Theories Of Learning And Teaching - Constructivist Theory
The evidence used to support the chosen Constructivist Theory will be from a reflective standpoint, because this has allowed the opportunity to observe each other within a group setting, both for testing/pitching ideas as well as to develop these ideas into clear workable strategies that fits the individual student’s learning style.
This approach essentially allows the teacher/instructor to observe group dynamics with very minimum input. Often only serving as a reminder of what the original instruction was thereby giving total control to the learners to reason through and to some extent, decipher the instruction on one’s own terms of understanding, a strategy which Reece et al (2007, page 85) has cited Dewey to be the process of thought. This process also guides Dewey’s definition of learning, which has been explicated documented as “learning to think.” Further citation by Reece et al, extends Dewey’s theory by adding that “learning is not just doing something, such as a task, but to also reflect and learn from this.’9 This argument is relevant to the experience of administering a depot injection, because the first practical experience of this task was one that was crippled by nerves and fear of making an error. However it was the opportunity to reflect on ‘what went wrong or right for that matter that would serve as the podium for cognitivists to apply the first and third parts of their three basic assumptions that guide this theory. “The first is that learning is manifested by a change in behaviour (how things are done,) and the third is based on the principle of contiguity and reinforcement, (a consideration of how human memory works to promote learning)” Reece et al (2007, page 86.) In the experiences outlined above, frequent practice played an integral role in knowledge development.
Unless there was a learning opportunity there could have been no incidence of a memory reflex, since knowledge was never acquired. Again from a Cognitivists standpoint, this “focuses on how students gain and organise their knowledge,” (Reece et a1 (2007, page 85,) learning about themselves, what works best for them by way of repeating the task until a clear understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses have been achieved. Within a group setting, proof of how individuals learn differently, is often evidenced by group dynamics and the benefits of being present to observe the interaction between other students and the teacher. On an occasional like this the students within the group realise that may need to “modify or abandon previous ideas before they can develop or construct new meaning,” (Reece et al 2007, page 89,) from new information. This however is against the learning principles of the Constructivist theory which is grounded in the premise that students “construct their own knowledge by testing ideas and approaches based on prior knowledge and experiences and then apply these to a new situation." One which would “integrate the new knowledge gained, with pre-existing intellectual constructs.” (www.curriculum.calstatela.edu/faculty/constructivist.)
The principles of this theory were observed to be true even during the first session. Students were asked to reflect on their experiences with the administration of injections. This of course was within the context of being a patient, but did not however limit the observations of the procedure since most of the students involved made reference to the preparation of the site, the withdrawal of the plunger and the z-tracking technique; a term that was admittedly unfamiliar to the students prior to this session. Embedded in this scenario was one of the key guidelines used to support the constructivist’s theoretical approach to teaching and learning. The guidelines states that "the traditional role of the teacher shifts from the ‘sage on the stage,’ (the transmitter of knowledge,) to ‘guide on the side,’ (the facilitator of pre-existing knowledge.)
In this instance, the facilitator or the silent teacher if-you-like; leaves room for learners to evaluate how they learn by actively reflecting on what works for them, thus accommodating, especially in a group setting, different learning styles and if necessary adapting to one which allows for the greater overall benefit. At the International Committee of Museum Educators October 1991, Professor George E Hein of Lesley College Massachusetts USA, said in a conference that “Constructing is learning,” and in fact “there is no other kind.” His argument encourages his colleague’s propositions that “there is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to experience by the learner or community of learners,” (www.aln.org) (This has been accepted to include small mentored groups, as is the case in this essay.) To accept this position on learning is to accept other concepts of this same theory previously presented by the likes of Piaget and Dewey as well as others. These two theorists strongly argued; from both a psychological and educational view point that “a child constructs understanding through many channels: reading, listening, exploring and experiencing his or her environment” (www.learning.media.mit.edu), and it is these arguments that have supported the researched evidence that learning theories inform knowledge development.
Constructivist Theory - Conclusion
Upon reflection, it would appear that no one learning theory can inform a single episode of teaching. These theories do build platforms for situational learning, however due to their individual definition; they cannot singularly be credited as a main structural framework for which knowledge is development. While doing research to develop this paper, it became apparent that unless all students involved shared the same learning preference, there would be some challenge in keeping with a rigid theory. Also not every student is aware of what his learning style is, for this Honey and Mumford , (as cited in class handouts,) developed the H&M Learning Styles Questionnaire which can be assumed to essentially be a guide to allow individual’s to recognise his own “learning habits,” and develop his own knowledge based on those habits or preferences. The principle of these ‘learning habits,’ was founded in arguments presented by Kolb. He was cited to say that “knowing a person’s (and your own) learning style enables learning to be orientated according to the preferred method.” He went on to say that “ideally the process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner touches all bases.” These bases have been noted to be the ‘cycle of experiencing.’ They are, according to Kolb, reflecting, thinking and acting. Kolb argued in the same text that, “immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections.” These reflections, he continued, “are then translated into abstract concepts with the implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with. It gradually became evident that the implications of such a learning strategy could structurally inform the role of a future nursing registrant since the performance of a nurse is grounded in the practice of reflection. This reflection has been recognised to be the key aide for professional development. Being able to recognise one’s learning strategy as it fits into a theory of learning ultimately acts as a dais for progressive learning within a professional setting. The information gathered in this paper also emphasised with evidence that learning does not happen outside of an established model, even if this is only observed in small measurements of the definitions which academically guide these theories.
In class hand outs Reece et al 2007