Teaching Through Constructivism Succeeds in Thailand

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The Constructivism Theory was launched in 1997 by the Suksaphattana Foundation in collaboration with the creator of constructionism, Professor Seymour Papert of the MIT Media Laboratory. It led to the establishment for the Light House Project. The Thai MIT Alumnus, based in Thailand, also contributed to the project.

According to the theory of Constructivism, a child-centered approach, children or students should be taught based on their interests, through active learning and not by rote by following a rigid curriculum.

10 schools and 2 vocational institutions have adopted the theory of Constructivism to teach their students. They are supported with finances from the Thaicom Foundation and the Suksaphattana Foundation.

At Bansankampaeng School, Sopapun Chuentongkam has been teaching using the theory of Constructivism for over a decade and has seen it succeeding. The school initially adopted Constructive for grades 4 to 6 and then expanded it to the whole school.

Chuentongkam says students enjoyed themselves thoroughly because they actively learned though their own actions. Many students wanted to return to school over the weekend because they loved the teaching and learning strategy so much.

While elementary students in grades 1 to 3 are encouraged to choose what they want to learn and most of them veer toward community and food, older students in middle school tend to select topics such as traditions and culture.

Chuentongkam also mentioned how parents become involved with their children’s education. She said many parents were very impressed with the amount of learning their children achieved through the Constructivism theory. She also pointed to research that claims that what a student learns in 6 years through the Constructivism theory would otherwise take that student 30 years through conventional learning methods. In fact, Chuentongkam’s school has won several national and international awards for the students’ achievements.

Other teachers and school authorities attest to the benefits of the teaching and learning methods offered by the Constructivism theory. For eaxmaple, a teacher at Municipality 4 School in Lampang, Suriporn Luangyai, emphasized the level of creativity involved in the teaching-learning dynamics which makes students more receptive to the curriculum and allows for more democracy in the classroom as students get more choice in their learning process.

Darunsikkhalai School for Innovative Learning (DSIL) was founded in 2011 as part of the Lighthouse Project. Focused on innovative learning, the school has seen students embracing their education and coming up with projects like building planes and starting pizza businesses. Teachers at the school believe that Constructive Theory helps students prepare for the industry, vocations, and other professionals as students actively engage with self-motivated curiosity.

Constructive Theory is being acknowledged widely as a strategy that achieves maximum student learning because it encourages students to learn on their own. Conventional education systems tend to stifle creativity in students, says Paulo Bliskstein, Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Stanford University.

Dr. David Cavallo, Vice President of Education and Chief Learning Architect of the One Laptop Per Child Project, believes that children have no lack of potential and ideas; teachers and parents should be able to provide a platform to them for thinking and innovation. Children alone can sustain the growth and development of a country because they will bring new ideas and ways of achieving new goals.

In Thailand, Chairman of the Suksaphattana Foundation and Vice President of the Thaicom Foundation, Paron Israsenanaayudaya, says his organizations will focus on deepening the influence of the Constructivism Theory in the schools that have adopted it instead of increasing the number of schools that adopt the theory.

– Mantra Roy

Source: The Nation
Photo: Flickr

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