Tepi 331: Reflection 4: Theories Of Learning
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  • 1. TEPI 331 ASSESSMENT TASK SPECIFIC REFLECTION 4 THEORIES OF LEARNING
  • 2. QUESTION Name and describe one theory of learning that resonates strongly and positively with you. Explain why it appeals to you and give an example of: a) how this may potentially impact your work with students, and; b) how students may work in your classroom in relation to this theory.
  • 3. Social Constructivism Theory Of Learning Lev Vygotsky, the father of social constructivism , argued that 'all cognitive functions are products of social interactions and that learning was not simply the assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge by learners but the process by which learners were integrated into a knowledge community'. He believed that cultural and social context played an important part in learning and that these influences support a discovery model of learning.
  • 4. Vygotsky also emphasised the role of language and culture as the frameworks through which humans experience, communicate, and understand reality. Ausubel (1968, p.vi in McGee, 2008, p. 30) states that...'The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach..accordingly'. This is relevant to me as I believe learning happens before a child starts school and this 'knowledge' is the catalyst of future learning.
  • 5. In social constructivism.... ✔ Learning happens at the level of potential development (zone of proximal development); ✔ It comprises cognitive structures that will mature with teachers' guidance and peer collaboration; ✔ Learning is continuously “constructed” through the learners' experience and reflection.
  • 6. NZC And Social Constructivism Social constructivist learning theory is reflected in the New Zealand Curriculum (2007). The curriculum statements in science, mathematics and social studies has strong emphasis on 'context for learning' (learners' real-life world); cultural diversity; and accommodating 'learning for all' (Barker in McGee 2008 p.31).
  • 7. How Will Social Constructivism Impact My Teaching
  • 8. Bruning et al. explain, 'The aim of teaching, from a constructivist perspective, is not so much to transmit information, but rather to encourage knowledge formation and metacognitive processes for judging, organizing, and acquiring new information'.(TKI) Based on this premise, I have outlined how social constuctivism impacts my teaching.
  • 9. Learning is constructed My students are not blank slates or empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge. As a teacher I am not the 'expert' knowledge transfer station as this picture depicts. My role is to help my students construct knowledge rather than to regurgitate facts. I will adopt a teaching style that will allow my students to interact, discuss and express their ideas with their classmates persuasively yet respecting each others' views and ideas.
  • 10. Learning is active and inquiry-based My students will learn to formulate and test their ideas, draw conclusions and inferences, and gather and present their knowledge in a collaborative learning environment. My students set their own goals and actively involved in assessing their work through discussion with me. I will prompt my students to think and reflect by asking questions. I will encourage them to talk to me about what they have discovered in their learning, and to re-reflect on the problem if they need a clearer picture of the concept. My role as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding and learning through reciprocal approach.
  • 11. Learning is collaborative My students will be encouraged to learn in a collaborative environment. They are actively using experiments and problem solving techniques to reflect on the new knowledge that they are constructing through group work, discussion with their peers and using their peers as a source of resources. I will use cooperative learning in my classroom. I will organise my students in groups of four or five with mixed level of competence. Each group member is responsible in helping each others' learning.
  • 12. Learning is evolving Learning is happening in a 'social environment', therefore students need to connect with what they already know to what they are learning. And this is constantly reinforced with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and input to assist their learning. To promote successful learning in my students, I have to provide a learning environment where they are constantly motivated by me, their peers as well as themselves and the community. This could be as simple as positive feedback, rewards, certificates, or stickers!
  • 13. Learning is reflective A safe and effective classroom environment will encourage my students to reflect on their own learning process. I want them to take control of their own learning through discussion with me or in their groups. I will ensure that I provide an environment in which my students will feel safe to question and reflect on their own learning. Perhaps I could encourage my students to record their thoughts and feelings about their learning process in a journal and discuss this with them on a regular basis. This allows me to assess how, why and what to consider when planning my teaching.
  • 14. My Students And Social Constructivist Classroom
  • 15. My students are not empty vessels First and foremost my students will not be empty vessels waiting to be filled with 'expert knowledge'. My students will learn to assess their own learning through self- reflection, and through discussion with peers and me. They will construct knowledge and meanings through peer interactions and connection to the real world by participating actively in the classroom activities. They will learn to share information with peers, make decisions and assumed responsibilities for their learning goals. They will learn to link classroom learning and their daily lives and the wider communities.
  • 16. My students work as community of learners My students will work as a community of learners by acquiring teamwork skills as they will work in pairs and groups of varying competence. My students will learn to accept the diversity each team member brings to the group and consider it as a rich form of resources to be used in the learning process. They will be respectful of the cultural differences and experiences that people bring to the classroom. This cooperative learning among my students will engage them in higher thinking process as they learn to problem solve.
  • 17. My students develop interpersonal skills My students need to develop inter-personal and intrapersonal skills. My students will allow each member of the group to have their say. They will also learn to respect and help each other. My students will learn to communicate effectively and express their thoughts and ideas clearly with supported evidence.
  • 18. To Conclude... I expect social constructivism learning theory will transform my students from being passive recipients of information to active participants in the learning process through my guidance as a teacher and interaction with peers. By incorporating social constructivism in my classroom, I expect to constantly encourage students to assess their understanding by encouraging them to ask questions and reflecting on their experiences. My students take on an active role in their learning process and work as a team.
  • 19. References Barker, M, (2008). 'How do people learn? Understanding the learning process'. In: McGee, C and Fraser, D (ed), The professional practice of teaching. 3rd ed. New Zealand: Cengage learning. pp.17-46. https://gsi.berkeley.edu/teachingguide/theories/social.html http://instep.net.nz/Appendix-I-Learning-theories/Constructivism http://www.teachthought.com/learning/a-visual-primer-o-learning-theory/