“Learning is active mental work, not passive reception of teaching” By Anita Woolfolk
What is Constructivism?
It is a theory that learners generate new knowledge from existing knowledge (Caputi, L. 2020). As people navigate the world around them, they “construct” knowledge from their own experiences and add new information into their pre-existing knowledge. So, students have an opportunity to use inquiry to construct new knowledge and become active learners. Teachers then can encourage students to also use active techniques such as real-world problem solving or simulations to create additional knowledge.
How do I use constructivism in my classroom?
I use constructivism in my classroom through the active teaching/learning method with my Nursing students. They are guided to construct new concepts and ideas using inquiry through their observations, past experiences, pre-existing knowledge, and active learning rather than passively accepting what they are taught. Using the constructivism theory will enhance the students’ motivation and retention of knowledge. Several examples of active learning include reflecting on real-life experiences, examining case studies, using problem-solving, and simulations. Another example of active learning in my Nursing course is the use of vSims, which relies on simulations of real nursing scenarios. Using vSims helps Nursing students to build their critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Another benefit of the constructivist theory encourages collaboration among students through participation in study groups. Students not only learn from themselves (competitive) but also learn from their peers (cooperative).
Active learning further applies in my classroom by using interactive lectures and assigning quizzes prior to the lecture. An example of the application of active learning in interactive lectures is to use inquiry by asking students open-ended questions to generate scholarly or thoughtful responses, thus, demonstrating their understanding and engagement. Assigning a quiz prior to the lecture can encourage or stimulate students to read the chapter ahead. This will provide a better understanding of the material on the day of the class.
Also, another way to implement active learning is through a case study approach. In a case study approach, students use discussions and analyses to examine a patient’s condition from actual real-life examples. Case study analyses is very important in a clinical component to investigate a patient’s problem, prioritize care, and implement interventions.
Caputi, L. (Ed.) (2015). NLN certified nurse educator review book: The official NLN guide to the CNE exam. Washington, DC: National League for Nursing.
Woolfolk, A. E. (1993). Educational psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon
Hello, my name is Geetha Ajay. I am an assistant professor at Allied Health Science Department – Nursing. I immigrated from India and have been living in the United States for the past 36 years. I earned my Associates Degree in nursing from Nassau Community College. My BSN was earned from Kaplan University. I then achieved my master’s in clinical nurse specialist, and post masters in adult-gerontology nurse practitioner from the College of Staten Island. Finally, I received my doctorate degree (DNP) in healthcare systems leadership from Chamberlain University. My dissertation topic was on the prescription opioid crisis. I am a board-certified medical surgical nurse with 17 years of experience and a certified adult gerontology nurse practitioner for the past six years.