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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chapter Six in Learning and Cognition - Constructivist Theory

Constructivism is not a theory but a philosophical explanation of how individuals learn. If one is to look at a constructivist classroom, one would notice that students would be asked to show their mastery of skills through the creation of some type of product. For example, while in this Masters Program we are required to create an ePortfolio. This ePortfolio displays our mastery. This product does not always have to be tangible. It can be a student asking questions or even having a discussion on the topic being taught. What forms of products have you used in your classroom that integrates constructivist views of teaching?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chapter Five in Learning and Cognition - Cognitive Learning Processes

In this chapter, the most thought provoking sentence I read was “Simply knowing what to do and how to do it does not produce success.” I think this statement explains why many students do not feel successful in education. Educators must know how students learn information and how that knowledge is stored, retrieved and then used. Through educators understanding the process, students can learn about metacognition and be aware of their own learning and cognition styles. With self-regulation, students gain a level of personal knowledge they did not have before.

What are some techniques to help students develop metacognition awareness?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chapter Four in Learning and Cognition - Information Processing Theory

I think what I took most from this chapter was a better understanding of how to teach my students and the different ways they store and retrieve information. I found it most fascinating that some things I already did in class to engage my students and their prior knowledge of certain subjects were things specifically discussed in the Information Processing Theory chapter.

I learned the most from the information given to help students with short term memory and with long term memory. I didn’t realize how important it was to know the difference between the two and the different instructional techniques that are needed to help students reach their fullest potential. For example, when it comes to short term memory and teaching a lesson, I should focus on sensory items that will get the students’ attention and help them focus on the immediate goals. For long term memory exercises, it is best to connect what the students are learning to something that they can relate to and that is already a part of their lives.

As a teacher, we have more control over the memories and information processes of students than we might realize. All memory functions can be enhanced or triggered by the techniques that we use to instruct. For example, a teacher that is interactive with their students and allows students to work together on projects will have much more success over a teacher that just lectures his or her students.

Overall, as a teacher I found this chapter very interesting and will keep these instructional techniques in my long term memory for future use.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chapter Three in Learning and Cognition - Social Cognitive Theory

Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) falls under behaviorism which is intended to explain why animals and humans act a certain way. SCT can be found everyday in the classroom but also simply at home. For example, in the classroom a teacher may use modeling to show a student how to complete a math problem. The student observes the teacher and watches what the teacher does. Then the student completes a similar math problem by modeling after and learning from the teacher. At home, a younger child observes everything and everyone around him. He will emulate anything an adult or older sibling does. The child learns from watching others.

The processes of observational learning are very important for a teacher to understand. Attention, Retention, Production and Motivation are all essential concepts for a productive classroom. The teacher must first gain the attention of the students. Then the teacher focuses on educating so that the student retains the information he or she is taught. The student is asked to create a product to show mastery of the assignment and the student must be motivated through the entire process to learn.

I truly believe in SCT and use in my classroom. I do use the hands-on approach to teaching and think that my students benefit from it. I also encourage them to watch other students and help one another. By observing their peers, they can often learn in a way that I may not be able to teach them. How have you used Social Cognitive Theory in your classroom? How about at home?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chapter Two in Learning and Cognition - Conditioning Theories

Educational Conditioning Theories make up the back bone of many teaching styles and educational outlooks. Conditional learning is one of the basic forms of associative learning or making a new association between events in the environment. Ivan Pavlov is a famous scientist who discovered and documented the principles governing how animals and humans learn. His example of the bell ringing and the dog's response for food is one of the most used examples of how conditioning works.

In a classroom environment, this example reminds me of my high school students. When the school year first starts, my high school students would automatically jumped out of their seats and head for the door when the bell rang to signify the end of class. However, I had to condition them and make it a habit to where instead they would sit quietly in their seats and wait for me to tell them "Have a great day." If a student was standing or talking, the other students would police themselves and tell that student to sit down and get quiet so that I would dismiss them. This became a habit for them and what they knew I expected of them. It soon became second nature for them to wait for dismissal in my class before leaving.

Have you experienced this or have made this happen in your classroom or home? I look forward to more examples of how this works in everyday life.

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