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Module 1: Módulo 3: construtivismo

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Construtivismo psicológica

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The main idea of psychological constructivism is that a person learns by mentally organising and reorganising new information or experiences. The organisation happens partly by relating new experiences to prior knowledge that is already meaningful and well understood. John Dewey (1938-1998) is a well-known educational philosopher of the early twentieth century associated with constructivism. Although Dewey did not use the term constructivism in most of his writing, his point of view relates strongly to constructivism. He discussed in detail the implications of constructivism for educators. Dewey argued that: Students learn primarily by building their own knowledge Teachers should adjust the curriculum to fit students’ prior knowledge and interests A curriculum needs to relate to the activities and responsibilities that students will probably have after leaving school To many educators these days, his ideas may seem merely like good common sense, but they were innovative and progressive at the beginning of the twentieth century. Another recent example of psychological constructivism is the cognitive theory of Jean Piaget (Piaget, 2001; Gruber & Voneche, 1995). Piaget described learning as interplay between two mental activities that he called assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is the interpretation of new information in terms of pre-existing concepts, information or ideas.Example: A preschool child who already understands the concept of a bird might initially label any flying object with this term, even butterflies or mosquitoes. Accommodation is the revision or modification of pre-existing concepts in terms of new information or experiences. It occurs alongside assimilation.Example: A preschool child who initially generalises the concept of a bird to include any flying object, eventually revises the concept to include only particular kinds of flying objects, such as robins and sparrows but not others like mosquitoes or airplanes. For Piaget, assimilation and accommodation work together to enrich a child’s thinking and to create cognitive equilibrium. Cognitive equilibrium is a balance between reliance on prior information and openness to new information. It consists of an ever-growing repertoire of mental representations for objects and experiences. Piaget called each mental representation a schema (plural: schemata). A schema is a concept accompanied by an elaborated mixture of vocabulary, actions and experiences related to that concept. Example: A child’s schema for bird includes not only the relevant verbal knowledge, but also the child’s experiences with birds, pictures of birds and conversations about birds. As assimilation and accommodation about birds and other flying objects operate over time, the child does not just revise and add to his vocabulary, but also adds and remembers relevant new experiences and actions. From these collective revisions and additions the child gradually constructs whole new schemata about birds, butterflies, and other flying objects. This diagram shows the relationship between the various elements of the Piagetian version of psychological constructivist learning. This model is quite individualistic as it does not say much about how other people involved with the learner might assist in assimilating or accommodating information. His theory is therefore often considered less about learning and more about development or long term change in a person resulting from multiple experiences that may not be planned deliberately.