Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Constructivist Theory

I thought that this article was interesting (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/09/15/brown)

Brown University takes a very unique approach to the way they structure their curriculum.  It seems to be aligned with constructivist theory pretty closely.  They have very few "required" courses; instead, they allow students to essentially build their own program as long as they meet a few very loose guidelines.  A lot of academics have bristled at this philosophy, but it raises interesting questions about student engagement and their active participation in constructing their own knowledge.  Very different from the approach most universities take (i.e. students are required to take a long list of courses or a course from a variety of different categories).  It seems like most universities operate under somewhat of a behaviourist mindset in that they believe that if students complete a prescribed set of requirements (the stimulus), they will automatically emerge at the end of their college experience with a general set of knowledge and skills (the response).  

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