While constructivist approaches are strongly learner-centred, most educationalists still acknowledge an important position for the educator in the learning process. For example, Laurillard (1993), whose model of learning as a conversation between teacher and student has been hugely influential in educational development in UK Higher Education, defines a key role for the teacher in describing their conceptions of the subject, setting task goals, and providing meaningful feedback to the student. Indeed, as Laurillard (1993, 61) has it, 'action without feedback is completely unproductive for the learner'.
Rather than delivering content, one of the key tasks of an educator is to design experiences and provide environments that support the work of construction that needs to be done in the minds of learners, allowing them to transform their learning into meaningful understanding (Laurillard 1995, 181). Educators can track progress, encourage reflection and provide intellectual guidance to help students address the complexity and ambiguity that is inherent in most subject areas. They can also bring the vital human factor to the learning experience, providing care, trust, and respect for the learner; as Rogers (1980, 278) argues, being personal and humane in the classroom is a powerful way of supporting learning.
Last updated: Wed Aug 28 2002
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