A constructivist approach to the teaching and learning of science
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
This qualitative study explored the possibilities of implementing a constructivist approach for teaching and learning of science in one private school in Pakistan. The action research was conducted in a way whereby the author played two different roles: that of a teacher and a researcher. The study explored the challenges and facilitating factors that a teacher might encounter while implementing a constructivist approach in the classroom. A major argument against the approach has been that challenges such as teacher's own professional skills, attitude of different stakeholders, (students & parents), and the present examination system can become hindrances, but they can be dealt with through teacher's own beliefs, attitude, reflections, school culture and above all, the willingness and commitment of the teacher towards the implementation of this approach. The study supports the intention that beliefs do guide practice. Therefore, before the implementation of any new instructional strategy, there is a need to shift teacher's beliefs towards it. This study argues that adding theory into the existing beliefs of teachers does not in itself result in successful change until the teachers are motivated. A teacher's positive attitude can act as a catalyst, which can trigger the change process in the school for the betterment of students' learning. The study further reveals that it is difficult for individuals to implement the process on their own without collegial support. Coaching was found to be the most significant support factor for the teacher to internalize the instructional change. Expert coaching was also found to be necessary for novice teachers during implementation. Moreover, peer coaching can be embedded in the school culture for the success of this implementation. The presence of described elements in the school culture made it feasible for me to try out this approach in practice. After receiving constructive learning experiences, positive changes were noted by both, teachers and students. These included students' understanding of the subject matter and development of different skills. Such positive outcomes may bring about a change in the teachers' attitude towards teaching and learning of science and add to the possibilities of implementing a constructivist approach in the school.
Kanjee, A. (1999). A constructivist approach to the teaching and learning of science (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.