List of benefits for using a student-centered approach

The following is a list of some of the benefits of a constructivist approach, broken down by specific area of learning:

Develops thinking skills

• Problem solving teaches students to consider multiple perspectives on a given situation or phenomenon.

• This develops flexibility in thinking and reasoning skills, as students compare and contrast various possibilities in order to draw their conclusions.

• Students tap into their prior knowledge and experience as they attempt to solve a problem. Thus, students continually integrate new knowledge into existing knowledge, thereby providing context and creating a personal "storage room" of resources that will be available for future problem-solving needs.

• Students also learn to make connections and associations by relating the subject matter to their own life experience.

• Students learn to support their conclusions with evidence and logical arguments.

• Students learn to synthesize several sources of information and references in order to draw conclusions and then evaluate these conclusions.

• Students learn to question ideas and knowledge through the process of comparing and contrasting alternative ideas and contexts.

• Students are encouraged to engage in individual reflection in order to organize and understand the world.

• Students experience insights as they think through a problem or inquiry activity, and draw inferences that allow them to go beyond the simple acquisition of facts and information by learning how to see implications and apply them to other situations.

Develops communication and social skills

• Students must learn how to clearly articulate their ideas as well as to collaborate on tasks effectively by sharing the burden of group projects. Students must therefore exchange ideas and so must learn to "negotiate" with others and to evaluate their contributions in a socially acceptable manner. This is essential to success in the real world, since they will always be exposed to a variety of experiences in which they will have to navigate among others' ideas.

• Students learn how to communicate their ideas and findings with others. This becomes a self-assessment activity, whereby the students gain more insight into how well or poorly they actually understand the concepts at hand.

Encourages alternative methods of assessment

• Traditional assessment is based on pen-and-paper tests whereby students demonstrate or reproduce knowledge in the form of short responses and multiple-choice selection, which often inspire little personal engagement. Constructivist assessment engages the students' initiative and personal investment through journals, research reports, physical models, and artistic representations. Engaging the creative instincts develops a student's ability to express knowledge through a variety of ways. The student is also more likely to retain and transfer the new knowledge to real life.

Helps students transfer skills to the real world

• Students adapt learning to the real world, gaining problem-solving skills and ability to do a critical analysis of a given set of data. These skills enable the student to adapt to a constantly changing real-world environment. Thus, classroom learning does not result in (only) acquisition of a canon of absolute "truth"; it also results in a resource of personal knowledge.

Promotes intrinsic motivation to learn

• Constructivism recognizes and validates the student's point of view, so that rather than being "wrong" or "right," the student reevaluates and readjusts his knowledge and understanding. Such an emphasis generates confidence and self esteem, which, in turn, motivate the student to tackle more complex problems and themes.

Unit 1: Lesson 1- For Teachers