This paper seeks to identify and explain the major tenets or principles of constructivist teaching. The paper will also explain and give examples showing how these tenets support science literacy. The following are the major principles of constructivist teaching:Establishment of a socio-moral, cooperative atmosphere: this tenet supports science literacy in that a socio-moral and cooperative atmosphere entails a continual practice of mutual respect. This cooperation occurs between students and their peers as well as students and teachers. Social literacy is supported for example, where there is an opportunity to work in groups, discuss issues, and contribution to class works.Appeal to the interest of children: this principle supports science literacy since it is based on a curriculum that responds directly to the interest of children. This provides opportunities for knowledge construction. The tenet also allows a constructivist teacher to recognize and stimulate the interest of children. This will support science literacy when for example, the teacher observes what children do, solicit the ideas of children, and propose activities that entice children.Teaching in terms of the type of involved knowledge: this tenet defines the kinds of knowledge helpful to constructivist teachers. Physical knowledge, conventional or social knowledge, and logico-mathematical knowledge may be used among children. This supports science literacy in that varying strategies are used for different types of knowledge. For example, with conventional knowledge, children are shown and told the information via direct instruction, in physical knowledge, the children are assisted in getting chances to act on things and their reactions noted while a teacher provides experiences in logico-mathematical knowledge through which student reorganize their own knowledge. Choosing content challenging children: this principle creates a culture of inquiry and develops a teaching curriculum based on ideas which allow a very in-depth study. It supports the science of literacy by providing activities appropriate for wide development levels. For example, it analyzes activities in terms of relationships and regularities.Provide enough time for leaner’s investigation and in-depth engagement: this tenet supports science literacy as it emphasizes on the time available for children’s investigation. For example, children may not be able to construct relations when their time for exploration is limited to ten or twenty minutes a day.Linking ongoing assessment and documentation with curriculum activities: this principle supports science literacy through assessing the performance of children and assessing the curriculum. For example, teachers strive to master learners’ thinking by identifying the kind of relationships they construct in order to assess their performance. (DeVries et al., 2002).
Principles of Constructivist Teaching