How to Teach History in a Constructivist Approach?

The constructivist teaching approach is usually based on the constructivist learning theory developed by John Dewey and Jean Piaget. The approach requires that learners expand their knowledge through experiences, and therefore using influential based teaching techniques could improve their learning and be able to remember such concepts even in the future. All ideas are based on some prior knowledge and experiences, which then need to be introduced to learners. A constructivist approach is thus an ideal approach when teaching history lessons. The approach emphasizes social skills and collaboration, and therefore students are allowed to form groups to discuss some of the challenging topics.

Below are some of the top ways to successfully teach history using the constructivist approach.

Example of Methods for Constructivist Approach in History

• Research assignments

book, pen and magnifying glass

You could come up with some historical topics and assign the tasks to the learners to research and make reports on the findings. The constructivist approach calls for intellectual collaboration, and therefore you could divide the students into different groups in which they can comfortably handle the assignments. All students will be involved in active discussions on the given research topics upon which they will be able to represent their findings in the class. For instance, you could ask the students to research more on the formation of governments in different nations as they cite examples on every form of government formation in the different countries. The students will be able to do some comprehensive research on such a topic from the existing information on the given topic. They will then combine their opinions and draft a report on their findings. The discussions will be a great way to improve their memory on the given topic.

• Field trips

people waiting for the train

Taking your history students for a field trip exposes them to the real-world context of what they have been learning in class. The leaners will be able to relate the historical theories to what they see in the real world. The concepts will stick in their memories since they have a clear view of the exact things they have been learning in class. The field trips should also be accompanied by class discussions as the learners get to share their experiences on their findings during the field trips.

• Class discussions

student raising his hand Constructivist Approach

The constructive approach emphasis on group learning. Therefore encouraging discussions in your classes should be a great way to improve learning and help students memorize all aspects taught in class. However, you need to ensure that all students are actively participating in the discussions. Some students may be lazy and will tend to leave all the tasks to a specific group of students as they relax to wait for the results. Let every student participate in the topic being discussed. All leaners should also be able to present the results after the findings on the research projects. This will not only make them active but improve their knowledge of the relevant research topics.

• Films

Films provide a visual context of a given topic. The illustrations are significant to help students remember every detail of the concept being elaborated. It brings a sense of experience amongst the students. Leaners tend to remember the contents taught in a visual approach quickly. Therefore getting some relevant video clips for the given subject could help improve the understanding of the given topic.

• Discovery Method

Experimentation techniques, such as deductive method and inductive method, involve learners performing some experiments’ at an individual or group level and sharing their findings in class. This is also a great way to improve understanding of a given topic since students will be able to remember every detail of the given subject.

• Illustrations

You could as well use charts and diagrams to give descriptions on a given subject. Illustrations help leaners get a visual context of the given topic, which as well improves their knowledge on the subject.

• Random tests

You need to subject the leaners into some random tests to determine if they effectively captured all the concepts taught in class. The constructivist approach requires learners to be subjected to critical thinking to come up with answers to the given questions. Critical thinking makes them expand their knowledge on the given topic. This could also improve the active participation of lazy students in the class. Let the students sit for random short tests after every topic. The tests could also in open discussion where you ask every student in turns to orally discuss the given question in class. This technique will be effective in improving learner’s concentration and focus in class.

• Engaging learners in the discussion

Learning some history on some given topics can be boring. Students may lose focus and direct their attention to different things. It is thus important to make the learning engaging in interactive as well. Let students give suggestions on given topics of discussions and also feel free to ask questions on areas they did not understand. This helps improve their participation in class, and they will be able to memorize such concepts and as well improve their history performances.

• Organize the topics in an orderly manner

Every topic should relate to the previous discussion. It should be able to expand the leaner’s knowledge of the previous concepts taught in class. It is, therefore, important that organize your information in an orderly manner such that every topic is related to concepts in the previous lessons. You could as well come up with questions after every topic to evaluate the student’s performances.

A constructivist approach is one of the most appropriate techniques in the education sector meant to improve learners’ performances. Using the method for your history lessons is thus an excellent recommendation to enhance your learners’ memory on the given topics and as well improve their grades. Let the teaching be engaging as students feel free to give their opinions and also ask questions on the challenging areas of study. Active participation of all students in the group discussions should also be emphasized to ensure that all learners are actively involved in handling the given assignments. You should also subject the students to some tests to evaluate their understanding and performances on particular topics.