3 Major Theories of Learning

Behaviorism, Cognitive Development, Phenomenology


  • The first theory
  • The ideas of Aristotle, Descartes, Locke & Rousseau
  • Edward Thorndike-founder of behavioral psychology
  • behavior can be learned by watching others
  • focused on individual learning, mastery of content and direct instruction
  • connections should be based on students experiences
  • what the learner needs and the behaviors the learner encounters


  • Learning comes from human interactions within the world
  • focused on problem solving strategies and reasoning and how the individual process certain information
  • knowledge and skill
  • 2 types of memory-short term and long term
  • Piaget-stages from birth to maturity (stages can vary based on environment)
  • creative, critical & intuitive thinking

(critical thinking can be taught/learned)

Phenomenology & Humanistic

  • Most recent theory
  • concerned with people making society better
  • Maslow's hierarchy of human needs (based off of humans emotions)
  • Student is viewed as a whole person (student is involved in life experiences and therefore needs to be positive and active)
  • focused on an individuals feelings, motivation and their freedom to learn

In what ways can emotional intelligence be justified?

Emotional Intelligence has a nice sized role in school. Our emotions influence how we learn and retrieve information. Students will learn in ways that is emotionally right for them. Every human has emotions, and these emotions can drive our actions. People will differ in their level of knowledge, just as they would differ with their emotions. Students need to develop emotional intelligence to be connected with what is taught in school an to be able to have certain social interactions.

Development of the Elementary Student

This chapter was interesting. When I teach my students I try really hard to incorporate all of the theory's so that I can reach all of my students. It mentioned that in book, that all areas of development must be considered when planning for and providing a safe classroom for your students. You can not think about how you earn best or what the best way is for you, you have to look at the class as a whole. With this said, every year changes. You can not keep the same environment (meaning, tables in the same spot etc) from year to year because your students will be different. They will have different social skills, language skills, morals and etc. This chapter made me realize that ever child has skills and will show these certain skills at a certain time in their life. Some may mature and develop these skills faster than others and slower than others.