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SCE Seminar 2009                             Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest...
SCE Seminar 2009                          Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009                              Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interes...
SCE Seminar 2009                         Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009                            Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest
SCE Seminar 2009                         Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009                             Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest...
SCE Seminar 2009                        Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009                          Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009                           Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

SCE Seminar 2009   Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

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Learning and Its relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest


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Seminar Paper - Satyam College of Education, B.Ed (2009-2010). Author: Rashmi Sharma

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Learning and Its relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest

  1. 1. LEARNING AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH MATURATION, ATTENTION AND INTEREST - A SEMINAR PAPER 9 SEPTEMBER 2009 SUBMITTED BY: Taxila Group B.Ed. (2009 – 2010) MENTOR: Ms. Jipsy Malhotra GROUP MEMBERS: Aparajita Archana Bhardwaj Geeta Gunjan Singh Manisha Sadhnani Neeti Tyagi Neetu Singh Poornima Rawat Preeti Sharma Rakhi Bulani Rashmi Rathi Rashmi Sharma Seema Kumari Shabnam Kandwal Shiney K. Jose Sujatha Rath Swati Priyadarshan Swati Seth Vandana Yogmaya Pal
  2. 2. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest Learning and its Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest Abstract Learning occupies a very important place in our life. Most of what we do is influenced by what we learn and how we learn it. Learning therefore provides a key to the structure of our personality and behaviour. The term learning is used to describe the modification of behaviour in learner due to training or experience. Learning and maturation are closely inter-related and together lead to behaviour change. The process of learning is complex and all pervasive. Learning situations are the most natural and common in life and every one of us is learning one thing or the other although we may or may not necessarily be aware of it. Several factors influence learning which are broadly classified into internal or personal factors of the learner and external or environmental factors. This paper describes three factors that influence learning and its extent viz. Maturation, Attention and Interest; and their implication on education of a child. 1. INTRODUCTION The term ‘learning’ is quite common and frequently used in our day-to-day conversation. We all learn at all times of our life and at any place where we get opportunity for doing so. We do so thorough the experiences – direct and indirect which we gain in coming into contact with the objects, people and ideas. While playing with a burning matchstick, a little child takes no time in withdrawing himself from it. He learns to avoid not only the burning matchstick but also all burning things. Thus, learning refers to a process of bringing change in behaviour through experience or teaching. Learning causes some types of changes in behaviour which are neither too temporary nor too permanent and these changes can only be affected through some or other type of experiences formal or informal, indirect or direct, organized or incidental. So basically, learning can be defined as a process of bringing relatively permanent changes in behaviour through experience. 1.1. DEFINITIONS OF LEARNING Following definitions of learning would help to understand the meaning of learning, its nature and broad dimensions: Crow and Crow, “Learning is acquisition of habits, knowledge and attitudes. It involves new ways of doing things and it operates in an individuals attains to overcome obstacles or to adjust to a new situation. It represents progressive changes in behaviour; it enables him to satisfy to attain goals.” Gates, “Learning is the modification of behaviour through experience and training.” Travers J.F., “Learning is a process that results in the modification of behaviour” -2-
  3. 3. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest Wordsworth, R.S., “Any activity can be called learning so far as it develops the individual (in any respect, good or bad) and makes his behaviour and experience different from what that would otherwise have been.” Skinner: “Learning can be viewed as acquisition and retention.” Boaz, “Learning is a process by which the individual acquires various habits, knowledge and attitudes that are necessary to meet the demand of life in general.” Encyclopaedia of Educational Research reads, “Learning refers to the growth of interests, knowledge and skills and to transfer of these to new situations.” 1.2.CHARACTERISTICS OF LEARNING The above definitions suggest that learning has certain specific characteristics: 1. Learning is purposeful: All true learning is based on purpose. We do not learn anything and everything that comes in our way in haphazard manner. All school activities should be purposeful so that the child should feel real urge for learning. 2. Learning is Intelligent: Meaningless efforts do not produce permanent result. When a child learns something unintelligently, he is likely to forget it very soon. He does not assimilate but simply commits to memory. Only efforts made intelligently have lasting effects. 3. Learning is Active: Learning does not take place without self-activity. In the teaching-learning process, the activity of learning counts more than the activity of the teacher. The principle of learning by doing is the main principle, which has been recommended by all modern educationalists. 4. Learning is both Individual and Social: Learning is more than an individual activity. It is a social activity also. Individual mind is affected by the group and consciously as well as unconsciously an individual is influenced by his friends, relatives, classmates, parents etc., and tends to acquire their ideas, feeling and notions. Social agencies like the family, church, firm, and gangs, of playmates have tremendous influence on the child. 5. Learning is the product of the environment: Environment plays an important part in the growth and development of the individual. Environment should be healthy and rich in educative possibilities. 6. True Learning affects the conduct of the Learner: There is a change in the mental structure of the learner after experience. Calvin describes learning as the modification of the conduct of an organism through experience. 7. Learning is Growth: The word growth is generally associated with the body which is growing, but through the mental growth of the learner. Although it is latent yet we can perceive its growth. Through his daily activities the child grows both mentally and physically. Therefore, we say that learning is growth through experience. 8. Learning is Adjustment: Learning helps the individual to adjust himself adequately to the new situations. Children meet with new situations, which demand solutions. Repeated efforts are required to react to them effectively. Life is full of experiences, and each experience leaves behind some effects in the mental structure. These effects modify our behaviour. 9. Learning is Organizing Experience: Learning is not mere addition to knowledge. It is not mere acquisition of facts and skills through drill repetition. It is the reorganization of experiences. 10. Learning is Universal: Both men and animals learn. Human beings have a rational will of their own. They are thus, able to get the maximum benefit from the environment. 11. Learning is a Life-Long Process: Learning starts from the time the child birth in the world and it continues till death. At every step the individual faces problems and tries to solve them. In -3-
  4. 4. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest this process he modifies improves his behaviour. One keeps on learning so long as one breathes. 12. Learning and Intelligence: An intelligent child can learn quickly because he has a basic mental drive to do things. It is this drive, which helps him to learn quickly. The same cannot be said about a child who lacks intelligence. Hence his learning is slow and casual. 13. Learning by Doing: Children learn quickly when they participate in some learning activity. They do things with their own hands and thus learn speedily. There is better co-ordination of hands, eyes and the brain during the period of activity. All modern methods of learning emphasize learning by doing. 14. Learning is related to Maturation: Both learning and maturation have positive relation. 1.3 FACTORS INFLUENCING LEARNING Learning is influenced by various factors. The figure below depicts two broad factors that determine learning namely internal or personal factors and external or environmental factors. Fig.1 Factors influencing Learning 2. MATURATION Maturation is a developmental process that may be ascribed to heredity or constitutes species- specific behaviour. It is a natural process. Maturation is the growth which takes place in the individual. The changes on account of maturation are the results of unfolding and ripening of inherited traits. They are relatively independent of activity, experience and practice -4-
  5. 5. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest Following are some definitions of maturation: M.L. Biggie and M.P. Hunt, “Maturation is a development process within which a person from time to time manifests different traits, the. ‘Blue prints’ for which have been carried in his cells from time of conception.” Gates and Jersild, “Maturation is the growth that proceeds regularly within a wide range of environmental conditions or that takes place without special conditions of stimulation such as training or practice.” Garry and Kingsley, “Maturation is a process whereby behaviour is modified as a result of growth and development of physical structure.” 2.1 RELATIONSHIP WITH LEARNING Maturation involves changes that are associated with normal growth. Learning, on the other hand, is a change in the individual which is not on account of genetic inheritance. It is a process which takes place as a result of ‘stimuli’ from ‘without’. Activity, experience and training lead to changes in the behaviour in the process of learning. One of the oldest controversies in the world of science concerns the relative importance of maturation and learning in determining the physical and mental characteristics of the developing child. A strictly maturational interpretation of semantic development would imply that children of the same age (or levels of maturity) would have the same vocabulary regardless of exposure to language. This extreme position can be rejected out of hand. A strictly learning interpretation would predict that children’s vocabulary is predictable from the total corpus of words to which they have been exposed since birth irrespective of age. This explanation is equally untenable. It seems almost certain, in fact, that exposure to words at age 3 has enhanced effects over exposure to words during first years of life even though it may have some effect. Learning and maturation are closely interrelated. Sometimes it becomes difficult to say definitely as to which behavioural changes are the results of learning and which are the consequences of maturation. Thus, a) Maturation makes learning possible – Learning takes place only if the stage for that type of learning has been achieved through a process of maturation. b) Maturation sets limit to what a person can be or become – Because of limitations in the hereditary endowment of the child, development cannot go beyond a certain point even when learning is encouraged c) Variations in patterns of development – The different environmental influences children experience affect the pattern of development. Were human development due to maturation alone as in some animal species, individuality would be reduced to a minimum d) Deprivation of learning opportunities limits development – When the environment limits opportunities for learning, children will be unable to reach their hereditary potentials. -5-
  6. 6. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest e) Effectiveness of learning depends upon proper timing – Regardless of how much effort children put into learning, they cannot learn until they are developmentally ready to learn. f) Modification of behaviour – For both learning and maturation the purpose is modification of behaviour. However, learned behaviour differs from behavioural attributed to maturation. 2.2 EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATION OF MATURATION 1. An understanding of stages and levels of maturation helps the teachers to know what and when to begin training. If too much is expected from a child at a given age, children are likely to develop feelings of inadequacy. On the other hand, if too little is expected of them then they are deprived of incentives to develop their potential. 2. If learning precedes maturation there is more wastage of time and energy. Knowledge of maturation and developmental stages of a child also suggest whether the child is mature and old enough to profit by teaching. In case a concept is taught before the appropriate age the teaching will go waste.. 3. The understanding of complexity of changes that take place as a result of learning and maturation would make a teacher and his/her teaching effective 4. Maturation levels have implications on the curriculum selection. Curriculum should be chosen according to the level of learning and maturation. For example, demonstration method for six to twelfth, play way method for little children, lecture method for graduates and post graduates. 3. ATTENTION We use the term ‘attention’ frequently in our day-to-day conversation. During lectures in the classroom, a teacher calls for the students’ attention. At a railway station or airport announcements start with your attention please”. In the beginning of information processing, attention is the process of consciously focusing on a stimulus. At each and every moment that we are awake, we are receiving sense stimuli and are experiencing perceptions, thoughts, images and emotions of many kinds but out of these only a few remain in our consciousness, this selective activity of mind has been called Attention. Sharma R.N. – “Attention can be defined as a process which compels the individual to select some particular stimulus according to his interest and attitude out of the multiplicity of stimuli present in the environment.” Dumville (1938), “Attention is the concentration of consciousness upon one subject rather than upon another.” Morgan and Gilliland – “Attention is being keenly alive to some specific factor in our environment. It is preparatory adjustment for response” Ross – “Attention is getting an object of thought clearly before the mind.” 3.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF ATTENTION -6-
  7. 7. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest 1. Attention in focusing of consciousness on a particular object: We see a number of things of the environment at a particular time and are aware or conscious of many of them. For example, while perceiving the black board writing in the classroom, student is aware of the presence of the chart changing on the walls, the teacher, his activities and the activities of the student sitting beside him. But he is not aware of all these very clearly. At one moment he can be clearly only of this or that object or activity. He is clearly aware of the words and sentences written on the black-board because his consciousness is focused on them. 2. Attention is constantly shifting: Consciousness at a particular moment may be divided into two parts, central and marginal. At the time when our attention is on the black board and consciousness is focused on it. The other objects and activities in the classroom remain within in reach of marginal consciousness. This helps us in becoming partly conscious and aware of them. Both these field of perception or consciousness are interchangeable. The object which is at a moment within the focus of consciousness can in another moment go under the marginal consciousness and even beyond that. 3. Attention is selective: At any moment, there are various stimuli in the environment of and individual which try to affect him. For example there may be music coming from radio, someone taking and noises coming from the street. Instead of these stimuli affecting the same sense organ, there may be stimuli affection us from other sense organs. We may have the headache or feel extremely cold or hot. All these things make a bid for our attention. We do not attend to all of them at a time and also do not respond indiscriminately to each of them. Our reaction is selective. Only those stimuli which suit our interest and attitude are able to attract attention, others are ignored. The stimulus which is more important and useful than the other is attended at once whereas the less important and significant ones are attended later on. In this way attention represents a narrow field and is always selective. 4. Attention is a state of preparedness or alertness: As pointed out earlier in the definition given by Morgan and Gilliland, Attention is considered as a process involving a preparatory adjustment of response during this process, the organism tries to prepare himself or adjust himself to the stimulus situation. In other words he goes into a process of physical, mental and emotional alertness or preparedness. 3.2 RELATIONSHIP WITH LEARNING 1. Effective teaching-learning process: Attention helps in bringing about mental alertness and preparedness. As a result, one tries to apply one’s mental powers as effectively as possible. When children concentrate their attention on what is being taught the learning is more effective. Thus, it helps in effective teaching learning process 2. Aids to Memory: If a child does not pay attention to what is being said or taught, the messages go only into his/her sensory memory and get eliminated before getting transferred to long term memory. Hence, attention facilitates memory. 3. Acquisition of skill: Learning or acquiring any skill is possible only when an individual is attentive while it is being taught. In addition, attention provides strength and ability to continue the task of cognitive functioning despite the obstacles presented by the forces of distraction. 4. Aids to interest: Attending to objects or instruction leads to greater understanding and thus builds one’s interest in the given subject. -7-
  8. 8. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest 5. Speed to learning: When one focuses one’s attention on the given topic, it saves time and energy of the teacher or trainer, speeding up the learning process. 6. Success and achievement: To be successful, one needs to be attentive and focused in the given or chosen direction. Attention, therefore, leads to success and achievement. 3.3. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF ATTENTION: A learner’s attention is guided and controlled by external as well as internal factors. External factors present in one’s environment are: nature of the stimulus, intensity and size of the stimulus, contrast, change and variety, repetition of stimulus, movement of stimulus, etc. Internal factors represent the factors lying within the person himself like interest, motives and mind set. To obtain better results in learning the teacher has to maintain hold the learner’s attention, maintain it for a desirable period and eliminate or reduce the forces of distraction. Some ways to hold and sustain attention in the students are as follows. 1. Use of Audio-visual aids: Audio-visual aids create attention and interest in a learner which makes teaching learning process more effective. 2. Gestures and Movements: Eye-catching action, facial expression, modulation and intonation make learning more attractive. 3. Use of signals: Teacher may develop some signals calling for children’s attention. While using signals, it is important to avoid any behaviour that would interfere with both signal and attention to learning. Teacher should introduce the signals and give short, clear instruction before lesson starts not during transitions. 4. Statement of the aim of the lesson or assignment: Teacher must ensure that she writes the goal or objectives on the board and discuss them with the students before starting the lesson. She should explain the reason of their learning and how can they apply their knowledge in the daily life 5. Teacher should follow the maxims of teaching i.e. simple to complex, known to unknown, concrete to abstract, while designing instructions on a given topic. 6. Incorporation of variety: To focus the attention of children teacher may arouse curiosity with questions like ‘what would you do if’?; she may create shock by staging an unexpected event just before the lesson or communication and she should use variety of movements, gestures and voice inflection. Different teaching methods should be used to make learner attentive. 7. Teachers personality play a great role to draw attention of a learner 8. Curriculum should be develop in such a way that would not feel overburdened and feel lazy and sleepy 9. Time table should be designed in such a way that one hard subject should be followed by some easy subject I 4. NTEREST -8-
  9. 9. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest The word interest owes its origin to the Latin word ‘intersee’, meaning making a difference or it matters. We may, therefore, say that whatever matters to us is of interest to us. Interest is the central force that drives the whole machinery in the teaching learning process. All our attempts are made at making our students interested in the learning experiences given to them. Interest as a driving force not only helps the children in acquiring certain learning experiences, but also colour and fashion their attitudes, aptitudes and other personality traits. It thus directs the course of their growth and development and individualizes their personalities. Crow and Crow, “Interest may refer to the motivating force that impels us to attend to a person, a thing or an activity or it may be the effective experience that has been stimulated by the activity itself. In other words, interest can be the cause of an activity and the result of participation in the activity.” Mc Dougall, “Interest is latent attention and attention is interest in action.” Ross, “A thing that interests us is just something that concerns us or matters to us” Bhatia, “Interest means making a difference. We are interested in objects because they make a difference to us, because they concern us James Drever, “An interest is a disposition in its dynamic aspect” James M. Sawhrey and Charles W. Telford define interest as, “Favourable attitude towards an object” B.N.Jha, “Interest is that mental system which sustains, contains and continues the activity called attention” Thus interest may be referred to as the key factor and a driving force that helps us in paying attention as well as remaining engaged in our so attended activities. 4.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF INTEREST 1. There is an intimate link between interests, wants, drives, motives and basic needs. 2. Interest is a great motivating force and it persuades us to engage in a cognitive, affective or conative behaviour. 3. There is a close relationship between interest and attention. Commenting on their relationship, Mc Dougall writes “Interest is latent attention and attention is interest in action.” This observation is true. Interest is the mother of attention. We attend to objects we are interested in and thus interest prepares us mentally to pay attention to an object, person or a thing. 4. Some interests are inborn and some are acquired 5. Interest is the personal meaning that a thing has for us. This meaning colours all the aspects of our vision. When interested in a thing, we interpret everything in line with the interest 6. Interests help us in overcoming unusual or early arrival or frequent repetition of plateaus in learning. They also give enough strength to an individual to resist fatigue and avoid failure. 7. Our interests lead to action and generally yield satisfying results. 4.2 RELATIONSHIP WITH LEARNING -9-
  10. 10. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest 1) Effective teaching-learning process: Interest helps in motivating a person to learn thus facilitating the teaching-learning process. When a teacher is able to generate interest in a subject, children feel more motivated to learn thereby concentrating their attention on what is being taught making the learning more effective. 2) Aids to Memory: If a child does not have interest in what is being said or taught, the messages go only into his/her sensory memory and get eliminated before getting transferred to long term memory. Hence, interest facilitates memory. 3) Acquisition of skill: Learning or acquiring any skill is possible only when an individual is interested in it. In addition, interest provides motivation, strength and ability to continue the tasks despite the obstacles presented. 4) Aids to Attention: When a student is interested in what is being taught he automatically focuses his attention to it. Attending to objects or instruction leads to greater understanding. 5) Speed to learning: One learns faster when one is interested in a certain topic. This saves time and energy of the teacher or trainer, speeding up the learning process. 6) Success and achievement: To be successful, one needs to be interested, motivated and attentive in the given or chosen direction. Interest, therefore, leads to success and achievement. 4.3 EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF INTEREST The success of a teacher lies in his arousing and maintaining interest of his pupils. Therefore, most of their strenuous efforts are always directed in making their students interested in some or the other learning activities. All the factors involved in teaching-learning process, namely the learner, learning material, learning environment, learning methods and teacher, have to be controlled and designed in such a way that all of them may contribute significantly towards the maintenance of proper interest in a learning activity. Therefore the task requires a multidimensional attack. Some ways to generate and sustain interest in the students are as follows. 1. Setting proper aims and objectives: Before teaching a lesson or engaging in a learning activity, they should be told about the need and importance of learning that activity. The aims and objectives of teaching a particular lesson or unit should be clearly defined and the students should be made to set definite goals and purposes. 2. Arranging proper learning situations and environment Learning situation or environment plays a great role in making children interested or bored and tired. Therefore the teacher should take care of the suitability of the learning environment. The classroom furniture, seating arrangement, lighting and ventilation, the schedules time-table for learning a particular subject or activity, general atmosphere, physical and mental state of the pupils as well as the teacher, etc. should all be properly considered while making attempts for arousing and maintaining interest.  Proper selection and organization of learning experiences: The unsuitability of the content makes children disinterested in a particular lesson. Therefore the teacher should select and organize the contents to be taught or the matter to be delivered in a suitable way by keeping in view all psychological principles. - 10 -
  11. 11. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest  Use of appropriate methods and teaching aids: Most of the times, it is the teaching method that makes a particular learning interested or distasteful. The teacher should adopt efficient and effective methods of teaching lesson and use suitable audio-visual aids. 3. Teacher’s personality and determination: Teacher’s personality and his/her determined bid to make the students interested in his/her teaching count much more in this direction. A good teacher with his appropriate behaviour and personality traits can motivate, inspire and make the students almost lost in his/her teaching. 4. Knowledge about the pupil: In order to interest a child in a subject, a teacher must know a lot about the student and the subject. He must understand the pupils’ wants, problems, tendencies, goals and interests at their current stage of development. He should share responsibility with them. Participation of a teacher in a football game has a great value than being a mere spectator. Interest inventories may be used to find out the interests of the students and accordingly steps taken to develop these. 5. Encouraging class participation: One of the ways of arousing interest in class room activities is to make students participants rather than spectators or members of audience. 6. Co-curricular activities: A variety of co-curricular activities should be organized so that students can choose activities in which they are interested. 7. Exploitation of various instincts of children: The interests of children are controlled and guided by their instincts. Therefore a wise teacher is the one who tries to exploit their basic drives such as curiosity, constructiveness, acquisition, self assertion for making his students interested in a learning activity. 8. Make Proper use of sentiments and ideals: Sentiments and ideals also control and direct children’s interests. Therefore they should be harnessed for creating and maintaining interest. CONCLUSION Learning is one of the most important and pervasive activity of human life. It begins at birth and covers our entire life span. It is influenced by the individual’s psychological and physiological states, his environment and methods of learning. Children learn best when they are mature enough and ready to learn, when they are attentive and interested in learning. Thus, in a classroom situation, it is important for a teacher to take into account all these determinants in order to make the teaching process more effective and efficient. References: Agarwal J.C. (2007) “Basic Ideas in Educational Psychology”, Shipra Publications, New Delhi Mangal S.K. (2008) “Advanced Educational Psychology” PHI Learning Private Limited, New Delhi Berk Laura (2007), “Child Development”, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi Hurlock B.Elizabeth (1978) “Child Development”, Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi Horton D.L. and Turnage T.W. (1976) “Human Learning”, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. - 11 -
  12. 12. SCE Seminar 2009 Taxila Group: Learning – Relationship with Maturation, Attention and Interest - 12 -