Facilitating teacher's understanding and practice of constructivist notion of teaching and learning: A focus on soliciting students prior knowledge

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This small-scale action research seeks to explore possibilities and challenges in facilitating a teacher to elicit students' prior knowledge for classroom teaching and learning processes. This effort is based on the rationale, informed by the constructivist notion of teaching and learning, that is students' are not blank slates' or empty vessels', they do bring prior knowledge, experiences and attitudes to the classroom context and are active constructors' of their own knowledge. For this, I as an action researcher worked with one lower-secondary level social studies teacher in a community based school of Karachi. In this respect, the study explores the existing perceptions and practices of the participant teacher with reference to focus this research. Subsequently, a general action plan was devised to facilitate the teacher's understanding about the constructivist notion of teaching and learning in general, and the solicitation of students' prior knowledge in particular. This action plan was implemented being sensitive to filed situation and participant teacher' needs. In this regard, data for reconnaissance and observation of action implementation stages were collected through classroom observations (through taking running notes), semi-structured interviews, researcher' reflective diary and document analysis. The gathered data was analyzed at each stage throughout the process. The study reports some possible strategies to facilitate teacher in developing understanding about constructivist teaching and learning, and soliciting students' prior knowledge. These are: a) input' through relevant literature to develop participant' conceptual understanding of the topic under question b) sharing reflection from classroom practice episodes c) brainstorming, concept mapping, Know, Want to know, and Learnt (KWL), and students' analogies (as some strategies). The report concludes by presenting some key learnings as I experienced as a teacher educator and action researcher during the process, and possible focus for further research.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library