Humanistic Theory of Learning

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Humanistic Theory of Learning

  1. 1. Humanistic Theory of Learning By: Adora A. Barnachea IM 219 – Principles and Teachniques of Adult Learning Dr. Carmen Garlan 2nd Sem. 2009 - 2010 Miriam College, Q.C.
  2. 2. Humanism •  Humanism, a paradigm that emerged in the 1960s, focuses on the human freedom, dignity, and potential. •  A central assumption of humanism, according to Huitt (2001), is that people act with intentionality and values. This is in contrast to the behaviorist notion of operant conditioning (which argues that all behavior is the result of the application of consequences) and the cognitive psychologist belief that the discovering knowledge or constructing meaning is central to learning •  Humanists also believe that it is necessary to study the person as a whole, especially as an individual grows and develops over the lifespan. It follows that the study of the self, motivation, and goals are areas of particular interest.
  3. 3. •  The humanistic theory of learning involves the concept of learning through watching the behavior of others and what results from that behavior. However, learning does not have to involve a behavior change. Learning comes about as a result of observation (Barrett, 2006).
  4. 4. •  The teacher's role, according to the humanistic theory, is to be a role model. The teacher is to model appropriate behavior and make an effort not to replicate inappropriate behavior. A teacher is also expected to provide a reason and motivation for each task, teach general learning skills, foster group work, and if possible, give a choice of tasks to the students (Huitt, 2001).
  5. 5. •  The role of the student is to explore and observe. Students can use self-evaluation techniques to monitor and observe their own behaviors and make necessary changes. Students also need to take responsibility for their own learning and keep their goals realistic.
  6. 6. •  If a teacher were to use a humanistic approach to teach a unit in multiplication she would have the students work in collaborative groups. There, students can closely observe the behavior of peers and evaluate their own progress. A teacher could also let the students brainstorm and discuss how they think they would best learn multiplication as a class (Huitt, 2001).
  7. 7. Humanistic Orientations to Learning Humanistic "theories" of learning tend to be highly value-driven and hence more like prescriptions (about what ought to happen) rather than descriptions (of what does happen).
  8. 8. •  They emphasise the "natural desire" of everyone to learn. Whether this natural desire is to learn whatever it is you are teaching, however, is not clear. •  It follows from this, they maintain, that learners need to be empowered and to have control over the learning process. •  So the teacher relinquishes a great deal of authority and becomes a facilitator.
  9. 9. •  In short, the basic concern in this orientation is for the human potential for growth.
  10. 10. Figures in Humanistic models of Learning Key Proponents of Humanism •  Abraham Maslow •  Carl Rogers •  Malcolm Knowles (adult education and andragogy) Other Proponents: •  David Kolb •  Jack Mezirow •  Paolo Freire
  11. 11. Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) Ø  Considered the Father of Humanistic Psychology; Ø  Maslow's theory is based on the notion that experience is the primary phenomenon in the study of human learning and behavior. Ø  He placed emphasis on choice, creativity, values, self-realization, all distinctively human qualities, and believed that meaningfulness and subjectivity were more important than objectivity. Ø  He believed that development of human potential, dignity and worth are ultimate concerns.
  12. 12. •  Maslow rejected behaviorist views and Freud's theories on the basis of their reductionistic approaches. He felt Freud's view of human nature was negative, and he valued goodness, nobility and reason. Also, Freud concentrated on the mentally ill, and Maslow was interested in healthy human psychology •  He is famous for proposing that human motivation is based on a hierarchy of needs. The four levels (lower-order needs) are considered physiological needs, while the top level is considered growth needs. The lower level needs need to be satisfied before higher-order needs can influence behavior.
  13. 13. Self-actualization – morality, creativity, problem solving, etc. Esteem – includes confidence, self-esteem, achievement, respect, etc. Belongingness – includes love, friendship, intimacy, family, etc. Safety – includes security of environment, employment, resources, health, property, etc. Physiological – includes air, food, water, sex, sleep, other factors towards homeostasis, etc.
  14. 14. Ø  From Maslow's perspective, the drive to learn is intrinsic. The purpose of learning is to bring about self- actualization, and the goals of educators should include this process. Learning contributes to psychological health. Ø  Maslow proposed other goals of learning, including discovery of one's vocation or destiny; knowledge of values; realization of life as precious, acquisition of peak experiences, sense of accomplishment, satisfaction of psychological needs, awareness of beauty and wonder in life, impulse control, developing choice, and grappling with the critical existential problems of life.
  15. 15. Ø  Maslow's theory of learning highlighted the differences between experiential knowledge and spectator knowledge. He regarded spectator, or scientific, knowledge to be inferior to experiential. Ø  Properties of experiential learning include: •  immersion in the experience without awareness of the flow of time •  momentarily not being self-conscious •  transcending time, place, history, and society by being beyond and unaffected by them •  merging with that which is being experienced •  being innocently receptive, as a child, uncritical
  16. 16. •  suspending temporarily evaluation of the experience in terms of its importance or unimportance •  lack of inhibition, subsiding of selfishness, fear, defensiveness •  experience unfolds naturally without striving or effort •  suspending criticism, validation, and evaluation of the experience •  trusting experience by passively letting it happen; letting go of preconceived notions •  disengaging from logical, analytical, and rational activities
  17. 17. Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) Experiential Learning Ø  Principally known as the founder of person-centred psychotherapy and almost the inventor of counselling, also a leading figure in the development of humanistic approaches to education. Ø  He was discouraged by the emphasis on cognitivism in education. He believed this was responsible for the loss of excitement and enthusiasm for learning. Ø  Rogers' point of view emphasized the inclusion of feelings and emotions in education.
  18. 18. Ø  He believed that education and therapy shared similar goals of personal change and self-knowing. He was interested in learning that leads to personal growth and development, as was Maslow. Ø  He believed that the highest levels of significant learning included personal involvement at both the affective and cognitive levels, were self-initiated, were so pervasive they could change attitudes, behavior, and in some cases, even the personality of the learner. Learnings needed to be evaluated by the learner and take on meaning as part of the total experience.
  19. 19. Ø  He saw the following elements as being involved in significant or experiential learning. •  It has a quality of personal involvement—the whole person in both feeling and cognitive aspects being in the learning event. •  It is self-initiated. Even when the impetus or stimulus comes from the outside, the sense of discovers of reaching out, of grasping and comprehending, comes from within. •  It is pervasive. It makes a difference in the behaviour, the attitudes, perhaps even the personality of the learner.
  20. 20. •  It is evaluated by the learner. She knows whether it is meeting her need, whether it leads toward what she wants to know, whether it illuminates the dark area of ignorance she is experiencing. The locus of evaluation, we might say, resides definitely in the learner. •  Its essence is meaning. When such learning takes place, the element of meaning to the learner is built into the whole experience.
  21. 21. Ø  Rogers outlined attitudes which characterized a true facilitator of learning: 1. Realness - the instructor should not present a "front" or "facade" but should strive to be aware of his/her own feelings and to communicate them in the classroom context. The instructor should present genuineness, and engage in direct personal encounters with the learner. 2. Prizing the Learner - This characteristic includes acceptance and trust of each individual student. The instructor must be able to accept the fear, hesitation, apathy, and goals of the learner.
  22. 22. 3.  Empathic Understanding - The instructor can understand the student's reactions from the inside. Carl Rogers warned that a non- judgmental teacher is sure to arouse suspicion in older students and adults, because they have been "conned" so many times. The wise teacher is aware of this and can accept their initial distrust and apprehension as new relationships between teacher and students are built.
  23. 23. Summary •  Humanism is a paradigm/ philosophy/pedagogical approach that believes learning is viewed as a personal act to fulfil one’s potential. •  In Humanistic Perspective, emotions and affect play a role in learning •  Key terms in this theory are self- actualization, teacher as facilitator, and affect

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