Shakespeare and the Constructivist Learning Theory




 by Christopher Paslay


I’m currently working on a Masters in Multicultural Education at Eastern University.  This summer I just finished taking a course on teaching English as a second language.  As a culminating project for the class, we were required to pick a strategy or an idea that stood out during the six week seminar, and highlight it by writing an essay, song, poem, PowerPoint, etc.  It was an open genre assignment, with no minimum or maximum page limit.


I chose to write a Shakespearean sonnet on the Constructivist Learning Theory.  This philosophy teaches that learners construct knowledge for themselves—each learner individually constructs meaning as he or she learns.  In other words, teachers do not overwhelm students with a lot of facts and information, but rather act as a guide, allowing students to make connections and build knowledge on their own.    


Here is my sonnet, a bit clumsy at times, but adhering to Shakespeare’s strict form nonetheless:


The Constructivist


Shall I compare thee to a bank teller?

Depositing useless facts into a night slot;

Treating students like a cave-dweller,

Force feeding their brain a lot of rot.

Information must be relevant and true,

In context, meaningful, and connected;

Tying together the old with the new,

Making sure all cultures are respected.

Teachers should focus on critical thinking,

Allowing students to learn on their own;

Using past experiences while linking,

New facts to ones already known.

Constructivists make students active learners,

And help them become money-earners.


Thanks for reading. 


1 thought on “Shakespeare and the Constructivist Learning Theory

  1. Have you read Daniel T. Willingham’s newest book, Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom ?

    He seems to dispute the notion that learning facts is useless and a waste of time. Without facts and deep background knowledge, according to Willingham, comprehension is very difficult. The more facts a child has on any subject the better he can understand what he is reading. He also states that critical thinking is almost impossible without a ton of factual knowledge.

    Love to hear a review of this book on your site or hear from other teachers who have read the book.


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