Educational Psychology

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Describe one of the theories of learning recognized by educational psychologists.

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Constructivism is an interesting idea, because it recognizes the individuality of each student's life and experiences; it encourages students to attack a central problem or project and work their way backwards, more or less, to a solution.  Students under the constructivist model learn by learning what they don't know, and then figuring out how to remedy those knowledge deficits. It also gives them the freedom to direct their learning in various ways, i.e. cooperative groups working on the same problem or project may arrive at the same resolution via very different pathways.  Crafting effective constructivist lesson plans requires an understanding of what background information and experiences a student is bringing into the classroom.  Constructivism is well-suited to any level of learner, allowing as it does some flexibility and variability in the nuts and bolts of the learning activities.  The oppositional view to constructivism  is what may be called the all-encompassing standardized testing that moves school districts further away from a constructivist model.  Educators are as responsible to the middle and upper echelon of achievers as we are those at the bottom of the achievement scale.  Constructivism theory offers possibilities for an enriching, individualized experience for students but may not be possible to implement in all educational environments.

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