Comments on: Pinch Points and the Panicked Teacher Education on the Edge Mon, 17 Sep 2018 15:02:29 +0000 hourly 1 By: RebeccaJ Tue, 21 Apr 2015 02:59:43 +0000 The post-it note idea is great for helping children organize research papers! Your description of the process reminds me of how the ideal constructivist scenario unfolds. General constructivist epistemology suggests that learners must engage with the demonstrations and bring his or her goals to the assignment at hand (Farstrup, A., & Samuels, S. J. (2002). What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction. International Reading Association.). The fact that the teachers did not force the children to go a singular “correct” route allowed students to reassess their goals and interests and find an alternative route with minimal teacher guidance. This also supports the constructivist idea that there is no one way to do a task that exists independently from the student; rather there are multiple options that can be explored by students through self-discovery. Similarly, Wirkala and Kuhn found that problem-based learning—where child figures out a problem with guidance but not direct instruction—is significantly more effective than solely direct instruction (Wirkala, C., & Kuhn, Deanna. (2011). Problem-based learning in K-12 education: Is it effective and how does it achieve its effects? American Educational Research Journal, 48I(5).). One reason why I really liked the post-it approach was because it exemplifies how constructivist methods can be well implemented with minimal teacher guidance even if it does make teachers a little anxious at first.
Not only did the instructional methods mirror constructivist principles, the use of student choice in research topics and the encouragement to further pursue personal interests significantly affects students’ desire to learn. In one study, teachers interviewed fourth graders about why they enjoyed reading—students mostly brought up reading about topics that interested them and that they got to choose (Edmunds, K. M., & Bauserman, K. L. (2006). What teachers can learn about reading motivation through conversations with children. International Reading Association, pp. 414-424). Another researcher, Linda Gambrell, has written several articles about motivation for reading and writing. She has observed that self-selection for topics interesting to individual children is ideal because children are then more likely to engage and expend more effort in the classroom working with self-selected material (Gambrell, L. (1996). Creating classroom cultures that foster reading motivation. The Reading Teacher, 50(1), 14-25).
Overall I really enjoyed reading this article and I think this strategy for working with kids on research projects shows a lot of promise!