On the role of the teacher in social constructivist pedagogy
One role of the teacher within social constructionist pedagogy is to inspire students by demonstrating high level inquiry-based learning, and communicate a sense of high expectations.
At the start of the course, the teacher can model the style of discussing at a high level:
– reacting to the issues students face
– showing how to bring in expert opinions by referring to applicable academic papers
– applying deductive reasoning to shine the light of inquiry on new problem areas: “if this is true, then we should consider that this other factor may apply to this situation”
– resourcing intra-group perspectives by sharing the viewpoints evidenced in other group discussions: e.g. “Phryne has brought up a similar issue, and she thinks that pure eLearning has significant disadvantages compared to blended learning”
– recognizing that even the teacher can still realize new truths or react to new perspectives: “That is the first time that someone told me that working through a problem as a group in synchronous chat is like meditation!”
The teacher’s model of high-level inquiry can serve as the foundation for the learning community, as a demonstration of preferred practice, and a key element defining the social interaction for the students to build upon.