Foundations of Constructivism/Case Examples/Chapter 6.3

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CHAPTER 6.3: Constructivism in Reading Instruction

Introduction[edit]

Cooperative learning in Reading uses sets if instructional methods in which students work in small, mixed-ability learning teams to achieve a common goal. The students in each small reading group are responsible not only for their own learning, but also for helping teammates learn. This positive interdependence is an essential feature for cooperative learning. Cooperative learning in Reading offers opportunities for students to discuss, share ideas, organize their thoughts, and work with other students. It lets them try out new ideas in a small group before speaking to the whole class or finishing a written product. Positive effects on academic achievements are a result of cooperative learning.

Course Description[edit]

Reading Instructional Process 5-day cycle, 1 book. The instructional process begins with active instruction. The teacher provides direct instruction with explanation and modeling of learned skills and strategies. Skills include: cause/effect, main idea, supporting details, plot, characterization, problem/solution, sequencing, and theme. The teacher present vocabulary words, models skill or strategy and then reinforces the skill or strategy as they read aloud. During each part of this process, students are actively engaged as they practice vocabulary review with partners and participate in learning the skill and strategy. Two other components of active instruction is build background of the book and listening comprehension, when the teacher reads aloud. The next part of learning, is the Team work. Teamwork is the cooperative learning aspect of this 5 day lesson. Teamwork consists of partner reading, team discussions, and class discussion. During this part of the process, students read with partners and then silently, discuss strategy use, and answer Team Talk questions. Partner Reading and Team Talk discussion are student-led activities. During this time, students work with partners and then teams as the teacher monitors and reinforces their discussions. Class discussion is teacher-led and serves as a time to review partner and team discussions at the class level.

Constructivist Principles and Pedagogy[edit]

When students work together with constructivist methods such as cooperative learning, academic work becomes more valued by the student themselves and by their peers. Also:

-Students become engaged in their learning because they have to explain their thinking to others.

-Students are motivated to help one another learn.

-Students take responsibility for their own learning.

-Students can "translate" the teacher's language into their own language for one another.

-Students learn to see situations from another's viewpoint, justify their own viewpoints, and analyze ideas.

-Students have fun learning.

When students have to organize their thoughts to explain ideas to teammates, they engage in cognitive elaboration, or an extension of their thinking, which enhances their own understanding.

Conclusion[edit]

When students have to organize their thoughts to explain ideas to teammates, they engage in cognitive elaboration, or an extension of their thinking, which enhances their own comprehension of texts they read. Using constructivist theories in the reading process can help make reading not just an individualized sport, but a team process that students enjoy both individually and together as a group to share their own meaning and thoughts. Reading is fun again!

Glossary[edit]

References and Resources[edit]

Robert E. Slavin, & Nancy A. Madden,. (2007). Reading Wings Guide. Baltimore: Success For All.

Chapter Quiz[edit]

1. True or False: Partner Reading and Team Discussion are student led activities.

2. True or False: Vocabulary is part of active instruction.

3. Which of the following is NOT a constuctivist prinicple?

a. Students are motivated to help one another learn

b. Students learn to see situations from another's viewpoint

c. Students become less engaged in their learning because they have to explain their thinking to others.

d. Students have fun learning

4. Explain what cooperative learning is and what it consists of.