R4 - Theories of Learning
BY FERN HOSKIN
Theories of learning and ME so far...
This reflection had me thinking long and hard about the theories, which I currently practice and the ones that I want to deliver, in a more confident way. It had me self-reflecting (funny that), and trying to review my current practice. To be fair, my current experience with teaching primary aged kids are fairly limited, outside of coaching and the Special Education Department at this point in time, with my time in primary schools about to expand majorly.
This could be a good thing in relation to developing a sound theoretical approach to successful teaching or it could be a negative thing, in the aspect that every child and I will encounter so many, can and probably will be different. I say – positive, I’m an open book, ready to for an adventure and ready to learn!
I couldn’t decide on just one theory, and I know that is probably incorrect, but I think what I currently do and what I want to be capable of lays about 40 - 60 with two theories.
Firstly, refer to guided learning as the ‘boss’ of teaching strategies. I see this approach as what I want to be able to deliver with confidence and knowledge to varied audiences in an individualized and set out approach:
Guided Learning – The teachers make the main relevant decisions about the goals of learning, learning strategies and how to measure outcomes, while taking care of feedback, judgment and rewards (Groff, 2012).
This approach I have seen in action at my homeschool in a year 1 class and it was executed amazingly. I have practiced a few times in this classroom but never fully in control of the class obviously but haven’t yet felt 100% successful as yet in my delivery and organization – because, well I haven’t set out planning in school properly yet. I can see this approach being so effective in the younger areas of the school environment, which is where I did initially see myself working once qualified. I enjoy this approach because the learners know what is planned, they have a set structure, which, is enforced by the teacher, and the system would be ‘smooth’.
This as a new teacher would be a great approach to have initially. It would give me a sound lesson plan, term plan and overall working system, which as a beginner teacher would potentially be more successful. For the children, this approach has the set up for students who may need repetition and regulation in their lives, for the children who don’t like change or surprises. Also for as I stated above, the younger aspect of the school, where they don’t know what is meant to be taught or what is the regulated way from the New Zealand Curriculum, directly to their classroom and learning.
Purely because this is mainly teacher driven, doesn’t take away from the fact that the teacher must still accommodate for individual learners and cater for developmental issues.
This approach is followed closely by what I feel I do more now, from more of a ‘distant’ position, as I have in the past been unsure on my delivery or felt to have the authority. I think of it as the child-assisted approach:
Action Learning – the learners play a much more active role in determining the objectives of the learning than in guided learning; there is string element of learner self-organization and self-planning (Groff, 2012).
This approach is a theory I would promote for the children whom can be a little bit more responsible and are older (not new entrants etc.) to build their decision-making and ability to be self-organized and in charge of their personal needs specifically. I see it being very effective for children who are gifted and talented students with an advanced process of cognitive development for their age above the rest of the class. I like this approach because it give the children ownership and encourages them to make good life decisions.
Having a say in what we learn would have been an effective approach to learning when I was at school, as I often weren’t sure on what the teacher was trying to get across, I learnt in different ways to some of my peers. The teachers who took the approach to be stern and dominant in the delivery of content, infuriated me in a sense that they didn’t apply any knowledge of each individual learner, they forced work onto us and a lot of the time I was slower at catching onto the gist of the activity, therefor got left behind.
If I had to pick between the two, I would pick action learning, with a drop of guided learning purely for the fact that I think the children should be able to make informed decisions at some point to discover personality, morals and standards of their own to grow into future leaders. This approach will give an open and trusted environment, with give from both parties, which, I think is very important.