My Reflections on Social Constructivism (Journal 3B)

1. In what way is your teaching already shaped by a social constructivist perspective? Is there anything more that you might now consider? Could the CLES be useful for monitoring your teaching?

2. What have you learned in this topic?

My simple understanding on social constructivism is engaging the students through collaborative work with their peers in the classroom. I never thought that there is the fundamental reason behind that which related to the socially constructed of scientific knowledge itself (others knowledge too). Moreover, even though I applied cooperative learning, but I was still intervention my students’ thinking to have one conceptual changes immediately. I think that I was impatient through the process, I forced my students to get the “correct” answer shortly, without gave them opportunities to do much effort. Just giving them “the food” rather than guide them “the way to get the food”. I think it similar as relativist view rather than constructivism itselfJ, even though I applied constructivism (may be pseudo constructivismJ).

In addition, I never think so complex the learning process, as Driver, et all points out, there is no simple rules of teaching. Therefore, I am getting realize my essentials’ role to be a mediator to introduce my students’ on the cultural tolls of learning process. Furthermore, I agree that it is difficult to learn without social process, because since individuals were born, they need social process to learn about something from the adult or community itself. Reflecting on my teaching, how can I push my students to be passive learners to receive “the transferring file” from my mind and ignore their daily activities to receive the knowledge (through social process, even since they were born).

Moreover, as well as the other topic, I learn much from this social constructivism. It is challenge my creativity to create the appropriate teaching strategy, especially on open and critical discourse. I realize that my students should know and apply their critical voice, especially on the value, culture, and myth in their life which sometimes constrains their thinking/decisions. It becomes powerful, if this dilemma could be engaged in the classroom and it also becomes challenges for teachers to represent it in the classroom, especially the using of language. According to Marsh (2000), teachers’ behaviour, especially the language will influence students’ values and behaviour. In my country, for example, the ethical issues in science such as euthanasia. Even though, it is still an ethical debate, but it is not allowed in the religion, as a result, there is no debate in term of these topics, because of the religion power. Therefore, students’ ability to weigh moral issues and make moral judgments is restrained in the classroom. It also constrains teachers’ thinking to apply this critical voice in the classroom which seems to be useless, because the answer will be back to your value, religion, and cultureJ.

Furthermore, since I learn learning environment instrument, I am interested to develop it as the tool on my research. It also one area which is not yet developed in my country and it might be convenient for my colleagues who prefer to develop research on post positive. Therefore CLES instrument could help me as one of tools to evaluate my teaching. The scale could be representing the learning environment that is created, but the integration methods also need to be applied. Not only answer the instrument, but also my own observation and interview with students (may be I need help to do that to consider my intervention on students’ opinion). Moreover, I am curious that can I involve my students on their learning (as Vaille did) ? I never do that, especially on the assessment. According to Linn & Miller (2005), assessment is an integrated process for determining the nature and extent of student learning and development through the active involvement on the students’ learning. I hope that I can apply the collaborative learning in my classroom which build the students’ confidence rather than destroy their self-esteem as learners (Stiggins, 2001).

In addition, I also feel curious when I read all the readings, because not only I want to have depth understanding of social constructivism itself, but also I found this unit gives opportunity for me to understand the philosophy of each type of constructivism. Especially, the reading by Driver, et all, which I found all the words are important for me (I almost highlight all the words, when I came back again to read, I became confuse because too many highlightJ). Moreover, the examples of applying the concepts within the science classroom give me the clear ideas how the process of enculturation is happened in the classroom.

This unit reminds me when I watched the news couple years ago on the topic “ Pluto is not planet. Throughout my learning process of scientific knowledge, I never doubt that the entire concept that I read in the science books or my teachers gave me is true. Then, I was shock when, the one third of astronomy expert decided that the Pluto is not a planet anymore. I became realize how powerful the scientific community decision to change the scientific knowledge which is acceptable or organized valid. At that time, I just thought that it is only my perceptions, but since I engage with this module, I comprehend on the concept that the scientific knowledge is constructed and validated through the social process within the scientific community. Even though, it involves the individuals’ construction, but the socially process is important to construct the scientific knowledge. However, I still think about the scientific community itself, if the knowledge considerable as a science, but not validated by scientific community, it means not scientific knowledge?. If herbal medicine or other things which is generated and validated from certain community (culture), is it still not scientific knowledge? Is it the one that problematic for Emilia and Cupane? (Inclusive, hybrid, etc.).

Furthermore, related to conceptual change, I realize that the existing of conceptual change is because it seems that the goal of science education is achieving the “one absolute truth” of scientific knowledge. This represent on my standardized assessment which is given wright and wrong answer. Therefore, I don’t feel strange if teachers’ and students’ focus on conceptual change itself. Furthermore one example of diagnosis students conception is two-tier diagnosis, I found this instrument is useful to explore students’ conceptions. I plan to create this test one, but with adding open-ended questions which give opportunity for students to bring their other ideas. Even though, may be the list of conceptions will influence their answer, but this instrument will help me as one of many ways to explore my students’ own ideas within “my big class”. However, it will be better if providing open options both on first tier and on second tier. According to Treagust & Chandrasegaran (2007), raw score on the test could underestimate students’ knowledge, for example students who looked on deeper meaning could give the answers which are categorized as wrong answer. Moreover, sometimes it becomes more tests taking skills rather than the extant knowledge. Again, I need to put my dialectical thinking, integral perspectiveJ, nothing is perfect, and everything is complementing each others. I closed my reflection by reflection, I learn many things, and again, I am worried all this valuable things will be volatile under the “standardized assessment”. Hope, it doesn’t discourage me and other teachers in my country and I believe there are many empowered teachers out thereJ.

REFERENCES

Linn, R.L., & Miller, M.D. (2005). Measurement and assessment in teaching. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Stiggins, R.J. (2001). Introduction to the special section: Building a productive assessment future. National Association of Secondary Principals, 85(62), 2-4.

Treagust, D.F. & Chandrasegaran (2007). The Taiwan national science concept learning study in an international perspective. International Journal of Science Education, 29(4), 391-403.

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