In kerala one of the states in India the school curriculum is developed on theory of constructivism. They say that even a foreign language like English can also be constructed in the class room by students. But in reality a majority of the students lack basic skills in English. Is there any place in the world theory of constructivism succeeded in foreign language teaching?
Constructivism has become a real buzz-word in English teaching, and is often presented as a methodology, rather than a theory about how people learn.
Constructivist theories of learning suggest that people actively create/construct knowledge in learning situations. It doesn't mean that students will be able to create English language structures on their own without guidance. Students need scaffolded learning opportunities, and the guidance of teachers. Teachers need to be sensitive to how students are constructing knowledge, and recognize that it is an active and developmental process.
Isn't there a very real risk with foreign languages in schools in many countries that things will be decontextualised to such a degree that constructivist ideas will simply wither on the vine? I live in a country where the vast majority of English teachers in the school system have never been to an English-speaking country and the internet and satellite TV are restricted to the well-off. In such an environment, I feel there is very little chance of this working.
I don't know what the situation is like in Kerala, but if a constructionist view is to be implemented, where and how are they going to get the social and other interactions that are required to contextualise their learning? Much of theory should work anywhere, but this point could prove tricky is many places.