Understanding learning and assessment
To enable and assess learning it is important to understand how individuals learn in different ways and in different speeds. As a teacher it is important to understand the theories of how and why people learn, so that the individual needs of the learners are addressed. There are many learning theories who have studied how and why people learn some examples are Pavlov, skinner, Watson and Thorndike who are behaviourists.Bruner, Gardener, Lewin, Gagne and Piaget who are cognitivists and constructivists. Behaviorism looked at learning in a scientific way, theorist of the time believed that they could teach anything as they could condition an animal to behave in a particular way. The person was conditioned to their environment. However behaviorism is very limited, due to the need to repeat the process many times. However behaviorism is still important in today’s classroom in systematic reinforcement of each aspect which helps build up here understanding. Also giving praise and giving the person sense of achievement will indicate the benefit of learning. (Avis.2010) Cognitivists looked at the learning in different way to behaviorists basing their research on how individuals gained their knowledge. The individual did not just receive it but interpreted it in way that meant something to them. The teacher has to be aware in a class of ten there could be slightly ten different understandings. Bruner said that the learner needs to learn the process so that they could apply it. He felt that facts are often forgotten. He sees that teacher role is one who facilitates the students own discovery known as “inquiry training” (Walker, 2009).
As a teacher it is important to be aware of all of these learning theories, and not just to focus on particular one. Learning happens in many ways so a teacher needs to be able to use different learning theories and adapt those to the need of the learners ensuring that their learning is fulfilled .Throughout a lesson the teacher will praise effort to ensure that learner continues to try. The teacher will reflect on what has taken place and then look for the learners to put that into practice. In the presentation I talked about Bruner’s theory and how to apply it into adult education. He states that instructions must be appropriate to the level of the learners for example; being aware of the learner’s learning modes (enactive, iconic and symbolic) will help the teacher to plan and prepare appropriate materials for instruction according to the difficulty that matches learner’s level. Bruner sees that grades and competition are not helpful in the learning process. He states that learners must experience success and failure not as reward and punishment, but as information. (Bruner 1961, p.26). Bruner’s learning theory is very influential and has direct implications on the teaching practices. We can apply Bruner’s five E‘s on learning process. The five E’s are: engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate. Engage :is to engage all learners(inclusiveness) and get them interested in learning through expressing their ideas and give them opportunities for reflection.Explore:is to get learners directly involved in learning approach like: active learning-work in groups also teacher should act as a facilitator and use enquiry or discovery to drive learning process. Explain: explanations come from, students learning together moreover, the teacher introduces concepts and vocabulary and, determine levels of understanding. Teacher should use the learning approaches like brainstorming and dealing with problem solving assignmet.Elaborate: is that learners expand on concepts learned like: filling in the gaps and, to apply understanding to own environment and real world problems. Learners are able to make connections and lead those connections to further enquiry and new understanding.Evaluate: can occur at all points of instructional process like formative assessment, rubrics,...
References: Petty, G. (2009). Evidence Based Teaching: A Practical Approach (2nd Edition ed.). Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.
Tummons, J. (2007). Assessing Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector (Second edition ed.). Exeter: Learning Matters.
Ian Reece, Stephen Walker (2009). Teaching, Training and Learning: A practical Guide (6th Edition ed.). Tyne and Wear: Business Education Publishers.
David, A.Sally, B.and Phil(1997)500 tips for further and continuing education lecturers,Kogan PageLimited,London
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