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Gorsetman Publishes About Constructivist Pedagogy

Chaya GorsetmanDr. Chaya Gorsetman, clinical associate professor of education and co-chair of the department of education at Stern College for Women, published “Struggles and Successes in Constructivist Jewish Early Childhood Classrooms” in the 2018 issue of the Journal of Jewish Education.

Written with Dr. Meir Muller (College of Education at the University of South Carolina) and Dr. Shelley T. Alexander (affiliated with Gratz College and the Center for Jewish Education at the University of Haifa, Israel), this study examines the experiences of teachers in a Jewish early childhood center implementing a Jewish holiday curriculum based on constructivist theory and pedagogy. (Constructivism, explains Dr. Gorsetman, is a theory of learning that values the ability of children to construct knowledge based on their current held information coupled with understanding gained from new experiences.)

Their qualitative study had several unique features to it: 1) it highlighted the Jewish early childhood classroom and the teaching of a Jewish holiday (Passover); 2) it specifically explored preschool teachers and their classrooms; 3) it included only teachers who self-defined as “constructivist” educators and who all taught at a school that labeled itself as “constructivist” (whereas past studies about this topic have included teachers using multiple educational theories from schools with varying degrees of commitment to constructivist pedagogy; and 4) it was unique in describing the teacher’s experiences in theoretical understanding and pedagogical implementation of a Jewish holiday curriculum by using the lens of Piaget’s conceptual framework of three types of knowledge.