Educators’ Perceptions of Constructivist Teaching Practices for The SEE Learning Program: A Qualitative Study Open Access

Parigini, Salina (Spring 2020)

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            Social, Emotional, and Ethical (SEE) Learning is a prosocial education program designed to teach social, emotional, and ethical competencies. The program favors a constructivist approach to teaching and learning, which focuses on the learners constructing their knowledge. Creating this type of learning environment relies heavily on the teacher. As the primary deliverers of SEE Learning, how they implement the program impacts students' social and emotional development. Understanding how teachers perceive select, constructivist teaching practices, that are important for the delivery of the SEE Learning program, help to inform program training materials and readiness to implement SEE Learning in schools in Atlanta, Georgia.



            In collaboration with the Emory Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics, in-depth interviews were conducted with K-12 educators in Atlanta, Georgia, who were unexposed to the SEE Learning program. The transcripts were coded using MAXqda 10 software to assess how teachers perceived and promoted autonomy, student interactions, and student-centeredness in their classrooms. Descriptive analyses were prepared for perceptions and examples used for each domain, as well as factors that aided and hindered their ability to promote these constructivist teaching methods.



            Teachers described their perception of student interactions and autonomy and provided examples used in the classroom. Participants also mentioned examples used to create a more student-centered classroom, such as incorporating student interests and applying relevant experiences to academic material. The school culture and the student-teacher relationship emerged as factors that impact their ability to promote and support constructivist teaching practices for both elementary and middle-level educators.  



            Overall, perceptions and methods to promote constructivist teaching were consistent with those defined by Taylor and Fraser (1994). To further explore teachers' constructivist pedagogy, the SEE Learning program would benefit from investigating how teachers support critical thinking among students and define autonomous students. The study recommends investigating the use of any school-wide behavioral management or social-emotional learning programs before implementing SEE Learning in classrooms. Additionally, exploring the perceived importance of the student-teacher relationship and teachers' social-emotional competence would be useful for readiness to implement SEE Learning.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1 Background 1

1.2 Purpose 2

1.3 Research Question 3

1.4 Significance 3

Chapter 2: Literature Review 4

2.1 Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs 4

2.2 SEE Learning Program 5

2.3 Constructivism 7

2.4 Teachers and Constructivism 7

Chapter 3: Methods 11

3.1 Introduction 11

3.2 Population and Sample 11

3.3 Instruments 12

3.4 Data Collection Methods 13

3.5 Data Analysis 13

3.6 Ethical Considerations 14

3.7 Limitations 14

Chapter 4: Results 16

4.1 Student Interactions 16

4.2 Autonomy 19

4.3 Student Centeredness 22

Chapter 5: Conclusion 25

5.1 Constructivist Approaches 25

5.2 Factors that Affect the Implementation of Constructivist Teaching Practices 28

5.3 Implications and Future Recommendations for the SEE Learning Program 30

Bibliography 33

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