A Framework for Understanding Learning Perspectives PGCE Secondary 9 October 2009 James Atherton www.bedspce.org.uk/2dary
<ul><li>This is a annotated and expanded version of the slides from the lecture itself; which should make sense when read ...
What do we need to learn this for? Rather than go on about what my aims and objectives are for a session (because that is ...
How to  think like  a teacher We are supposed to be covering “learning theories”, but we need to think about the status of...
Some ideas are like “thresholds”—once you get them you can cross to a different level of understanding
The Tardis is a great illustration of what happens when you go through some conceptual doors; the space is bigger on the i...
Health Warning!
Not “scientific” If you are a natural scientist or an engineer, you will be disappointed in learning theories. None of the...
Fads and fashions Which of course makes them prone to influence and abuse, and to the whims of fashion.
<ul><li>Such as... </li></ul>
“ NTL” model Practice by doing Discussion Demonstration Audio-visual Reading Lecture 75% 50% 30% 20% 10% 5% Teachback 90% ...
Some “styles…” <ul><li>convergers versus divergers </li></ul><ul><li>verbalisers versus imagers </li></ul><ul><li>holists ...
<ul><li>How more explicit could we have been? Let me try harder this time. There is  no  scientific justification for teac...
<ul><li>Theories of learning are based on a range of assumptions about learners and the learning process, which may have h...
Images of Teaching and Learning On other courses I frequently ask people to represent their images of the learning process...
<ul><li>So I asked you to spend two or three minutes talking to people around you and sharing your preferred assumptions a...
Learners... <ul><li>Are empty vessels  </li></ul><ul><li>Are black boxes </li></ul><ul><li>Are growing up </li></ul><ul><l...
...have to be tamed <ul><li>Break their will betimes . Begin this work before they can run alone, before they can speak pl...
Are empty vessels Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled...
Are empty vessels Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled...
Are black boxes ? According to behaviourist theory
Classical Conditioning <ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus    Unconditioned Response  </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus...
Classical Conditioning <ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus    Unconditioned Response  </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus...
John Broadus  Watson <ul><li>1878-1958 </li></ul><ul><li>Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University </li></ul><ul...
Watson <ul><li>Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University  </li></ul><ul><li>Believer in the  power of the enviro...
Burrhus F  Skinner <ul><li>1904-1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Most prominent behaviourist </li></ul><ul><li>Operant  conditioning...
Operant conditioning <ul><li>Behaviour which is  reinforced  is more likely to be repeated. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This beh...
Operant Conditioning 2 <ul><li>Lack of reinforcement leads to  extinction </li></ul><ul><li>The  schedule   of reinforceme...
Applications <ul><li>Break down learning into behavioural  steps </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce  for success </li></ul><ul><u...
Skinner’s project <ul><li>Teaching machines and instructional technology </li></ul><ul><li>Perfect communities—  Walden Tw...
Applicability <ul><li>Training for  action  rather than  thought </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill acquisition </li></ul></ul><u...
Critique <ul><li>Limited by self-imposed constraints of diminishing relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Limited applicability in r...
Burrhus F  Skinner <ul><li>1904-1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Most prominent behaviourist </li></ul><ul><li>Operant  conditioning...
Growing up Are children just little adults, who have not yet had time to acquire all the knowledge of a grown-up? Or do th...
Jean Piaget  (1896-1980) Piaget has been hugely influential in researching and explicating the latter view.
Piaget’s big idea <ul><li>The capacity to think depends on  growing up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Unfolding” capacity </li></...
P’s main stages of development JSA  Formal logic and abstract thought. Formal Operations 11+ More adult-like but abstract ...
Egocentrism 1 JSA  Doll 1 Piaget & Inhelder (1956) What will Doll 2 see? (Can the child put himself into her position?) Do...
Egocentrism 2 JSA  Hughes (1975) Where can Teddy hide? Policeman 1 Policeman 2
Conservation of volume 1 JSA  Which one has the most in it? 1 2 3
Conservation of number JSA
Do they still have the same amount  (sic)  or does one have more? JSA
Adaptation JSA  A really critical and useful idea: read more about it on the linked web-page  Assimilation Accommodation
Jean Piaget  (1896-1980) Piaget
<ul><li>Are lions to be tamed; the teacher is a lion-tamer </li></ul><ul><li>Are audiences to be entertained; the teacher ...
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Perspectives on Learning

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An elliptical introduction to learning theories for post-grad teacher-training students. Don't look here for factual content, but for orientation.

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  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Shaping: Most famously getting pigeons to play ping-pong. Two pigeons on either side of a table-tennis net, with a ball Food reinforcement used to encourage movement in the direction of the ball Then gets more specific, only for pecking at ball Then only in direction of net Then only getting over net Remarkably fast: whole training takes only about ten minutes Relies on skill of trainer of course, detecting the desired behaviours and reinforcing them Used in “clicker” training of animals
  • Schedule—reinforce every time and it is mere bribery. The learning has to be established in its own right. Value—food is a reinforce to a hungry animal but not to a satiated one Anticipatory avoidance learning: see http://www.learningandteaching.infolearninga_a_learning.htm Learned helplessness: see www.learningandteaching.info learninglearned_helplessness.htm
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Development theorists 25 Feb 03 11/10/09 JSA
  • Perspectives on Learning

    1. 1. A Framework for Understanding Learning Perspectives PGCE Secondary 9 October 2009 James Atherton www.bedspce.org.uk/2dary
    2. 2. <ul><li>This is a annotated and expanded version of the slides from the lecture itself; which should make sense when read in conjunction with the web-page. </li></ul><ul><li>Annotations and additional material are shaded like this page. </li></ul>
    3. 3. What do we need to learn this for? Rather than go on about what my aims and objectives are for a session (because that is teacher-speak, not learner-speak) I prefer to try to answer the question students actually ask
    4. 4. How to think like a teacher We are supposed to be covering “learning theories”, but we need to think about the status of that knowledge. Is it just “inert” stuff we know about, or is it something which informs thinking and practice? So I want to offer an orientation to those theories, which will help you to put them in context and use them as you acquire more knowledge about them
    5. 5. Some ideas are like “thresholds”—once you get them you can cross to a different level of understanding
    6. 6. The Tardis is a great illustration of what happens when you go through some conceptual doors; the space is bigger on the inside than on the outside
    7. 7. Health Warning!
    8. 8. Not “scientific” If you are a natural scientist or an engineer, you will be disappointed in learning theories. None of them have the predictive capacity you will have come to expect in a theory. Instead, they offer different perspectives which you might find useful. In that sense they are more like “myths”, as the anthropologists use the term. It is more important that they be useful than that they be true.
    9. 9. Fads and fashions Which of course makes them prone to influence and abuse, and to the whims of fashion.
    10. 10. <ul><li>Such as... </li></ul>
    11. 11. “ NTL” model Practice by doing Discussion Demonstration Audio-visual Reading Lecture 75% 50% 30% 20% 10% 5% Teachback 90% Take this model which appears in practically every introductory text on learning. It is supposed to be about the proportion of material which can be recalled after being learned under certain conditions. It is attributed to “National Training Laboratories, of Bethel Maine” but even they don’t know where it came from, or what, if any empirical basis it has. But it does look plausible, doesn’t it?
    12. 12. Some “styles…” <ul><li>convergers versus divergers </li></ul><ul><li>verbalisers versus imagers </li></ul><ul><li>holists versus serialists </li></ul><ul><li>deep versus surface learning </li></ul><ul><li>activists versus reflectors </li></ul><ul><li>pragmatists versus theorists </li></ul><ul><li>adaptors versus innovators </li></ul><ul><li>assimilators versus explorers </li></ul><ul><li>field dependent versus field independent </li></ul><ul><li>globalists versus analysts </li></ul><ul><li>assimilators versus accommodators </li></ul><ul><li>imaginative versus analytic learners </li></ul><ul><li>non-committers versus plungers </li></ul><ul><li>common-sense versus dynamic learners </li></ul><ul><li>concrete versus abstract learners </li></ul><ul><li>random versus sequential learners </li></ul><ul><li>initiators versus reasoners </li></ul><ul><li>intuitionists versus analysts </li></ul><ul><li>extroverts versus introverts </li></ul><ul><li>sensing versus intuition </li></ul><ul><li>thinking versus feeling </li></ul><ul><li>judging versus perceiving </li></ul><ul><li>left brainers versus right brainers </li></ul><ul><li>meaning-directed versus undirected </li></ul><ul><li>theorists versus humanitarians </li></ul><ul><li>activists versus theorists </li></ul><ul><li>pragmatists versus reflectors </li></ul><ul><li>organisers versus innovators </li></ul><ul><li>lefts/ analytics/ inductives/ successive processors </li></ul><ul><li>versus rights/globals/ deductives/ simultaneous processors </li></ul><ul><li>executive, hierarchic, conservative versus legislative, anarchic, liberal. </li></ul>Then there are “learning styles”; here are just some of them identified by Coffield et alI (2004 )
    13. 13. <ul><li>How more explicit could we have been? Let me try harder this time. There is no scientific justification for teaching or learning strategies based on VAKT and tutors should stop using learning style instruments based on them. There is no theory of VAKT from which to draw any implications for practice. It should be a dead parrot. It should have ceased to function. </li></ul><ul><li>Coffield F (2008) Just suppose teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><li>became the first priority... London; Learning and Skills Network p.32 </li></ul><ul><li>(emphasis in original) </li></ul>The report’s conclusions that learning styles theories were almost all pernicious rubbish which undermined good teaching were not greeted enthusiastically. Coffield returned to the fray with this in 2008
    14. 14. <ul><li>Theories of learning are based on a range of assumptions about learners and the learning process, which may have historical, political or cultural roots... </li></ul>
    15. 15. Images of Teaching and Learning On other courses I frequently ask people to represent their images of the learning process, graphically. These are some which come up fairly frequently
    16. 16. <ul><li>So I asked you to spend two or three minutes talking to people around you and sharing your preferred assumptions and models. </li></ul><ul><li>Afterwards I asked a few of you to tell us about any new images. Among others, you suggested; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A growing tree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A rocket (or a ship) launching on a journey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Casting a pebble into a pond... </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A common theme was the learners’ self-direction, choice and autonomy. </li></ul><ul><li>It has not always been thus... </li></ul>
    17. 17. Learners... <ul><li>Are empty vessels </li></ul><ul><li>Are black boxes </li></ul><ul><li>Are growing up </li></ul><ul><li>Are lions to be tamed </li></ul><ul><li>Are audiences to be entertained </li></ul><ul><li>Are collaborators </li></ul><ul><li>Are… </li></ul>These are some of the underlying assumptions behind different theories of learning
    18. 18. ...have to be tamed <ul><li>Break their will betimes . Begin this work before they can run alone, before they can speak plain, perhaps before they can speak at all. Whatever pains it costs, break the will if you would not damn the child. Let a child from a year old be taught to fear the rod and to cry softly; from that age make him do as he is bid, if you whip him ten times running to effect it... Break his will now, and his soul shall live, and he will probably bless you to all eternity. </li></ul><ul><li>(John Wesley, cited in Southey, Life of Wesley ) </li></ul>JSA
    19. 19. Are empty vessels Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts. Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of child-hood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away. &quot;Girl number twenty,&quot; said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, &quot;I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?&quot; (Dickens, 1854, ch 2) Learners are passive recipients of what authority chooses to fill them with, and have to be made malleable to be formed into whatever the industrial age demands
    20. 20. Are empty vessels Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts. Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of child-hood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away. &quot;Girl number twenty,&quot; said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, &quot;I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?&quot; (Dickens, 1854, ch 2) No-one claims this “theory”. It’s just obvious. Innit?
    21. 21. Are black boxes ? According to behaviourist theory
    22. 22. Classical Conditioning <ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus  Unconditioned Response </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus together with Conditioned Stimulus  Unconditioned Response </li></ul><ul><li>Conditioned Stimulus  Conditioned Response </li></ul>For which the paradigmatic learner is an animal rather than a human.
    23. 23. Classical Conditioning <ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus  Unconditioned Response </li></ul><ul><li>Unconditioned Stimulus together with Conditioned Stimulus  Unconditioned Response </li></ul><ul><li>Conditioned Stimulus  Conditioned Response </li></ul>Pavlov http://chocolate-week.co.uk/ http://chocolate-week.co.uk/
    24. 24. John Broadus Watson <ul><li>1878-1958 </li></ul><ul><li>Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University </li></ul><ul><li>“ Founder” of Behavio(u)rism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental emphasis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rejects “mind”. </li></ul></ul>JSA
    25. 25. Watson <ul><li>Professor of Psychology at Johns Hopkins University </li></ul><ul><li>Believer in the power of the environment : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Give me a dozen healthy infants ... and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and yes, even beggar-man and thief— regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Left university after a scandal in 1920, to sell rubber boots </li></ul>But behaviourism has a great confidence in the power of the environment to shape behaviour; hence it can be very radical. This claim was made in 1916!
    26. 26. Burrhus F Skinner <ul><li>1904-1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Most prominent behaviourist </li></ul><ul><li>Operant conditioning </li></ul>Sets out the power of reinforcement (chiefly, loosely, reward) to shape behaviour. Still very influential re. SEN, psychomotor training, etc.
    27. 27. Operant conditioning <ul><li>Behaviour which is reinforced is more likely to be repeated. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This behaviour can be shaped by progressively more specific reinforcement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reinforcement of desired behaviour is more effective than punishment of undesired behaviour. </li></ul></ul>JSA
    28. 28. Operant Conditioning 2 <ul><li>Lack of reinforcement leads to extinction </li></ul><ul><li>The schedule of reinforcement is complex </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement depends on the value of the reinforcer to the subject </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement can be the absence of a noxious stimulus </li></ul><ul><ul><li> ” anticipatory-avoidance learning” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Loss of connection between reinforcement and action leads to passivity and fatalism (“learned helplessness”). </li></ul>JSA
    29. 29. Applications <ul><li>Break down learning into behavioural steps </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce for success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not punish for lack of success </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Establish (“stamp in”) each step before proceeding </li></ul><ul><li>Gradually “fade out” reinforcement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As secondary reinforcers take over </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overall process known as Behaviour Modification. </li></ul>JSA
    30. 30. Skinner’s project <ul><li>Teaching machines and instructional technology </li></ul><ul><li>Perfect communities— Walden Two (1948) </li></ul><ul><li>Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1973). </li></ul>JSA
    31. 31. Applicability <ul><li>Training for action rather than thought </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skill acquisition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reflex-level, second-to-second behaviour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not account for strategic behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Therapeutic applications for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phobias </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Depression (Beck’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT]) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour management in class </li></ul></ul>JSA
    32. 32. Critique <ul><li>Limited by self-imposed constraints of diminishing relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Limited applicability in real-world human learning </li></ul><ul><li>Project undermined by “ Cognitive Revolution ” from mid-70s onwards: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding of genetic influences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to trace brain activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chomsky on language. </li></ul></ul>JSA
    33. 33. Burrhus F Skinner <ul><li>1904-1990 </li></ul><ul><li>Most prominent behaviourist </li></ul><ul><li>Operant conditioning </li></ul>Skinner
    34. 34. Growing up Are children just little adults, who have not yet had time to acquire all the knowledge of a grown-up? Or do they think differently, so that learning needs to be tailored to their maturing capabilities?
    35. 35. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Piaget has been hugely influential in researching and explicating the latter view.
    36. 36. Piaget’s big idea <ul><li>The capacity to think depends on growing up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Unfolding” capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stages of readiness to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Genetic epistemology” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Similar to stages of physical growth (“milestones”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to hold head up, sit up, walk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… through to puberty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(A few brief examples follow for illustration only) </li></ul>JSA
    37. 37. P’s main stages of development JSA Formal logic and abstract thought. Formal Operations 11+ More adult-like but abstract capacities limited Concrete Operations 7-11 Reasoning, but not using adult logic Intuitive 4-7 Using symbols Forming concepts Preoperational : Pre-conceptual 2-4 Sensory and motor experience Start language and symbolic thought (Schemata) Sensorimotor 0-2
    38. 38. Egocentrism 1 JSA Doll 1 Piaget & Inhelder (1956) What will Doll 2 see? (Can the child put himself into her position?) Doll 2 Child a b c.
    39. 39. Egocentrism 2 JSA Hughes (1975) Where can Teddy hide? Policeman 1 Policeman 2
    40. 40. Conservation of volume 1 JSA Which one has the most in it? 1 2 3
    41. 41. Conservation of number JSA
    42. 42. Do they still have the same amount (sic) or does one have more? JSA
    43. 43. Adaptation JSA A really critical and useful idea: read more about it on the linked web-page Assimilation Accommodation
    44. 44. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Piaget
    45. 45. <ul><li>Are lions to be tamed; the teacher is a lion-tamer </li></ul><ul><li>Are audiences to be entertained; the teacher is an entertainer. </li></ul><ul><li>Are collaborators; the teacher is a “new romantic” </li></ul><ul><li>(Hargreaves) </li></ul>Hargreaves suggests that these are three myths about students held by their teachers. Each of them contains a profound implied theory of learning, and they are undoubtedly much more influential than the academic theories

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