Oxford Brookes UniversityPCTHE Learning Theories December 2010 George Roberts Oxford Brookes University
That’s all very well in practice, but how does it work in theory? Do you use theory as a drunk might use a lamp post: more for support than illumination?
... learning can be enhanced through: a consideration of the context and experience of others, familiarity with received wisdom, reflection on these, and the use of the first hand experience of the learner. [however] Discussions of reflection in learning often emphasise the first hand experience of the learner rather than - the role of formal theory, - the importance of the broader social context - and the experience of others (Dyke 2006) Reflective practice?
Outline 1330 – 1430 Position Papers 1430 – 1500 Theory of theory Break 1515 – 1600 Critical theory and academic identity
Position papers How is your assessment practice a representation of what it means to be a good teacher in higher education? What is your assessment practice?Consider different aspects of assessment: diagnostic, formative, summative, evaluative, as well as the question of feedback. This might take the form of a brief catalogue of practices, categorised according to aspect. What, broadly, does it mean to be a “good teacher in higher education”? That is, what are the quality criteria which you will bring to the paper? Syntheseyour understanding and evaluate your collective practice in light of the criteria which you have developed
Feedback Context To promote “better” learning Aspirational Theory as a set of ideals Frameworks can be one sided, do not acknowledge diversity Challenge Misrepresentation, goal oriented Confusion Social stimulus Many theories could be applied to negotiate difference
Learning Theory“difference” A theory of theory
There is difference What do you do with it? as a teacher as a researcher as an academic
2 orientations towards acquiring knowledge & … 2 functions of theorydeductivefrom theory to observationpredictiveinductivefrom observation to theoryexplanatory
another orientation towards acquiring knowledge & … another function of theoryholisticgenerative
So… theory is: predictive explanatory generative
and, which reminds me… theory is: nomothetic oops! typical Or typifying Or typologising Or generalising
So, we have a typology of theory… a theory of theory explanatory predictive generative typical
And the last bit? Falsifiable Theory vs.. ideology: Ideology may well be predictive and explanatory, but instead of generative it is restrictive, instead of typical it is normalising and instead of falsifiable it is enforced. (Popper)
How do we come to know things or do things differently?
History of Ideas“purpose” Institutions of society Hidden curriculum Critical theory
Hidden curricular issues Overt curriculum of the early modern age “3 Rs”:reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. Reproduction of these cultural goods, universal literacy and numeracy, would benefit both the individual as well as society. Today’s overt curriculum Transferrable skills, graduate competencies Flexibility Community/team work Personalisation
Covert or hidden curriculum Industrial era covert curriculum: Punctuality, tolerance of repetition, subordination Post industrial “Knowledge Economy” covert curriculum Piecework, precarity, competition Normalisation Surveillance
Criticality Exposing assumptions Ron Barnett Exposing culture Scollon, Barthes, Bourdieu, Latour Exposing power Brookfield, Fairclough, Bhabha
Stephen Brookfield’s four “critical reflective lenses”
our “autobiography as teachers and learners”, i.e. through our own eyes
Positivism Anti-metaphysical/clericalist, accumulist theory of knowledge based on observation plus logic. Theory is simply the codification of accumulated knowledge and not of particular importance. Logic plus observation can lead to a grand unification of all knowledge. (Gailson, 2007)
Socio-culturalism Social constructivism The simplest utterance, far from reflecting a constant, rigid correspondence between sound and meaning, is really a process. … the inner relationship we were looking for was not a prerequisite for, but rather a product of, the historical development of human consciousness. (Vygotsky) All observation is theory laden (Popper) Disciplines are like ships passing in the night (Kuhn) Cultures parse the world differently (Gailson)
In Groups: Consider this Most academics - in the humanities and social sciences, particularly - come at their subject these days from a relativist perspective: knowledge is "in here"; there is no knowledge without the knower; knowledge is "constructed" in cultural contexts; knowledge is not "given" or "out there". There is no "absolute truth". This position is quite different from the classical approach: knowledge is "out there"; the "laws of nature" are independent from the mind of the investigator; there is "truth" to be discovered. This approach depends on the "independent, objective observer", who can stand aside from the observed phenomenon and form an unbiased view. This classical approach is the traditional position of many scientists, as well the commonsense view of how knowledge is produced, which (according to Scollon) is held by an international public discourse of commerce and government. (Scollon 2003: 71)
Activity Explain this statement to one another Position yourself in respect to the statement What does "theory" mean to you?
Academic identity Disciplinarity as a dimension of diversity in higher education, showing an understanding of broad differences in epistemologies Disciplinarity may affect learning approaches curriculum outcomes current challenges learner characteristics…
Approaches to teaching Prosser & Trigwell (various) Simple but well researched 2-dimensional framework Information transfer (teacher focus) scale Conceptual change (student focus) scale Relational and context specific
Teaching Perspectives Transmission Apprenticeship Developmental Nurturing Social Reform http://teachingperspectives.com/
Wider aims: good practice encourage student-tutor contact encourage student-student co-operation encourage active learning give prompt feedback emphasise time on task have and communicate high expectations respect diverse talents and ways of learning (Chickering & Ehrman, 1987) independent of the mode of engagement
Honey and Mumford Activitists (Do) Immerse themselves fully in new experiences Enjoy here and now Open minded, enthusiastic, flexible Act first, consider consequences later Seek to centre activity around themselves Reflectors (Review) Stand back and observe Cautious, take a back seat Collect and analyze data about experience and events, slow to reach conclusions Use information from past, present and immediate observations to maintain a big picture perspective. Theorists (Conclude) Think through problems in a logical manner, value rationality and objectivity Assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories Disciplined, aiming to fit things into rational order Keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking Pragmatists (Plan) Keen to put ideas, theories and techniques into practice Search new ideas and experiment Act quickly and confidently on ideas, gets straight to the point Are impatient with endless discussion
Group (team) roles “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” (Belbin) Everybody has a preferred role People are likely to take on more than one role team roles are not personality types; they are clusters of characteristics, Role orientation Action shaper, implementer, completer finisher People chair/co-ordinator, teamworker, resource investigator Cerebral plant, monitor/evaluator, specialist General group roles Group building & maintenance Group task
Conversational model Borrowed from http://www.elicit.scotcit.ac.uk/modules/intro/unit3.htm
Levels of learning: Bloom evaluation synthesis analysis application comprehension knowledge ATHERTON J S (2005) Learning and Teaching: Bloom's taxonomy [On-line] UK: Available: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm
Sequence & Stance Sequence Where are you in the course? Is it the first week or the 8th week? Have groups been used in other settings? Do people know one another yet? What is the interactional function of groupwork (as opposed to the instrumental or regulatory orheuristicfunctions?) Maxims of stance (Scollon 1998) Channel Relationship Topic e-Tivity Sequence (Salmon)
HEA Values Core values Respect for learners Commitment to scholarship Developing learning communities Encouraging participation in higher education Commitment to personal CPD (or CPPD)
QCF Level descriptors Level 7 (paraphrase) Ability to reformulate and use relevant methodologies and approaches to address problematic situations that involve many interacting factors Taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action underpinning substantial change Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate complex information, concepts and theories as they apply to current developments that affect the areas of work or study.
Thank you George Roberts Senior Lecturer, Educational Development OCSLD Wheatley Campus Oxford Brookes University Oxford, OX33 1HX firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.google.com/profiles/georgebroberts