.

It also challenges educators to create learning experiences that are not just informative but transformative, catering to the unique needs of students for a more effective and engaging learning journey.

Unlock your child’s potential at Tutoring For Excellence

At Tutoring For Excellence, we craft personalised learning experiences in line with the constructivist approach to education. Our method encourages students to take charge of their learning journey, fostering a deeper understanding and cultivating lifelong learners.

With the flexibility to choose the tutoring location, we make learning accessible and convenient. Discover how we can support your child in subjects like Maths, English, Biology and Chemistry, ensuring they achieve their academic goals.


How often are tutoring sessions recommended?

To ensure consistent progress, we require a minimum commitment of one hour per week during term dates. This frequency allows for sustained learning and adequate time to address the student’s needs.

How can I monitor my child’s progress in tutoring?

Our tutors engage in regular feedback sessions with both parents and students. This communication is key to understanding your child’s development and areas of improvement.

What determines the cost of tutoring services?

Our tutoring fees are determined by the qualifications of our tutors. Their rate reflects their level of expertise and educational background, ensuring you receive quality instruction tailored to your child’s needs.

What qualifications do your tutors hold?

Our tutors come from diverse educational backgrounds, including university students pursuing related disciplines, graduates with relevant degrees and certified teachers. This variety allows us to match your child with a tutor who best fits their academic needs and learning style.