In the field of psychology, the constructivist paradigm has had a wide development. Educational psychology, following constructivist precepts, has instructed the teacher in a subjective teaching-learning process , in which young people internally build their own knowledge systems. The constructivist paradigm in education understands that the student is the center of the educational process and not a mere recipient of knowledge.

Accordingly, teachers are mediators of the learning process. The teacher is an inspirer of this process and of the autonomy of the students. For this, the educator must know the stages of cognitive development of children and young people in order to provoke an indirect teaching, which is not based on the accumulation of knowledge by repetition , but on the subjective and autarkic resolution of problems, by inferences and associations.

Constructivism in education is presented as a guide system by which the student is encouraged to find order and meaning in specific situations. The teacher encourages the training activity of the student, who, starting from what he already knows, deepens and strengthens learning.

This type of teaching supposes the reduction of the authority of the teacher as a source of knowledge, although his role and presence continues to be of the first order. The constructivist method seeks to stimulate the cognitive development of students, through the stimulation of their ethical and intellectual autonomy: development of value systems and critical capacity.

What is the constructivist paradigm?

The constructivist paradigm is consubstantial to the psychological, pedagogical and philosophical current of constructivism . From philosophy, the constructivist paradigm is a way of interpreting reality, which is understood by knowing how a mental construct, originated by the cognitive experience of the person who learns. For this paradigm, knowledge is the product of a particular process, which is structured based on the discernment of the observed phenomena.

In this sense, reality is the product of inner construction, which derives from psychological characteristics. Reality does not have to be understood and studied equally by other subjects, but rather each individual constructs and understands it based on past experiences, skills and knowledge.

However, the structuring of knowledge under this paradigm is not possible without the existence of third parties, because knowledge comes from social life. Furthermore, knowledge does not expand without the intervention of others.

The constructivist paradigm, as an epistemological system (way of knowing), seeks to know how knowledge originates and modifies . It is not a pedagogical perspective. To this end, the constructivist paradigm is a genetic theory; seeks to explain the origin of knowledge from its beginnings. And, furthermore, it is a theory of the knowledge process: it gives light on how knowledge begins and completes.

Characteristics of the constructivist paradigm

According to the ontological, epistemological and methodological questions, the characteristics of the constructivist paradigm are defined.

The ontological question 

It seeks to define what is susceptible to being known about reality (being as such), for which the constructivist paradigm defends the existence of diverse and socially constructed realities, far from natural, causal or any other type of precepts.

In this case, we speak of a relativistic ontology, because reality arises from the sum of ideas according to the subject’s dialogical experiences with the environment . It is known from previous knowledge, but at the same time tolerates other constructions and understandings about the environment and its expressions.

The epistemological question 

It focuses its attention on knowing the origin, nature and contents of human knowledge. That is, what is the connection between the knower and the known. The constructivist paradigm is characterized at this level as monistic and subjectivist, because the researcher cannot be dissociated from his object of knowledge. The discoveries of an investigation are crossed by the development of the investigation and the principles and ideas of the researcher permeate the entire process.

The methodological question 

He wants to know about the ways and systems of focusing research on knowledge. It is the question of how he knows the constructivist paradigm: he does so through a hermeneutical (interpretive) approach, which consists of the acquisition of knowledge through criticism and the study of reality. With this, it does not seek to explain the phenomena, but to understand them.

According to what has been analyzed, the constructivist paradigm is opposite to the positivist paradigm , since the second is based on the premise that there is only one reality, which is governed by natural laws (cause-effect). This is how the constructivist paradigm is governed by a non-interventionist methodology that, contrary to the positivist paradigm, does not seek to reveal, predict and dominate the manifestations of reality. In summary, the constructivist paradigm has the following characteristics:

  • Reality does not exist as a stable phenomenon , but is what each person understands.
  • The constructivist paradigm is based on previous experience and notions that serve to understand the present ones.
  • For constructivists, each person is a world: the same situation has several interpretations according to the number of people, which depend on their thoughts and past feedback.

The constructivist paradigm in psychology emphasizes the idea that each person tries to give meaning to his life , understand it, build it, according to what he considers to be the most adequate reality. It is not only one of the most important paradigms in psychology, but is also responsible for huge studies, proposals and practices in the field of education since the sixties. Their characteristics are:

  • The notion of reality for the subject is personal and is crossed by his past experiences that determine his present.
  • From the above it follows that their past experiences are essential for understanding the events that occur in the now.
  • Understanding and how to deal with situations is absolutely individual for constructivists.

Importance of the constructivist paradigm 

The constructivist paradigm arises from the interest of contrasting the factual disciplines with the social ones. The exact sciences accumulate knowledge and apply experimental research methods ; on the contrary, the constructivist system seeks to interfere in complex historical issues and events, where knowledge is not absolute and accumulated. The historical-social reality varies over time.

In this sense, the main preaching of the social constructivist paradigm is that knowledge of the context is achieved through dialogical social processes and the intervention of persuasive and symbolic rhetorical tools .

For the constructivist paradigm, reality exists, but it is represented in different ways in the mental constructs of the subjects that are part of a specific community. Opposed to the deterministic position of the positivist paradigm, the relativism of the constructivist paradigm identifies that there are no unique and determined realities . It is a kind of perspectivism, since it values ​​individual perceptions, which give rise to multiple needs and interpretations of the human context.

As the context or reality for constructivists is found in the meanings that a community structures, the mechanism to address it is the interaction or intersubjectivity between the agents of the phenomenon, the researcher being one more agent, with the same hierarchy as the other members. of the community.

Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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