Idealism has three main implications for education:
+ an emphasis on theory before practice; + an emphasis on logical thinking; + a high value attached to liberal education.
Educational implications of the technical-rational model
+ Learning is a science and has general principles.
+ The teacher or designer determines what is learned and how, according to scientific principles.
+ The purposes or ends of education are not discussed; values are taken for granted. + The learner will respond to learning stimuli in a predictable way. + The technical-rational model works best in the training of skills and competencies, where behaviour can be observed.
Educational implications of child-centred education
+ The purpose of education is the development of the whole person. + The child’s experiences are the central elements of education. + Children should be free to choose what to learn and how to learn. + Individual experiences, expression and creativity are encouraged as part of the curriculum.
+ Individual learning plans can be used to recognize the unique characteristics of every child. + All learners are different, and their individuality is unconditionally prized.
+ Teachers exert minimal control but act as facilitators of learning experiences.
+ The teacher provides an appropriate and rich environment.
Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable and measurable aspects of human behavior. In defining behavior, behaviorist learning theories emphasize changes in behavior that result from stimulus-response associations made by the learner.
In my own teaching, I have found that a behavior that goes unrewarded will be extinguished. Consistently ignoring an undesirable behavior will go far toward eliminating it. When the teacher does not respond angrily, the problem is forced back to its source--the student. Behaviorist learning theory is not only important in achieving desired behavior in mainstream education; special education teachers have classroom behavior modification plans to implement for their students. These plans assure success for these students in and out of school.
The teacher’s role in the classroom
The sequencing of curricular events led to an interest in the correct sequencing of classroom events and the teacher’s role in stimulating learners’ behavioural responses. Gagné focused on the importance of arranging stimuli to produce the most appropriate and desirable behavioural sequences. He specified nine ‘internal processes and their corresponding instructional events’
Cognitivism. Cognitivism involves the study of mental processes such as sensation, perception, attention, encoding and memory that behaviourists were reluctant to study, because cognition occurs inside the ‘black box’ of the brain
Practical implications of cognitivism for educators
Cognitivists maintain that learning involves developing effective ways of building schemata and processing information. Knowing how learners process information should be helpful in designing appropriate learning experiences.
correspond to key stages in the cognitivist model of learning: sensation, perception, attention, encoding and memory.
Sensation Teachers and instructional designers need to consider carefully the amount and type of information they present and the speed at which it is presented. Paivio (1986)
argues that the mind processes visual and auditory material along different channels and in different ways for encoding, storage and later retrieval.
* use materials and draw on experiences that involve all the senses; *present information in more than one sensory mode to facilitate dual
Perception Information-processing is both ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’. Top-down processing is perhaps the more important. In order to take account of processes of perception
teachers should: * place learning in context and take contextual factors into account; * review knowledge and assist learners to see relationships between old and
Attention A key concern for teachers is how to direct learners’ attention when there are competing sensory impressions and memory. One way that teachers can address the issue of engaging learners’ attention is by means of Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences
Constructivism. According to trivial constructivism, people construct mental models of the way things are. These mental models - or ‘constructs’ - form personal understandings.
When new information is received, the new mental constructs have to be accommodated within previously existing constructs. The new knowledge is adapted rather than adopted. A particularly important process occurs when new constructs conflict with old. Learners are likely to become puzzled, causing them to reconsider and reconfigure mental constructs. This iterative and active process leads to richer
understanding and improved learning.
social constructivism Social or Vygotskian constructivism emphasizes education for social transformation and reflects a theory of human development that situates the individual within a sociocultural context. Individual development derives from social interactions within which cultural meanings are shared by the group and eventually internalized by the individual.
Critical constructivism is particularly applicable to
the adult and community education context. This view of learning gives primary importance to raising people’s consciousness of the social and cultural conditions in
which they find themselves - particularly when their circumstances are characterized by domination and disempowerment. It emphasizes the importance of people being self-reflective, of their being able to challenge dominant social views and articulate counter views.
Educational implications of constructivism
Because constructivism is principally a theory about how people learn, we can draw many educational implications from the work of the key constructivist theorists, and those who have used constructivist principles. Some constructivist practices in education include:
+ the diagnosis of learners’ individual learning styles;
+ the identification of learners’ strengths or intelligences;
+ curricular practices such as Individual Learning Plans (ILPs);
+ attention to cultural inclusivity; + innovative learning and teaching strategies such as problem-based learning; + links between community-based learning and formal education; + authentic assessment practices, which incorporate learners’ views.
Scaffolding strategies for the classroom
In order to scaffold learning, teachers should: + provide time for pupils to construct relationships with each other; + allow pupils’ responses to drive lessons, determining the teaching methodology and content; + inquire about pupils’ understanding of concepts, including false understandings,
before sharing their own understanding of these concepts;
+ encourage pupils to engage in dialogue with the teacher and with each other; + encourage inquiry by asking open-ended questions and encouraging peer questioning; + seek elaboration of pupils’ responses to questions; + wait for a response after asking questions