Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Brooks, J. G., & Brooks, M. G. (1993). In search of understanding: The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

This book provides a rationale for the development of classrooms based on constructivist learning. To change from traditional to constructivist classrooms, teachers must make important paradigm shifts in their views of knowledge and learning, and rethink their current teaching strategies in light of these new ideas. The authors describe five guiding principles for teaching derived from constructivism: (1) posing problems of emerging relevance to learners; (2) structuring learning around Ôbig ideas' or primary concepts; (3) seeking and valuing students' points of view; (4) adapting curriculum to address students' suppositions; and (5) assessing student learning in the context of the teaching. They provide research support for and classroom examples of each principle. The final section of the book includes a set of descriptors of constructivist teaching behaviors that serves as a framework within which teachers can experiment with this new approach. Examples make the descriptors fairly concrete and highlight the practices of teachers who are mediators of students and environments rather than presenters of information. The authors make suggestions for bold changes in the institutional settings of schooling to create new norms that support constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. For education reform to have value, they say, it much begin with "how students learn and how teachers teach," not with political or policy mandates.

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