I present the general differences between constructivist
and traditional classrooms--as published on page 17 of The case for
constructivist classrooms by Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks.
This was published in 1993 by ASCD.

TRADITIONAL
Curriculum is presented part to whole, with emphasis on basic skills.

CONSTRUCTIVIST  
Curriculum is presented whole to part with emphasis on big concepts.

TRADITIONAL
Strict adherence to fixed curriculum is highly valued.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Pursuit of student questions is highly valued.

TRADITIONAL
Curricular activities rely heavily on textbooks and workbooks.

CONSTRUCTIVIST  
Curricular activities rely heavily on primary sources of data and
manipulative materials.

TRADITIONAL
Students are viewed as "blank slates" onto which information is etched by
the teacher.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Students are viewed as thinkers with emerging theories about the world.

TRADITIONAL
Teachers generally behave in a didactive manner, disseminating information
to students.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Teachers generally behave in an interactive manner, mediating the
environment for students.

TRADITIONAL
Teachers seek the correct answer to validate student learning.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Teachers seek the students' points of view in order to understand students'
present conceptions for use in subsequent lessons.

TRADITIONAL
Assessment of student learning is viewed as separate from teaching and
occurs almost entirely through testing.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Assessment of student learning is interwoven with teaching and occurs
through teacher observations of students at work and through student
exhibitions and portfolios.

TRADITIONAL
Students primarily work alone.

CONSTRUCTIVIST
Students primarily work in groups.

provided by:
Nancy G. Patterson
Portland Middle School, English Dept. Chair