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In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms Paperback – October 1, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0871202116 ISBN-10: 0871202115

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Assn for Supervision & Curriculum (October 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871202115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871202116
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,987,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Martin on April 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first read the 1993 edition in 1993, and I was sold on it. There is no more clear nor concise book on constructivist instructional design in the business. The book is practical and can be read quickly. It doesn't get bogged down in too much jargon or theory. I object to one critic who claims the book is "ivory tower" and leans to much on science and math examples. The book is just the opposite from "ivory tower" and as for math and science examples, as a science teacher who spent years reading theory pitched toward humanities teachers that I had to adapt to my realm, I found this book refreshing. I would counter that creative,constructivist, dedicated teachers of English, World Languages, and Social Sciences would be able to adapt the Brookses's examples to their fields with ease.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mark Valentine on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
What I like most about this short, useful book, about this accessible, practical guide to constructivist teaching, about this handy guide, what I like most about this book is that it lays a foundation for much of the work that we are attempting to achieve with our curricular efforts using Understanding by Design. Written prior to Wiggins and McTieghe's works, The Case for Constructivist Classrooms supplies an epistemological background that places the UbD work into a workable context.
My reading gave me at least two epiphanies. First, while reading, I came to realize that most of my prior teaching, even with very good intentions, aims at a broad shot approach; if the student is on the same bandwidth, she will connect with me, but if not, the signal never picks up an audience while I simply keep broadcasting. My traditional teaching approaches, albeit well intentioned, never probe for deeper understanding because my methodologies never go there. That is, how can I expect my students to achieve deeper understanding when I do not allow them time to make inquiries? By keeping it shallow (due to time, coverage, and efficiency concerns), should I be surprised that their knowledge never runs deeply? Brooks and Brooks quote one of my favorite authors, Jerome Bruner, from his book, The Process of Education (1971), "Of only one thing am I convinced: I have never seen anybody improve in the art and technique of inquiry by any means other than engaging in inquiry." For Bruner, it seems, inquiry begets inquiry. If inquiry becomes the means of operation, knowledge will grow organicly, systemically, and finally, deeply.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark Valentine on December 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
What I like most about this short, useful book, about this accessible, practical guide to constructivist teaching, about this handy guide, what I like most about this book is that it lays a foundation for much of the work that we are attempting to achieve with our curricular efforts using Understanding by Design. Written prior to Wiggins and McTieghe's works, The Case for Constructivist Classrooms supplies an epistemological background that places the UbD work into a workable context.
My reading gave me at least two epiphanies. First, while reading, I came to realize that most of my prior teaching, even with very good intentions, aims at a broad shot approach; if the student is on the same bandwidth, she will connect with me, but if not, the signal never picks up an audience while I simply keep broadcasting. My traditional teaching approaches, albeit well intentioned, never probe for deeper understanding because my methodologies never go there. That is, how can I expect my students to achieve deeper understanding when I do not allow them time to make inquiries? By keeping it shallow (due to time, coverage, and efficiency concerns), should I be surprised that their knowledge never runs deeply? Brooks and Brooks quote one of my favorite authors, Jerome Bruner, from his book, The Process of Education (1971), "Of only one thing am I convinced: I have never seen anybody improve in the art and technique of inquiry by any means other than engaging in inquiry." For Bruner, it seems, inquiry begets inquiry. If inquiry becomes the means of operation, knowledge will grow organicly, systemically, and finally, deeply.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. David Matthews on August 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
The authors in this text present a clear and organized overview of constructivist learning that is accessible to the beginner interested in the topic. The text is geared toward primary education, but I have been able to implement modified constructivist techniques presented in the text in my college courses. Constructivism is valuable for any learner.

I am disturbed at the negative comments regarding this book. I would not suggest that the book is above critisim, but the current retoric outlined in other reviews is without intellectual substance and is demeaning to many learners. As a student in primary and secondary education I struggled in with traditional educational methods. (I also see the same traditional methods being inflicted on my children.... education is slow if not impossible to change!) Not until I reached college and entered design and architectural education did I realize that different methods of instruction could be used effectively. For those who look down on constructivist methodology they are also disregarding the excellent educational practices in disciplines such as architecture, music, theater, design, art, and other forms of learning that require students to make judgments and create tangible proposals that impact the quality of society. Many would like you to think that constructivism is a radical and "new" educational method. But actually it has been part of our learning process in many disciplines long before the educational community formally recognized the theory.

Without dedicated professors that mostly unknowingly implemented constructivist methods in undergraduate and graduate education I would have never made my way though architectural school and become a design professor.
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