TEAM BASED CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING MODEL
Yavuz ERCİL Uğur ZEL A.Kadir VAROĞLU
yercilharp.kho.edu.tr uzelharp.kho.edu.tr avaroğluharp.kho.edu.tr
Knowledge and ideas emerge only from a situation in which learners have to draw out of their experiences which have meaning and importance to them. These situations have to occur in a social context, such as a classroom, where students join in manipulating materials and thus, create a community of learners who build their knowledge together.
Practical knowledge and school knowledge are becoming mutually exclusive; many students see little connection between what they learn in classroom with real life. Studies show that even students who score well on standardized tests often are unable to successfully integrate or contrast memorized facts with real-life applications outside the classroom (Yager 1991,52).
Constructivism is not a new concept. It has its roots in philosophy and has been applied to sociology and anthropology, as well as cognitive psychology and education. To define constructivism, the following aspects should be considered (Wilson 1996,137) ; 1.Knowledge is constructed from experience 2.Learning is a personal interpretation of the world 3.Learning is an active process of meaning-making based on experience 4.Learning is a colloborative with meaning negotiated from multiple perspectives 5.Learning should occur in realistic settings 6.Testing should be integrated with the task, not considered as a separate activity.
Focusing on a more educational description of constructivism, meaning is intimately connected with experience. Students come into a classroom with their own experiences and a cognitive structure based on those experiences. The role of teacher is to reorganize information around conceptual clusters of problems, questions and discrepancy in situations in order to engage the student’s interest. This new role of the teacher doesn’t depict one who transmits knowledge but rather one who designs experiences where learners are required to examine thinking and learning processes; collect, record and analyze data; form and test hypotheses; reflect upon previous understandings; and thus construct their own meanings. Actual experimentation, the manipulation and testing of ideas in reality provides student with direct, concrete feeedback about the accuracy of their ideas as they work them out (Strommen 1992). The traditional teaching method of teacher as sole information-giver to passive students appears outdated. To compare ‘traditional’ and ‘constructivist’ education, a list including values of each educational technology can be as follows(Table-1)(Lebow 1993,5);
Traditional educational values :
5. Passive engagement
6. Personal irrelevance
Constructivist educational values
2. Personal autonomy
5. Active engagement
6. Personal relevance
TABLE-1 : Comparison of traditional and constructivist values
Constructivism Theory And Team Dynamics
The only obvious team efforts that are associated with the task of improving a process are having meetings, gathering data, planning improvements, making changes together, writing reports and so forth. The problem is that there are hidden concerns, like undercurrents, pull team members away from their obvious tasks. When they walk through the door into a meeting, team members are beset by conflicting emotions like; excitement and anxiety about being on the team, loyalty to their divisions or departments, nervous anticipation about the projects’ success. If left unattended these undercurrents can inhibit a group’s chance of becoming an effective team (Scholtes 1995,6-9).
The hypothesis of this study is to test and observe the constructive learning conditions by using “team dynamics” . It is planned to begin the study by forming two groups: ‘test group’ and ‘control group’. Control group, will attend the normal curriculum in traditional classrom conditions. At the same time, a “case” will be distributed to all members of both groups. The control group will discuss the case by using traditional methods while the test group will use constructive methods in specially designed classroom conditions. At this point, following stages are expected to be observed in the test group:
Stage 1 : Forming
When a team is forming, members cautiously explore the boundaries of acceptable group behavior. This is a stage of transition from individual to member status, and of testing the leaders’ guidance both formally and informally. During this stage, test group members’ feelings are expected to be as; excitement, anticipation, optimism and pride in being chosen for the project, tentative attachment to the team, suspicion, fear , and anxiety about the job ahead. At this stage, team members attempt to define the task and decide how it will be accomplished, attempt to determine acceptable group behavior and how to deal with group problems, complain about the organization and barriers to the task.
Stage 2 : Storming
Storming is probably the most difficult stage for the test group comparing with the control group. The test group members will begin to realize the task is different and more difficult than they imagined. The test group’s feelings are expected to be as; resistance to the task and to quality improvement approaches different from what each individual member is comfortable using and sharp fluctuations in attitude about the team and the project’s chance of success. At this stage, team members argue, defend, compete, establish unrealistic goals and concern about excessive work.
Stage 3 : Norming
Norming will be easier to be formed by the test group comparing with the control group. During this stage, the test group members are expected to reconcile competing loyalties and responsibilities. The feelings of the test group’s members are expected to be as; a new ability to express criticism constructively, acceptance of membership in the exam, relief that it seems everything is going to work out. At this stage, group members attempt to achieve harmony by avoiding conflict, be more friendly, confide in each other, and share personal problems; discuss the team's dynamics, a common spirit and goals, establish and maintain team ground rules and boundaries.
Stage 4 : Performing
By this stage, the test group are expected to settle its relationships and expectations. They can begin performing - diagnosing and solving problems and choosing and implementing changes. The level of performance for the test group is expected to be higher than the control group’s. The test group’s feelings are expected to be as; having insights into personal and group processes, and better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, satisfaction at the team’s progress.
It is believed that, a lesson based on constructivism differs greatly from the traditional “teacher-as-lecturer” class type. The goal for the learner is to play an active role in assimilating knowledge onto his/her existing mental framework.
Lebow, D. 1993. Constructivist Values for Instructional System Design, Educational Technology Research And Development, Vol.41, No.3.
Scholtes, P. 1995. The Team Handbook, Madison, New Jersey, Joiner Associates Inc.
Strommen, E. 1992. Constructivism, Technology and the Future of Classroom Learning, http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/k12/livetext/docs/construct.html
Yager, R. 1991. The Constructivist Learning Model, The Science Teacher, Vol.58 No:6.
Wilson, B. 1996. The Impact of Constructivism on IDM Fundamentals, New Jersey, Educational Technology Publications.