Constructivism: A Creative Method of Teaching
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is in essence the ability of a person to connect the missing codes between existing ideas and develop a solution to the problem in an all together novel form which is not only acceptable but has the quality of generating a better use.
In a conventional school system we follow a set pattern of generating knowledge in a passive form through teacher centred methods, where students cram the given knowledge without any thinking or logic. But recently the need for the active involvement of students has been increasingly felt because after the completion of the required degree students do not get any practical insight and field implementation skills of the knowledge they have gained, making them only mechanical reproducers of theoretical knowledge.
So, in our school system we need to develop strategies and their use in classroom teaching in order to inculcate the seeds of creativity and out of box thinking process in students.
Conventionally in our classroom we teach students to answer questions in the curriculum in a set pattern, letting them learn only the art of reproducing in a rote form what has been taught without any concern for the ifs, buts and alternative solutions.
In the Constructivist approach, creative teaching methods are very useful in generating the skill of creative expression among students. Teachers must follow the use of these methods for the purpose of inculcating creativity in students. Brainstorming sessions and a lot of interaction open the doors of Creative Thinking among students. The constructivist approach has five steps
At the first level a teacher should Engage the students in the concept letting them develop curiosity towards the concept. Interest of the students in the concept and genuine involvement is needed for the right understanding of the concept. If the teacher gives the answers right away then the step of engagement will never really develop. For instance, instead of teaching ‘A’ for apple right away, a teacher should give space for ‘A’ and listing of terms which stand for the letter ‘A’.
After the successful first step establishment of engagement the constructivist approach leads to the second step Explore which opens up the avenues of thinking process for the problem at hand. In fact, this step is the gist of the approach where a student opens up divergent thinking process towards the various dimensions of the concept. Here the possibility of the letter ‘A’ goes beyond the boundaries of the classroom and the students are able to give all the varied extensions of the letter ‘A’
This step is the key towards invoking creativity among students and all creative expressions get form at this stage.
After exploration the constructive approach leads to Explanation where again the sky is the limit and the students are involved in giving creative explanations to their creative thoughts and their relevance. Here the teacher is also involved in the process and he guides the students on a fixed line and the vastness of the concept is laid down through explanation.
After explanation Elaboration comes into focus here the teacher guides and elaborates the prospective exploration of the students on a summative form thus the understanding and the practical grounding of the concept is established at this stage.
At the fifth step, Evaluation fixes the concept of discussion on an analytical base, and an understanding of the boundaries and dimensions of the concept, its positive and negative aspects are obtained. Here the learner is once again assessed and his practical grasp is tested.
Thus, by following the constructivist approach of teaching in a class, one can open up the scope of Creative expression and thinking of the students.
In fact, any concept of virtually any subject be it a language, art, science, social science can be taught using this approach in the class.
The Constructive approach will definitely prepare the students not just on theoretical grounds but also hone their practical skills.
Dr Zehra Banu is presently working as Associate Professor at Vidya Bhawan Govindram Seksaria Teacher’s College, Udaipur, Rajasthan. She holds degrees in M Sc, M Ed and PhD (Education), besides successfully clearing NET (Education). She is a Gold Medalist in the M Ed Course from Mohan Lal Sukhadia University, Udaipur in the session 2001. She has more than fifteen years experience in Teacher Education and has been teaching B Ed and M Ed classes; she has guided ten dissertations of M A Education and fifteen dissertations of M Ed course.
She has written twenty-two articles on varied issues of education, its prospects, problems and evaluative measures which have been published in reputed journals of the country including University News & BRICKS Journal.
She has authored three books and co-authored two books in education.