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Applying theories to learning - Essay Example

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Learning theories have a phenomenal effect on the practice of learning and teaching. The theories have been the hallmark of my teaching practice and have inspired the teaching strategies that I have adopted. …
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Applying theories to learning
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Download file to see previous pages This paper explores the relevance and impact of learning theories, especially in relation to my personal practice within a secondary school. In addition, the paper seeks to attain insights into the harmonies and conflicts that may prevail within the current educational discourse. In a special way, the paper explores diverse ways in which instructors model their teaching styles and strategies in order to match the learners’ needs and preferences. Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning Learning theories and models are diverse and encompass behaviourist, cognitivist and constructivist, social, situational, motivational and humanist. Behaviourist perspectives hold three assumptions. To start with, they focus on observable behaviour rather than internal cognitive processes. Secondly, learning and behaviour are critically influenced by the environment. Thirdly, the principles of contiguity and reinforcement are principal to the explanation of the learning process. This approach has inspired educational practices such as systematic design of instruction, behavioural and performance perspectives, programmed instruction, and instructor accountability. Cognitive orientation to learning, on the other hand, address processes that occur inside the brain and nervous system as a person learns. This approach shares the assertion that people actively process information, and that learning takes place via the efforts of the learner (Leonard 2002, p.5). Cognitive approach encompasses mental processes comprising of inputting, organizing, storing, retrieving and constructing links between information. Humanist orientation to learning emphasizes the potential for individual growth within the learner. Humanists introduce affective functioning of a person into the arena of learning. Humanists favour the notion that human beings can control their own destiny. In addition, they hold that humans are intrinsically enjoyable and desire a better world for themselves and others. Thus, any behaviour is a consequence of a person’s choice and that people are active agents in learning (Phillips & Soltis 2004, p.3). Social approach to learning highlights the interactions between people and views them as the central mechanism of learning. According to this approach, learning is grounded in observation of others within the social setting. The educational concepts that arise from this approach include motivational strategies, locus of control, social role acquisition, and the efficacy of interaction of learner with the environment and the other learners (Sullo 2007, p.4). Constructivist approach to learning perceives the learning process as involving construction of meaning from experience. According to this approach, the locus of learning lies in internal construction of reality by an individual. Learning Styles and Strategies Learning styles can be regarded as cognitive, affective, and psychological behaviours that are comparatively stable signs of how learners perceive, interact with, and react to the learning environment. The physical domain of learning style incorporate visual, auditory and motor styles while cognitive domain spotlights concrete, abstract, sequential, and random styles (Hawk & Shah 2007, p.5). Affective domain, on the other hand, encompasses external and internal physiological and psychological factors that influence how people feel. The Index of Learning Styles (ILS) proposes four ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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