Suggestions for Teaching with the Constructivist Theory of Learning

The following list of tips for leveraging the Constructivist Theory comes from the NDT Website.  Click here to view their complete collection of resources.

Suggestions for Teaching with the Constructivist Learning Theory

  • Encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative.
  • Try to use raw data and primary sources, in addition to manipulative, interactive, and physical materials.
  • When assigning tasks to the students, use cognitive terminology such as “classify,” “analyze,” “predict,” and “create.”
  • Build off and use student responses when making “on-the-spot” decisions about teacher behaviors, instructional strategies, activities, and content to be taught.
  • Search out students’ understanding and prior experiences about a concept before teaching it to them.
  • Encourage communication between the teacher and the students and also between the students.
  • Encourage student critical thinking and inquiry by asking them thoughtful, open-ended questions, and encourage them to ask questions to each other.
  • Ask follow up questions and seek elaboration after a student’s initial response.
  • Put students in situations that might challenge their previous conceptions and that will create contradictions that will encourage discussion.
  • Make sure to wait long enough after posing a question so that the students have time to think about their answers and be able to respond thoughtfully.
  • Provide enough time for students to construct their own meaning when learning something new.
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