Constructivism in Visual Arts Classes
One of the basic features of the modern educational system is manifested in the reversal of the transmissive (traditional) approach to learning and teaching to the transformational (modern) approach. The transmissive approach to learning and teaching is that one in which students adopt ready-made constructs of organised knowledge through passive acceptance of the facts mediated by the teacher. In contrast, in the transformational approach, the teacher encourages the student’s active participation through exploratory, problem-based learning, during which students gain much more of their potential than in traditionally conceived classes. Changing the obsolete pedagogical paradigm began with the development of contemporary (cognitivist and constructivist) pedagogical theories. According to the constructivist theories of learning, individuals develop their knowledge of the world based on their own experiences and reflection of these experiences. Learning is the result of cognitive constructs based on individual experience and (pre)knowledge gained during the social interaction determined by the culture in which individuals live. Interpretative activity in the constructing of understanding is particularly emphasised in visual arts education. In this paper, the main determinants of constructivism and constructivist theories in the context of the educational process are elaborated. The main principles of constructivist-based teaching of visual arts are interpreted related to other contemporary teaching strategies and approaches such as active learning, learning through problem-solving, and interactive approach to learning and teaching of visual arts. The teacher’s role is also discussed, whose approach, awareness of the student’s pre-knowledge, and capacity for meaningful communication with students, greatly influence the success of the students’ adoption, understanding and interpretation of visual arts contents. The present paper aims to highlight certain elements of the constructivist teaching theories because their understanding and application in the teaching process can help achieve better learning outcomes, specifically students’ better ability to use visual arts knowledge in everyday life.
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