Constructivist Learning Design  

The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed -- it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions. Sir Ken Robinson

Constructivist learning is based on the theory that people actively construct knowledge, skills and values through experiences in their physical and social environments. We continually construct are own understanding as we encounter new experiences and reflect upon our previous knowledge, skills and values.

Here, constructivist learning design is embodied through integrated studies to facilitate the combined practices of  inquiry-based learning + project-based learning + social and emotional learning as a framework for crafting engaging learning environments.

"Each of us makes sense of our world by synthesizing new experiences into what we had previously come to understand. Often, we encounter an object, idea, a relationship, or a phenomenon that doesn't quite make sense to us. When confronted with such initially discrepant data or perceptions, we either interpret what we see to conform to our present set of rules for explaining and ordering our world, or we generate a new set of rules that better accounts for what we perceive to be occurring. Either way, our perceptions and rules are constantly engaged in a grand dance that shapes our understanding."  From, In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, by Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks, 1999. 


: very attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attention 
: tending to draw favorable attention or interest 

alluring, appealing, attractive, captivating, charismatic, charming, enchanting, fascinating, magnetic, enthralling, gripping, mesmerizing, riveting, spellbinding, enticing, tantalizing, exciting, interesting, intriguing, beckoning, inviting, winning, delightful, pleasing

Engagement is the wonder word many educators use to describe how teaching and learning embodies twenty-first century learning environments. However, engagement just doesn't happen because a district or school have purchased the latest technology or cool furniture.
Engagement is the in the moment outcome that comes from constructivist learning activities derived from an integrated studies approach. Iis an active process, the wonderment in the eyes of our students as the spark to an understanding about ourselves and our world. As educators, we need to provide students with active hands-on/minds-on pedagogy as the wind to our sails so that synonyms of engagement are used to describe the learning within our educational culture, places and spaces. 
 Doug McIntosh     
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