Constructivism is a theory of education which holds that students must be actively engaged in constructing knowledge for themselves if it is to be meaningful to them in the long run. While students are capable of memorizing information without knowing how to make use of it and such information can be repeated on tests, it is less likely to be remembered later or applied. When students solve problems themselves, perhaps using strategies different from those they might have learned from their teachers or their peers, they will remember and understand how to use the solutions to solve other problems. Constructivism is related to the work of John Dewey in his classic 1910 book, How We Think, and the work of developmental psychologists Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Jerome Bruner. Vygotsky extends Piaget’s genetic epistemology with his idea of the Zone of Proximal Development, adding the social dimension to cognitive development. The theory of inclusion originates from Vygotsky’s ZPD.

Evidence Base for Constructivism:
Articles and Websites
TeAchnology: The online teacher resource; Summaries for related theories including Bruner, Piaget, Vygotsky; papers on constructivism; and practical ideas for teachers interested in using constructivist ideas in the classroom.
Thirteen Ed online: Concept to Classroom. Workshop: Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning. Summaries of constructivist theories, interviews, history of constructivism, and a review of criticisms and possible benefits of constructivism.
Funderstanding: Inspiring and connecting people who care about learning. Definition of constructivism, main principles, application to the classroom, bibliography and more.
Learning Knowledge Base and Webliography. Constructivism. Includes updates of theories of Bruner (discovery learning), Lave and Wenger (communities of practice), plus Vygotsky and Piaget.


Brooks, Jacqueline and Martin. (1993, 1999). In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms. Alexandria Virginia: The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Bruner, Jerome (1991). The Culture of Education. Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Dewey, John (1910). How We Think. Boston, New York, and Chicago: D.C. Heath and Company.

Fosnot, C. T., & Dolk, M. L. A. M. (2002). Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Fractions, Decimals, and Percents. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Fosnot, Catherine T. (2005). Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives, and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press.

Jaworski, Barbara (1994). Investigating Mathematics Teaching: a Constructivist Inquiry. London: The Falmer Press.

Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press.

Marlow, Bruce A. and Page, Marilyn (2005). Creating and Sustaining the Constructivist Classroom, 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Vygotskiĭ, L. S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.