I think that constructivist learning theory will be of great help in making positive changes in history learning process as history isn’t simply dates and facts. The central idea of the theory is that every learner will construct meanings and attitudes toward particular event, historical period and epoch individually. In such a way, constructivist theory encourages critical and creative thinking as students are allowed to refer to their thinking skills and imagination along with common sense.
As a result, theory will improve students’ understanding of history as theory asks students to think by developing independent meanings and attributes incorporating personal experience. (Hein 1996) Constructivist theory requires turning students’ attention by 180 degrees to describe nature, to create specific way to explain nature. Learners are provided with excellent opportunity to interact sensory data and to construct their own world. For example, constructivist theory recommends visiting museums. Theory states that learning is an active process and, therefore, knowledge should be obtained from practical research and visualization.
Students should use sensory input to construct meanings. Learners are allowed to do something, not to passive. Students are encouraged to learn as they are learning. For example, when one tries to learn chronological order of dates and historical events, it is better to simultaneously learn the meaning of the chronology. It is necessary to provide activities which aims at encouraging both mind and head. Learning is social activity associated with teachers, family and other human beings.
Students will be more likely to perform successfully in history learning if they realize the principles rather then tend to avoid them. Finally, motivation plays important role as it helps to learn. Students should know the reason why they should learn this or that material. (Hein 1996) Summing up, constructivist learning theory will influence positively curricula in schools and organization of classroom. Constructivist theory challenges traditional approaches offering new and fresh ideas how to improve educational process.
Hein, George. (1996). Constructivist Learning Theory. Retrieved March 14, 2008, from http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/constructivistlearning.html