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In this assignment I shall be exploring three theories of teaching and learning. They are Humanism, Cognitivism and Behaviourism. I shall be explaining the main factors of the three theories and then explaining how they can support effective teaching and learning in general and for myself personally in my teaching role. The first theory I shall explore is Humanism. ‘Humanism stresses [a learner’s] interests, individuality and creativity – in short the [learner’s] freedom to develop naturally and from teacher domination’ (Lunenburg p.
When teaching a lesson a teacher is more of a facilitator when planning and delivering a lesson. An effective humanistic approach is not one of teacher control (behaviourism) nor does it necessarily draw on past experiences (cognitivism) but draws a learner’s skills out and allow them to reach a point which Maslow calls ‘self-actualisation’. Self actualisation is the ‘discovery of a biological yearning to develop one’s natural talents to the fullest’ (mythosandlogos. com). A teacher has to become a facilitator to allow the learner time to grow, even when it seems they are struggling to achieve a set goal.
This can be effective when teaching learners life skills as the teacher (or facilitator, in this instance) will give the learner a task which allows them space to be creative and draw upon those ‘biological yearnings’ to become better at that task and to draw other hidden skills that the learner may not know that they had in order to solve a problem or reach a goal.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs state that there are 5 levels which climax in self actualisation. They are physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and then one can reach self-actualisation.
Gleitman and Reisburg (2004) argue that two more phases need to be passed through before one can achieve self actualisation. Those two needs are the ‘cognitive’ phase where a learner has a deep desire for knowledge and understanding of the environment in which they function. This will allow the learner to discover how they can function best in different circumstances and situations. The next phase will be to satisfy one’s ‘aesthetic’ needs which include a need for symmetry, order and beauty in their lives. Read learning styles essay
When a learner is happy with the order in which they need to perform a task and understand the reason for doing the task that they have been given, then they can reach that peak of self actualisation. A humanistic approach to teaching is important but needs to be balanced with set boundaries and tutor input to guide the learner in the right direction. A humanistic approach can sometimes tie in with the next theory, cognitivism. ‘Any kind of teaching which is concerned with the communication of information, or with getting students to think and reason for themselves, is likely to be underpinned by assumptions of a cognitivist kind. (Gray et al. p. 29) As you can see, this somewhat ties in with a humanist approach to teaching but does not concentrate on allowing the students to reach self actualisation but rather allows them to refer to previous learning and build on that. A cognitive approach allows a learner to reflect on their own judgements, opinions and methods of working and apply them to a given task. It also allows space to change a student’s way of thinking or at least understand something from a different viewpoint. Gould (2009, p. 64) states that there are two sequences of learning. They are ‘inductive’ learning and ‘deductive’ learning.
Inductive learning is favoured by the theorist Bruner, in which learners discover facts for themselves with help from the tutor who will aid them to discover a concept or principle for themselves, allowing them the space to explain the reasoning behind their understanding. Bruner believes that some learners are over-reliant on tutor input and not allowed enough space to discover the answer for themselves (Gould p. 48, 49). An inductive approach can work in a class when a tutor gives the class some examples of a concept or principle and then the learner’s task is to state the common features and differences for that concept or principle.
This is an active type of learning and more intrinsically motivating but there are risks involved in delivering a lesson or task in this way. A tutor can confuse the class with inaccurate explanations and a lack of knowledge on the tutor’s part. The second sequence of learning is less intrinsically motivating but can be better controlled by the tutor. This second sequence of learning is known as deductive learning. This is preferred by the theorist Ausabel. Meaningful learning, according to Ausabel, ‘entails acquiring new knowledge that links existing knowledge and which can be easily retained and applied. (Gould p. 48) Ausabel, in contrast to Bruner, believes that students need a structured set of instructions and when that builds on existing learning it can contribute greatly to student understanding. Ausabel also encourages the use of an ‘advanced organiser’. This can be applied at the beginning of the lesson so the learner knows what to expect and the logical order in which they will receive information. As mentioned before this a less risky way of learning but some may see it as ‘mollycoddling’. I personally believe a mix of the two contributes to an effective lesson. Also read my favorite subject essay
To have an advanced organiser at the beginning of the lesson, then being given the tasks in the logical order but with the learner discovering the answers for themselves with the tutors help can really contribute to a positive learning environment. The tutor always needs to be in control of timings and tasks within the class but a cognitive approach would be to allow the students to guide themselves with learning with the tutors signposting along the way. This is in contrast to the third and final theory of learning, behaviourism. Behavioural psychology, also known as behaviourism, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through conditioning. ’ (psychology. about. com) In contrast to cognitivism which depends on enhancing learning through a learner’s previous knowledge and expanding in it, behaviourism is more to do with the conditioning of the learner by the teacher. There are two main types of conditioning when looking at behaviourism and they are: Classical conditioning – this is the technique in which a stimulus is matched with a response through repetitive behaviour.
If I blew a whistle every time that someone smelled their favourite food, they eventually would feel hungry every time I blew that whistle through classical conditioning. In this instance the controlled stimulus is the sound of the whistle and the controlled response is the feeling of hunger when the whistle is blown. Operant conditioning – this is sometimes referred to as Skinnerian condition as this was discovered by the behaviourist B. F. Skinner. This is split into two sub sections.
The reinforcement aspect of operant conditioning can be positive or negative depending on the behaviour of the learner. Praise and direct reward are positive reinforcers whereas removal of something deemed unpleasant is negative reinforcement. The punishment aspect of this type of conditioning is presenting an adverse outcome to behaviour that it follows in order to decrease negative behaviour. There are different theories of communication that can help teaching and learning. The basic concept of Aristotle’s theory is that the speaker delivers a message to a large audience.
There are three basic elements of his theory; the speaker, the subject and the receiver. For lectures and seminars this theory is effective. Another theory according to Lee (1993) belongs to Shannon and Wevaer. They ‘were not particularly interested in the sociological or psychological aspects of communication’ but instead tried to reduce it to mathematical equation. From thei telecommunications background they deduced that when someone communicates they transmit their message to someone and then the ‘reciever’ gets the message.
But noise than sometimes disrupt the message being sent. In an IT learning environemtn this kind of noise which can disrupt communication can be rain falling against a window, or a learner typing on their keyboard. Also mobile phones in lessons can distract and disrupt a lesson being taught. Berlo (1960 p. 23-24) created a “model of the ingredients of communication”. There are four controlling factors of communication which are the source, the message, the channel and the receiver.
Both the source’s and the receiver’s communication skills will establish how they interpret the message. Also the structure and delivery of the message will affect how message is told and received. The channel in which the message is delivered is through the five senses. This is a broad theory which allows for all five senses to be used in delivering a message. In the classroom this theory fits in very well as there are a broad range of courses within Further and Higher Education and all five senses are usually used to learn.
Also with learning styles they can cater for the physical learner (touch), the visual leaner (sight) and the listening learner (sound). Behaviourism can support effective teaching and learning through the right use of punishment and reward. As to not spoil or undermine the student, a balance needs to be kept at all times which is the teacher’s responsibility. I regularly praise students for outstanding work, for going above and beyond what they are asked to do. If they just manage to do the task at hand with the minimum of effort I do thank them but not praise them.
Punishment works for students who cherish their comfort breaks or time on Youtube and I use that as a tool to punish them either by blocking certain websites for that particular student or not allowing a comfort break (although it depends on the length of the lesson, I know that health and safely regulations say that students on computers should take frequent breaks from the computer. Cognitivism works well in the classroom as it allows the learners to discover things about their peers that they may not have known before. It also allows students to bounce ideas off of each other using their experience and knowledge of the given task.
This can empower students and give them more confidence with doing a given task. Inductive and deductive learning can greatly help a student understand a task. It allows students to explain what they know of a given subject and expand on that. It also allows the teacher to use their knowledge and experience of the subject to allow the student to complete said task. With my young learners I adopt more of a behaviourist point of view as they can be disruptive and work better within a controlled environment rather than a freer flowing environment which allows the students to think more for themselves.
Also I teach Foundation Leaning ICT as part of Functional Skills which expects me to teach students very basic techniques which do not need a lot of cognitive behaviour on the learner’s part. Because of their mental health issues as well, a controlled environment contributes to their safety and well-being. The learners know what to expect when they come into my class and they know they can feel secure when they are learning with me.
There are times where I have to apply the punishment aspect to a lesson; in fact it is most of the time for these students! I am the type of teacher who will introduce a game into an IT lesson to make it fun and allow the competitive nature of the learners to be exercised in an appropriate and supervised manner. There have been times where the fun aspect has been taken out or stopped in the lesson when disruptive behaviour occurs. This is very effective in the way the students treat both me and the support staff within the class.
Along with the punishment aspect there is a lot of reinforcement within the classroom which really encourages the students and gives them the courage to tackle a slightly harder task that I give them from time to time. I also do this with the help of the support tutors within the class when they are doing more 1 to 1 support within the classroom. Also I praise the class as a whole; promising them a fun activity next week which not only motivates them to come, but also motivates them through the next lesson when I give them a task after the fun activity.
With my adult learners last year, I conducted the IT lesson in a more cognitive manner. My students were adults; I had more scope to draw on their previous experience, if any! The assignments were all task based and the learners had the opportunity to teach other students what they knew with operating MS Word and Excel. This added a fun element to the lesson and allowed the students to improve their confidence, whilst being assessed by me with their knowledge. My lessons were a mixture of inductive and deductive.
The inductive nature of my lessons allowed the student’s to find out the functions of a computer and its applications for themselves. This could have carried risks but because they were students they could not do anything to the computer which may harm it because of the procedures in place by my employer. Of course there were some instances of lost work or forgotten web pages when doing research, and I signposted the right way to rectify or prevent a loss of work in the future. The deductive approach was when I was working with the less able when using the computer.
This allowed the students to receive the information from me and I did have to repeat the information a couple of times for them to get it, especially the more technical terms. I definitely felt the benefit of both methods and so did my learners. In conclusion I have looked at behaviourism, cognitivism and humanism and explained what they are in principle. I have then looked at how some of the theories of communication can support effective learning and teaching. There are many more theories of communication which are out there and I will endeavour to find out which benefits me as a teacher in my IT lasses. I have also looked at behaviourism and cognitivism within my planning and deliverance of learning. Behaviourism is applied more within my classes with young learners as they need a lot of praise and punishment as they prepare for higher education. With my adult learners, I used a more cognitive approach which allowed them to draw on past experiences. I then looked at inductive and deductive learning with are different ways that the teacher can allow the learner to receive information.
In my classes I use a mixture of both which allows the student to be made aware of the task at hand and the information that will come their way. The learner then has to work out the answer for themselves with the information that has been given to them with my support only if they need it. The theories of learning are ones which I never heard of before studying DTLLS, but as I started teaching I realised that these are what I am applying to my lessons and how my students are learning. It is something that I am constantly looking at to maximise learning.
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