It is my philosophy that developing, revising and redesigning pedagogical strategies should be a continuous process. By consistently adding new developments to the classroom, teachers create a more effective learning environment.
As an ideal approach to enhance the learning environment for my ASL classroom, I look to the constructivist learning theory. I’d rather productively engage students to actively and mentally participate in their work, than pour knowledge into passive students.
Constructivism is a perspective of learning where students dynamically participate in the process of learning to seek and construct knowledge and acquire skills for themselves (Educational Broadcasting Corporation, 2004). This is based on the active participation of learners as “activities are learners-centered” to help students develop effective thinking skills and to understand or construct a meaning on their own (Education Encyclopedia – StateUniversity.com 2016). In this approach, we, as teachers, transform our instruction to facilitate independent thinking and learning in our students (Martin G. Brooks and Jacqueline Grennon Brooks, November 1999).
When describing constructivism, the following terms are used to refer to the models of learning activities: Anchored Instruction (Bransford), Connectivism (Siemens, Downes), and Situated Learning Theory (Lave). I call this environment a blended learning model as it combines aspects of each plan, including mini-lesson lectures, functional video resources, guided hands-on interactive learning, group/support discussion, and practices.
Below are the viewpoints on each model and what I will use to construct the learning environment.
1) Anchored instruction– This learning approach allows students to learn, identify, and organize information and knowledge through lessons, lectures, supplementary resources, video, and interactive activities.
2) Connectivism – In this approach, learners have access to online platforms to share, explore and acquire knowledge, facts, etc. using technology resources. Teachers also have access to the platform to deliver lectures.
3) Situated Learning Theory – This learning approach engages learners in language and culture by facilitating interpersonal communication with the community and natives to work on their second language skills.
For further information, below are the links to each models with its additional description.
Situated Learning Theory – http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/situated-learning.html
Downes, S. (2009, April). New technology supporting informal learning. Retrieved from http://www.downes.ca/post/51342
I enjoyed reading Downes’ meticulous paper. Also I gained a better understanding of the meaning of ‘connectivism.’ He expressed nicely that online technology has stretched the boundaries of conversation and interaction by providing an engaging and immersive environment for student learning.
Bransford, J. D., Sherwood, R. D., Hasselbring, T. S., Kinzer, C. K., & Williams, S. M. (1990). Anchored instruction: Why we need it and how technology can help. Cognition, Education, and Multimedia: Exploring Ideas in High Technology, 115-141. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=swCAOcQUSn4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA115&dq=anchored+instruction&ots=5BfkzdeC94&sig=KOzYhW1fOD7b2VmnnAHcXU3DdwE#v=onepage&q=anchored%20instruction&f=false
This work well explained the instruction of Anchored that involves additional resources. This guided me to develop some ideas for my work.
The author Jean Lava clearly illuminated regarding situating learning that participating in community activities gives learners benefits as they go through social interactions to acquire knowledge. This supported my interactive learning idea plan for the classroom.
Education Encyclopedia – StateUniversity.com (2016) Learning Theory – Constructivist Approach Retrieved from
Martin G. Brooks and Jacqueline Grennon Brooks (November 1999) The Courage to Be Constructivist Retrieved from
Educational Broadcasting Corporation (2004) Concept to Classroom: What is constructivism Retrieved from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html