To teach or not to teach: Controversy surrounding constructivism in early childhood education

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Abstract

Constructivism is one of the most influential education theories in the 20th century. It promotes that knowledge is socially constructed and the child is an active participant in meaning making. The central controversy surrounding the constructivism in early childhood education is whether the teacher should teach children knowledge or leave them to discover on their own. The current paper analyzed theoretical and empirical evidence from evolutionary developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and theory of mind, and concluded that the teacher’s purposeful teaching is vital to preschoolers’ learning; closely scaffolded instructions may work better for young children; and the teacher should make explicit to children the teaching intention and the knowledge change. Implication to early childhood education reform is discussed. Copyright © 2009 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
JournalHong Kong Journal of Early Childhood
Volume8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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constructivism
childhood
education
teacher
developmental psychology
Teaching
psychology
instruction
reform
learning
evidence

Citation

Wang, Z. (2009). To teach or not to teach: Controversy surrounding constructivism in early childhood education. Hong Kong Journal of Early Childhood, 8(1), 56-65.