A comparison of students learning in a university course


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Constructivists teaching enhance three underlying things to student are: deep level of understanding to the material, activation of previous knowledge, extended level of learning from understanding to executing the information in real situation or other across the subjects and brings students to the level of creation (Yuen & Hau, 2006). Constructivist teaching allow students to take ownership of their own learning as well as take a part in developing other s' understanding. The socio-constructivist conceptual framework is underpinning to vygotsky principles of ZPD (1978 as cited in Shepard, 2000) that social interaction determines the learning.

Presume aspects/ upsides of constructivist theories:

Activate the prior knowledge

Provide opportunity to students to actively participate in learning and meaning making

Allow students to take an ownership of their own learning and understanding

Transfer is unlimited; learner can apply their knowledge and skills into other situation.

Develop self-monitoring skills

Constructivist teaching is an alternative of conventional instructional practice of teacher-center teaching.

Why the study was conducted:

This paper describes the problem for conducting this case-study is based on many scientific researches results which elicited that university teaching are confined with teacher-centered approach thereby knowing the tenet of constructivism in practice is limited which impede limited learning outcomes. Through this comparative study of teaching is to find the significance of constructivist teaching and differences between teacher-centered and learner-centered teaching in university.

Another purpose of the study is to clarify a miss conception about constructivists teaching that discussion take more time however, more content is covered in teacher-centered teaching. Although conventional teaching covered content according to the time frame but students have less chance to process the information and build new knowledge. So this study could mean to provide a clear picture of constructivist teaching and it impacts of learning.

Review of literature:

Academic literature defines teacher-centered method tap into the structure based teaching epistemology where students learn through authoritative entities (Duffy & Jonassen, 1992 as cited in Yuen & Hau, 2006). They more elaborated the properties of structured world is defined and run similar like as they prescribe already. Moreover, it is likely undynamic and constant. Teachers' role in teacher-centered classroom is to transmit knowledge into learners' head and students are assume to preserve that knowledge and use as situation does require. In contrast, constructivist espouse the dynamic epistemology of learning and teaching in which students take responsibility of what they want to learn. In this relation, students are more active participant of their own learning and understanding.

According to Brooks and Brooks (1993), constructivist teaching has brought new tenet of learning and teaching. There are following underlying principles of constructivist teaching which define as giving value to students' opinion, incorporate prior knowledge to new knowledge, arrangement of concepts cohesively, and assessment of authentic task take into account.

There are many optimal features of constructivist approach of teaching and learning one is that it allow individual to elaborate their thinking of particular material which is not only adhere their learning also extend others thinking and help them to retention (Anderson, 2000).

Methods of study:

In this study, there were 74 participants from university in Hongkong. They all were first-year students of Education and studied a course of Educational Psychology. In this study author observed different topic throughout the whole semester which comprise on four which taught according to constructivist principles which is mention before and also assess with teacher-center approach of teaching. This study was examined via observation, course assignment and interviews.

Data collection:

Data were collected by notes taking, documents including email, handout, quiz papers and recording the lessons so forth. Moreover, individual interviewed was conducted on telephone or in person. The interview was around 60 - 90 minutes in length. However, altogether 68 interviewed were conducted and 17 students were interviewed all the way through the study, one of the participants was remain at the end of the final round.

Data analysis:

Data were analyzed on two levels. They assessed student after the each lesson completion and retention has assessed after in the end of course. Additionally, they also evaluated students' understanding on the basis of pre-class interviews and then compare with post-class interviewed. In this study, author used to assess students' knowledge on the revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) as a framework. Cognitive level of learning taxonomy is comprises on different categories from lower-level to the upper-level of task understanding are: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating, namely. But in this study author used the category of remember as a predictor of recall and evaluate and create as a critiquing and generating knowledge.

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