Constructivist Approach to Learning Math

If you use the constructivist approach to learning math, you are using an educational theory that favors learning through individual experience. Instead of a traditional teacher-student relationship, the responsibility of learning lies with you, the learner, and you make meaning of math concepts through your experiences with other learners. Learning through the constructivist approach is one way you can try to better grasp challenging math concepts.

  1. Collaborating to Teach Math

    • Learn math with a friend. Solve test problems out of the math book together. Create your own problems to test one another. Constructivism puts strong emphasis on collaborating with a peer to discover the meaning of concepts, so working with a friend may prove beneficial to your understanding of the concepts. If the work is for an official school assignment, don't copy your friend's work or answers. Copying someone's work is plagiarism and considered academic dishonesty.

    Teaching to Learn Math

    • Teach a friend or classmate how to do a math problem. For instance, if you're trying to solve basic addition, show your friend how you complete the process of adding numbers. For more advanced grades, you might show your friend how to calculate the sides of a right triangle by showing them how you accomplish the task in a step-by-step process. Constructivists believe that to teach a subject, you have to learn the subject first. If you know how to solve math problems, it's beneficial to teach it to someone else. Teaching someone else how to solve math problems will reinforce the concepts for you, as well as give you a boost in self-confidence.

    The Role of Instructor

    • Ask your math instructor to be a facilitator, rather than an instructor. Constructivists believe that the role of the instructor is to create an environment conducive to learning as opposed to expound knowledge upon the students. Instead of the traditional lecture, the instructor might point you to additional resources to help you understand a concept. Or, perhaps, the instructor might pair you up with someone else in your class to collaborate. Ultimately, the math instructor's role is to help create an environment to help you learn, as opposed to tell you everything that you need to know.

    Your Responsibility for Learning Math

    • Realize that in the constructivist approach, the responsibility for learning math lies with you. You are responsible for learning the math concepts, connecting them with other concepts you've learned and applying the knowledge to future concepts. Because your fellow learners are responsible as well, you should learn to utilize your peers as a helpful resource. However, do not become dependent upon your fellow learners to carry you through. You are responsible for your own learning.

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