A1 Journal article – refereed

The Complex Zone of Constructivist Teaching: A Multi-Case Exploration in Primary Classrooms

List of Authors: Mikko Tiilikainen, Juuso Karjalainen, Auli-Mari Hannele Toom, Janne Lepola, Jukka Husu

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication year: 2019

Journal: Research Papers in Education

Volume number: 34

Issue number: 1

Number of pages: 23

ISSN: 0267-1522

eISSN: 1470-1146

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2017.1402080

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02671522.2017.1402080


This case study investigates the variety of constructivist approaches to teaching evident in classroom practice. Teaching practices associated with constructivist perspectives have been prevalent in curriculum reforms for some time. Meanwhile, constructivist approaches have been critically discussed in scholarly literature, revealing problematic and ambiguous aspects. This study introduces a model describing constructivist teaching practices according to the following dimensions: knowledge structuring activities, exercise of student autonomy, organisation of authentic learning environments and problem-oriented learning activities. This model is used to analyse the classroom practice of five primary teachers using video recordings. The results of this analysis suggest that the teaching approaches differed primarily in the degree of student autonomy allowed, so that either more comprehensive constructivist teaching methods or rather minor constructivist teaching techniques were emphasised. The distinction between constructivist teaching methods and constructivist teaching techniques is suggested as an explanation of the observed variation among constructivist approaches to teaching. This study identifies the characteristics of these teaching practices, helping researchers and teachers to articulate more nuanced teaching approaches in the future.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 09:39