Social Constructivism Theory of Learning and Intersubjectivity

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For nursing students, nurse training is an experience characterized by multiple changes and developments. Since the training of nurses is an intricate process, the role of nurse educators is all-rounded, and it goes beyond merely imparting knowledge on the learners. In recent times, an increasing number of scholars have posited that the nurse educator is merely a facilitator of growth and learning. To keep up with the ever-changing demands of the nursing profession, it is imperative that nursing students develop a personal nursing philosophy. Having a clearly defined personal philosophy of health teaching and learning is essential in uncovering what drives a nursing student’s passion for the nursing profession (Horsfall et al., 2012). Personal and professional values and beliefs have a strong influence on a student’s personal nursing philosophy.

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Personal Learning Style and Teaching Philosophy

With regard to learning styles, I consider my learning style to be multimodal, i.e., having more than one learning style preference. I view myself as an emotional, concrete, kinaesthetic and social learner. As a concrete and kinaesthetic learner, I learn best by focusing on palpable illustrations as opposed to theoretical examples. I am a sociable character who enjoys interacting with and helping people when in a position to do so. In fact, the desire to help the sick in society played a major role in my decision to pursue nursing as a career. As a sociable learner, I learn best by networking, listening and interacting with other individuals.

On the other hand, my teaching philosophy revolves around building a proper civil relationship between the nurse educator and the learner(s) in which both parties actively participate in the teaching-learning process. The relationship will be built on the principles of respect, collaboration, safety, and trust. When it comes to teaching, I believe that nursing courses and content ought to recognize and appreciate the students together with their learning styles and models. Recognizing and appreciating the student helps to build a collaborative and trustworthy environment. As an educator, my learners will conduct much of the learning process in groups, which will be based on the different applicable learning styles of the class.

My view is that health teaching ought to be engaging, collaborative and pertinent. Furthermore, class activities ought to be active and incorporate individual-centred learning styles. In my view, this approach makes it easy for learners to understand, apply and retain the information obtained in a profound manner. To support different learning styles, nurse educators ought to employ different approaches to evaluate students’ outcomes in courses.

Social Constructivism Theory of Learning

Some elements of social constructivism learning are apparent in my teaching-learning philosophy. Lev Vygotsky, a Soviet psychologist developed the theory of social constructivism. The theory emphasizes the collaborative nature of learning and advances the notion that learning is constructed in a social environment. According to Vygotsky, language and culture play a significant role in cognitive development and in our perception of the world. Further, he suggested that language and culture provide humans with the frameworks through which they communicate, experience and comprehend reality. In addition, he contended that with the help of adults or peers with a better grasp of particular concepts, learners can get to grips with concepts that they would otherwise not understand if they were on their own. In other words, learning is a collaborative process. Some features of the guidance provided to the learners include guided participation, scaffolding, and intersubjectivity. Intersubjectivity denotes a process where two participants who initially had differing understandings of a concept arrive at a mutual understanding. It builds a common communication ground since the participants understand each other’s perspectives. Scaffolding entails altering the assistance provided during training to suit the learner’s performance level (learning style).

Social constructivism emphasizes the collaborative nature of the learning process as well as the significance of social and cultural context. It posits that the construction of knowledge is based on personal experiences and the regular testing of assumptions. Social constructivists consider learning to be an active process, whereby knowledge is constructed. They hold the view that the motivation to learn is both intrinsic and extrinsic. That is, students are motivated in part by the societal rewards of knowledge. On the other hand, since the student actively constructs knowledge, learning largely depends on the student’s desire and ambition to comprehend and support the process of learning. The constructivist approach states that educators serve as mere facilitators although they may teach on particular occasions. Educators support students in their endeavours to become effective thinkers

Just like social constructivism, my teaching-learning philosophy also emphasizes collaboration in learning, scaffolding (person-centred teaching), and the role of the educator as a facilitator. Moreover, I expect learners to be self-motivated. I hold the notion that nurse teaching ought to be engaging, collaborative and pertinent. Nursing courses and content ought to be based on practical, measurable outcomes that can be realized by issuing learners the requisite tools to acquire and apply knowledge.

As a nurse educator, I view myself as a learning guide, facilitator and/or consultant, responsible for identifying flaws in the student’s beliefs and rationales. It is also my duty to develop an appropriate learning process, guide the learners and support their distinct learning needs. On the other hand, I expect the learner to be ready to manipulate and reconstruct information as well as remain highly motivated and open to new ideas, behaviours, and undertakings.

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