Friday, March 23, 2012

Constructivism in Reading and Writing


 Question: How do you define “constructivism” in reading and writing?

Answer/Quote: “Constructivism has been proposed as a theory which accounts for the role of prior knowledge in reading and writing….. Readers and writers construct meaning in that readers bring their intentions, prior knowledge, and prior textual experiences to bear on ideas and linguistic cues in source texts while writers compose a draft which reconciles prior knowledge and textual experience with their rhetorical and linguistic aims…. Reading comprehension and composing processes in writing are comparable in that both processes result in a mental representation of a new text…. with writing additionally resulting in a tangible product.” Pp. 133-134.

Comment: I’m a little out of my comfort zone here. What I do understand is that prior experience of a topic leads to constructing meaning in reading and writing.

What I also have learned is that more prior experience with a topic leads to better comprehension in reading, making it important to build up the students’ knowledge of a topic before having them read about a topic. With writing, the more you know about a topic, the better you understand what you don’t know, leading to new knowledge. That’s it so far as my knowledge of “constructivism” goes. RayS.

Title: “Reading, Writing, and Knowing: The Role of Disciplinary Knowledge in Comprehension and Composing.” John M. Ackerman. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1991), 133-178.

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