Role of The Teacher in a constructivist Classroom

 role of the teacher in a constructivist classroom-

The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The teacher is not an instructor or taskmaster, he is a helper and a guide.(Aurobindo, 1910). The teacher’s main focus should be on guiding students which will lead them to develop and consolidate their own inferences on the subject. Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers. They use many techniques inthe teaching process. For example, they may: 

  • prompt students to formulate their own questions (inquiry)
  • allow multiple interpretations and expressions of learning(multiple intelligences)
  • encourage group work and the use of peers as resources(collaborative learning)

In a traditional setting, the teacher takes charge of a lot of the intellectual work in that classroom. The teacher plans the scope and sequence, pre-synthesizes and prepackages a lot of the learning. In constructivist classroom, the student is in charge of that packaging. Thestudent gets amorphous information, the student gets ill-defined problems,and it's the student who has to put together his or her own personal questionand figure out how to go about answering it with the teacher being themediator of that meaning-making process. The core of the process ofteaching is the arrangement of the environment with which the student caninteract. (Dewey, 1918)

In such a process,

- Teacher is a mediator.

- Teacher is a facilitator.

- Teacher organizes learning experiences to promote the zone of

proximal development.

- Teacher is a co-learner.

- Teacher is a democratic leader.

In constructivist teaching, gaining knowledge isviewed as being just as important as the product. Thus assessment should not only be based on tests but also on observation of thestudent, the student’s work, and the student’s point of view

Differences between Traditional Classroom and constructivist Classroom

Strict adherence to fixed

curriculum is highly valued.

Pursuit of student questions

and interests is valued

Materials are primarily

textbooks and workbooks.

Materials include primary

sources of material and

manipulative materials

Learning is based on


Learning is interactive,

building on what the

student already knows.


Teachers disseminate

information to students;

students are recipients of


Teachers have a dialogue

with students, helping

students construct their

own knowledge.

The teacher's role is directive,

rooted in authority.

Teacher's role is interactive,

rooted in negotiation

Assessment is through

testing, correct answers.

testing, correct answers.

Assessment includes

student works,

observations, and points of

view, as well as tests.


More teacher centered

More pupil centered

Content oriented

Process oriented

Based on behaviourist

theories of learning

Based on cognitive and

humanist theories of



The learner is a receiver of


Learner constructs



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