Conclusions

The construction of knowledge is central to the concept of dialectical constructivism.  In middle level education, time in a subject area is usually fleeting.  There is a wide range of material that is expected to be taught and learned in grades six through eight.  In order to construct the knowledge necessary, teachers must rely on more time dedicated to curricular areas than is possible in the typical school setting.   They must assign homework that fosters the work done in the school setting.

According to Vygotsky, the social aspect of dialectical constructivism is crucial, especially in the first stage of his proposed zone of proximal development.  (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1988)  Therefore, if a teacher is wishing to support this theory as part of her educational philosophy, the homework assigned must encourage the support of those in the student's school and home atmosphere.  During the school day, peers, teachers, and administrators should serve as the student's support group as he builds his knowledge through activities that allow for problem solving and higher level thinking in group settings.  At home, the parent, guardian, or siblings should serve as assistants and partners for the student, especially in the elementary grades.  Assignments at all grade levels should be given that truly extend the cognitively-rich work the student experiences in the classroom.

Research supports that homework is worth the effort to grade and the effort to give.  Overwhelmingly, students do better in many aspects of their K-12 experience if homework is made a part of the many methods a teacher uses to foster understanding of content.  When planned carefully and well, the rewards of assigning homework far outweigh the detriment of excluding it from a constructivist curriculum.

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Annotated Literature Cited

Appendix

Assignments at all grade levels should be given that truly extend the cognitively-rich work the student experiences in the classroom.