Roanoke College

Theoretical Framework

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The Copenhaver Institute is committed to supporting educators as they seek to foster within students a lifelong love of learning. Toward this purpose, the Institute draws from a constructivist understanding of teaching and learning, a theoretical basis consistent with recent research and reform in education. From this philosophical position, the Institute structures its format, informs its decision-making process and guides its development.

It is the position of the Institute that a constructivist approach to teaching and learning is 1) grounded in the belief that learning is meaningful for individuals only when they play an active role in constructing knowledge; 2) compatible with pedagogical studies emerging from brain research; 3) suited for democratic education; and 4) responsive to the changing educational needs of the information age.

Constructivist in nature, the Institute is committed to research and practice that encourage:

  • Literacy opportunities which are student-centered and activity-based;
  • Problem-based learning experiences;
  • Personalized education that scaffolds learning by differentiating for students' learning readiness, interests, and learning profiles;
  • Learning communities committed to positive and productive relationships;
  • The use of critical reflection and analysis for shaping and transforming information into new understandings, roles, and responsibilities;
  • Opportunities to use literacy toward the development of human knowledge, skills, and understandings;
  • Contributions from diverse perspectives to encourage both individual and community understandings of subject matter;
  • Opportunities for all students to become active contributors within the classroom community;
  • Awareness that teaching is an intellectual process and activity that requires complex decision-making and understandings.