In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms


“Students commit new information to their short-term memory for the purpose of mimicking…” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 18)


“When teachers recognize and honor the human impulse to construct new understandings, unlimited possibilites are created for students.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 21)


“Designing, thinking, changing, evaluating-most particularly in response to the need-create interest and energy.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 30)


“ A constructivist framework challenges teachers to create environments in which they and their students are encouraged to think and explore. This is a formidable challenge. But to do so otherwise is to perpetuate the ever-present behavioral approach to teaching and learning.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 30)


“Not all students arrive at the classroom door interested in learning about verb constructs, motion and mechanics, biological cycles, or historical timelines, but most students can be helped to construct understandings of the importance of these topics. Relevance can emerge through teacher mediation.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 35)


“We’re not condoning cheating, but we do think it’s important for educators to explore the dynamics of a system that places so much emphasis “rightness” and “wrongness.” On most tests and homework assignments, students aren’t asked to reveal and elaborate on their points of view. They are asked instead to be “right”. (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 68)


“ Once some relevance was established, the students engaged in the curriculum with the commitment that fosters understanding.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 77)


“The teacher can obstruct student learning or help students build their own bridges from present understandings to new, more complex understandings.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 83)


“The teacher who asks students to select a story’s main idea from a list of four possibilities on a multiple-choice test is presenting to the students a very different task than the teacher who asks students to analyze the relationships among three of the story’s characters or predict how the story might have proceeded had certain events in the story not occurred.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 104)

“Analyzing, interpreting, predicting, and synthesizing are mental activities that require students to make connections, delve deeply into texts and contexts, and create new understandings.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, pp. 104-105)


“It’s unfortunate that much of what we seek to teach our students is of little interest to them at that particular point in their lives.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 106)


“Student-to-student dialogue is the foundation upon which cooperative learning is structured.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 109)


“Through elaboration students often reconceptualize and assess their own errors.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 110)


“Raising one’s had before answering questions, books from class to class, writing book reports, standing in straight lines, seeking permission to visit the restroom…..These are images of control, not learning.” (Brooks & Brooks, 2001, p. 126)



Brooks, J. G., & Brooks, M. G. (2001). In Search of Understanding the Case for Constructivist   Classrooms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

ISBN-13: 978-0130606624
ISBN-10: 0130606626