Applying Constructivism in Neurodiverse Classrooms

Seoyoon Eunie Choi (CRG-NJ, Cresskill, New Jersey 07627, USA)
Sun Lee (CRG-NJ, Cresskill, New Jersey 07627, USA)


Cognitive development theories differ on how young students can meaningfully process new information and retain that information for future knowledge-building through scaffolding within their zone of proximal development. More traditional theories like the cognitive load theory adhere to the rote memorization approach by categorizing students as passive learners and the teachers as initiators who provide information in a structured, often rigid format, to be stored and retrieved for future application using their working memory. In contrast, the more progressive theories, like constructivism, are premised on the belief that students should proactively initiate their own learning while teachers act more as facilitators. The current trend in government policy under ESSA is to embrace the latter approach in the classroom, which is also more inclusive of all types of students, especially neurodiverse students. Moreover, teachers can utilize the wider range of assistive technology tools to accommodate and support their students’ unique learning styles.


Learning; Constructivism; Cognitive load theory; Zone of proximal development; Assistive technology

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