The epistemology that supports the orientation of qualitative evaluation and its way of understanding the production of knowledge are based on the idea that knowledge is built incorporating the meaning and meanings that students provide. The purpose of evaluation has ceased to be to discover universal knowledge as we were previously accustomed, repeating the model exactly the same, but rather to give a particular meaning to knowledge so that it becomes the theoretical reference that guides the process of its evaluation. . That is the true meaning and significance of evaluation in education today.
What is constructivism?
Constructivism is a theory that defines an approach to learning that holds that people actively construct or make their own knowledge and that realitiy is determined by the experiences of the learner . In the field of education, «constructivist approaches are pedagogical or didactic proposals linked to a theory of mental development or learning» (Coll, 1983).
Piaget’s theory of constructivism argues that people produce knowledge and form meaning based upon their experiences. Piaget’s theory covered learning theories, teaching methods, and education reform. Assimilating causes an individual to incorporate new experiences into the old experiences.In this way, the children concatenate their learning with each other, always using their previous knowledge and experiences and starting new ones. At Villa Per Se we place special importance on experiential learning, trades and integrated projects where children are the main protagonists of their own learning.
Vigotsky adds a social approach to constructivism. He highlights the importance of learning in relation to the context and the interactions between the subjects, hence the value that we give at school to the coexistence of children and how they are themselves the best teachers of their peers and siblings.
Knowledge is then constructed when a subject assigns meanings to experiences. What we seek through the learning experience is to make our knowledge permanent. Like those anecdotes that we live in childhood and accompany us the rest of our lives. This is the approach that the Villa Per Se teachers are betting on, a process that is internalized by the students since it positively impacted them and they can transfer it to other settings and contexts. The teacher accompanies them, observes and records their learning processes and rethinks those that need to be reinforced, the more an experience is repeated, the more we will remember it (that’s why children enjoy drawing, reading the same story over and over again, jumping into the pool a thousand times, etc).
On the contrary, the positivist paradigm of exploring social reality is based on the idea that one can best gain an understanding of human behaviour through observation and reason. According to the positivist paradigm true knowledge is based on experience of senses and can be obtained by observation and experiment. This approach excludes the mental processes of learning and substitutes them for the laws of conduct since knowing is equivalent to learning facts, things, data, etc. From positivism, objective pedagogy arises that linearly applies knowledge, that is, it reduces it to a list of observable objectives. Most parents and teachers were exposed to this type of teaching – learning. Therefore, it may be difficult for them to understand a constructivist approach and it is possible to hear «I learned that way and it wasn’t that bad» which is true. But it is also true that parents come to this school with the hope of giving their children a closer, respectful and fun approach. I mean, they want them to achieve academic excellence, but by a different path than the meaningless rote they had.
At Villa Per Se we see the acquisition of knowledge in a holistic or holistic way. It is unthinkable to separate knowledge from emotion and we are aware that without motivation, assimilation of knowledge is unlikely.
We conceive of the teaching-learning process as an active participation of the subjects in the construction of knowledge, with a dynamic and temporal or contextual nature since the context becomes very important in learning.
What we are looking for with this practice is a qualitative evaluation of the educational processes for which it is necessary to work from a certain age on certain intellectual abilities in the students, such as: cognitive structures, processes and thinking strategies. With these skills you learn to interpret reality in a systematic way, being able to realize how such understanding is elaborated.
The moment of metacognition is so important in each of the projects that we develop during the year and we make sure that the children are able to tell how they learned? What they learned? What do they relate to? What did they use etc., and the evaluator develops in them a logic of thought that allows them to interact with the reality that is intended to be known, in order to build consistent knowledge about that reality.
The reconstruction of the information obtained and its interpretation is achievable if the procedures for collecting, treating and analyzing the information are established in a clear, precise and rigorous way, hence the use of the famous rubrics. This procedure guarantees the rigor of the knowledge it produces and allows it to be adequately communicated to parents and the students themselves.
Now that they know a little more about our constructivist approach, I encourage parents to keep this in mind when supporting their children at home and rather than giving them the knowledge so that they repeat or copy exactly, encourage them to discover, think and process. the knowledge so that it remains in them for the WHOLE LIFE.