Overview of Learning Theory
Learning, as it seems is not a basic process. Learning is the way through which a student or a person shapes his or her future as they enter new culture and society. Learning theory defines the way a student tends to learn or absorb a piece of new knowledge and further retain it during the learning process (Pritchard, 2017). The processes emphasize the way a student understands a piece of knowledge and further implies it in the future. There are a bunch of learning theory processes on which one can rely upon. Behaviorism is a kind of learning theory which implements learning based on understanding and measuring behaviors rather than focusing on mental or cognitive processes. In behavioral learning, the way to a successful transfer of knowledge is through reinforcement in a positive manner. Social cognitive theory implements the learning process of acquiring knowledge by observing others. According to this theory, when a person observes someone performing a model within its area of concern, one can remember the proceedings and can carry out with the information A person can learn things by just merely watching television or observing their parents or elderly person. Another learning theory is information processing theory according to which it interprets the human mind as a computer that takes in information as an input and processes the information and produces the output which is a behavioral response. Memory is a crucial part in information processing theory, whether it is a long term or working memory. For those who adapt constructivism, believe that the ability to learn or gain knowledge largely depends on what they have already learned and that the learning process should always proceed through construction by tailoring its own knowledge and understanding. Constructivism encourages the learner to implement their own ideas and was developed by Jean Piaget and is also known as Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development. This essay will focus on various theoretical aspects of constructivism theory which is the most effective way of learning where one needs to put on their own ideas and understanding. It would also
highlight the practical aspects of this theory when put to teaching practices.
Planning Instructional Time Through Constructivism Theory
Planning of instructional time is very important for enhancing student learning. It has often been observed that traditional classroom teaching indulge in a huge amount of time being utilized by the teacher in delivering the lectures while their practical implementations are focused on a lighter note. The constructivism theory lists down essential guidelines to plan the instructional time. Abiding by this, my plan for devising the instructional time would be centered around three basic concepts. These are inquiry, collaborative learning and multiple intelligence. Implementing these concepts within the classroom environment will help in effective distribution of the instruction time. Inquiry aims at allowing the students to formulate questions on their own. This cuts the lecture time shorter and enhances more time in teacher-student interaction (Sharan, 2015). For example, in a lecture of measurements, instead of teaching everything step by step, asking students to develop their own methods for measurements not only builds up their critical thinking but also designs the instruction time effectively. Multiple intelligence allows students to reflect on their acquired knowledge. This helps in students to present their ideas to the classroom instead of the teacher taking up the time to deliver the entire lecture. However, once the students have delivered their ideas, it is the duty of the teacher to rectify their mistakes and guide them towards the correct strategy. Another strategy that helps in effective planning of instructional time is collaboration. This initiative helps the students to gain an understanding from their peers besides the teacher and themselves. Through this initiative, students spend more time interacting with others and formulating their own solution to arrive at a conclusion, rather than believing in what the teacher says. Thus, the planning of the instructional time in a constructivism background revolves around the central idea that students should be given more opportunities and time to deliver their ideas rather than the teacher forcing them to believe in the theories that are delivered through lectures.
Classroom Application of Constructivism Theory
A constructivist classroom marks huge differences when compared with a traditional classroom. This is because all activities that help the students to differentiate instructions in the classroom vary widely when compared to a traditional classroom. All instructions that are devised in the classroom are centred around the learner in a democratic environment. The use of colored dictionaries, postcards and visuals are one way that I would devise the classroom teachings for students to differentiate instructions. In addition to this, I would display the student’s work and creativity on bulletin boards in the classroom. This would not only encourage the students towards learning but also help them to understand the quality of work that I actually want from them. Other ways by which I would help the students to incorporate the various instructions is by the formation of small groups that would help them to flexibly negotiate and describe their individual experiences. Moreover, implementation of the 4E’s would help the students to differentiate between instructions even better. These are Exploration, Explanation, Expansion and Evaluation (Gunduz "Hursen, 2015). Taking an example of a science lecture, these four variables would be explained better. The Exploration phase is student-centered. In this phase, I would provide all the materials to the students. This would include the lab materials and directions that they need to follow. This stage will help them for gathering the information from the materials to records their observations. The Explanation phase would help in integrating the observations and providing mental support to the students. In this stage, the students will interact with the teacher to discuss about their observations. The Expansion phase basically deals with group cooperation followed by the Evaluation phase that would be characterized by teacher-student interactions to formulate the various limitations. Besides these strategies, other strategies that I intend to incorporate in the classroom to allow students to differentiate instruction would be to implement hands-on experiences and critical thinking. Critical thinking would be implemented through open ended questions that will be asked after every lecture (Bada & Olusegun, 2015). Besides this, there would be free interaction among the teacher and the student. Although students might feel uncomfortable in the beginning but once they understand that such an environment is safe for them, they would gain confidence to engage in a debate to argue hypotheses of others as well as provide supportive arguments for their own. This will not only help in their critical thinking but also enhance their self-confidence. Another important strategy that would be followed in class to encourage the constructivism theory is to assign the tag of “expert” to a particular student (Bada & Olusegun, 2015). Then this student would be asked to teach the whole class. This would help the students to become active learners because they would be implementing what they have learnt.
Managing and Motivating Students
Constructivism solely depends on one’s own learning. The learning process is implemented by encouraging students to make use of their own beliefs and understanding. Although the process is very effective during the learning process but requires a lot of motivating the student towards learning and managing them in an efficient manner. Self-efficacy is one such factor which constructs the motivation in the students (Cetin-Dindar, 2015). They are more likely to engage in work which they believe are capable of doing precisely. In other words, a student should feel comfortable in what they are doing and feel that they will be successful sometime soon rather than putting them in a situation which is totally new to them. The higher the self-efficacy is, the higher is the chances of reaching the goal Constructivism can also be encouraged through discovery learning. Within any field of study, a student is engaged in activities where they are assigned a problem, work on finding the solution, look for relevant data on the topic, chose and develop a strategy to solve the problem and reach a conclusion. Discovery learning mostly encourages the students to participate and promotes in developing creativity and problem-solving ability. But before implementing discovery learning, a teacher is responsible for managing students in a well-organized manner in order to avoid errors and demotivating them. Sometimes when the learning is related to real-life problems and works, the students feel more motivated and determined. As student-centric approaches are likely to be applied in constructivism, it improves the self-efficacy in a student. This learning theory also reduces the anxiety in the students and further increases the productivity (Cetin-Dindar, 2015). As a constructive approach, a student is capable of monitoring themself and asses whether their strategies are effective for achieving the expected goal. Hence, constructivism enhances independent learning by motivating students through discovery learning and activities that enhance their self-efficacy.
Personal Viewpoint Of the Constructivism Theory
I particularly align with the constructive theory process because it develops a confidence in learning. Theoretical knowledge is not effective in the real world. Although theoretical knowledge is necessary to understand a topic, but it is tough to retain the knowledge for a longer duration. The constructive theory provides me with positive outcomes in terms of the academic learning process. It also enhances my self-learning ability and self-efficacy. It makes the learning process well-organized and consistent. The theory involves exploring new ideas, questioning and reflecting my views and improve my understanding and knowledge. Constructivism also incorporates theories but they put in more effort on learner’s ability to give the theory a proper meaning. This helps in retaining the knowledge. (Paolini, 2015)As a result, it encourages autonomy as well as develops the curiosity in learning. Constructivism is more effective in scientific areas. As a learner, if I am provided with raw data to work with and analyze accordingly, it brings in a feeling of self-satisfaction on achieving success. This also improves the ability to solve real-life problems. Discovery learning also enables to draw my past experiences and compare it with existing knowledge and discover new knowledge and truth. In order to implement the theory of constructivism in class, it would be feasible to make small groups and involve them in a discussion within themself. Instead of letting the student to rely on someone else for any information in the class, I would expose him or her to the data, all the sources of information. I would also encourage them to interact with others to be able to learn from shared experiences. Another way is by promoting a constant conversation between me as a teacher and the student. This brings in a feeling of comfort within the student and enables him or her to present their ideas without hesitation. This also develops critical thinking in the students and in turn seeks something more than a basic response to a problem. Another way to implement constructivism would be hands-on activities for classroom learning. This helps the students learn from their own experiences and thoughts. This lets them compare with other students and decide whether they are right or wrong. All these exercises and activities within the classroom including constructivism will lead to the proper development of their skills. It will also bring out the confidence in them to analyze the world and solve problems around them.
The essay has made a vivid description about the various learning theories. However, it has laid emphasis on the constructivist theory as essential for enhanced student learning. In the context of this discussion, the essay clearly outlines the various ways by which this theory can be implemented in a classroom scenario as well as reasons behind aligning to this particular theory.
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Gunduz, N., & Hursen, C. (2015). Constructivism in teaching and learning; content analysis evaluation. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191(392), 526-533.
Paolini, A. (2015). Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness and Student Learning Outcomes. Journal of Effective Teaching, 15(1), 20-33.
Pritchard, A. (2017). Ways of learning: Learning theories for the classroom. Routledge.
Sharan, Y. (2015). Meaningful learning in the cooperative classroom. Education 3-13, 43(1), 83-94.