This essay will endeavour to identify the main theories and principles of learning and communication. Examining how to plan and apply them in the classroom to enable inclusive learning and evaluating one’s own strengths in relation to the application of the principles and theories of learning and communication to identify any personal development needs. What is learning? Reece, Walker (1999) state learning is about change, whether it is purposeful or accidental it means understanding something new or developing a new skill, maintaining learning is a relatively permanent change. Many would argue the primary purpose of the teacher is to ensure learning occurs. It therefore seems important that teachers have an understanding how the theorist’s think learning occurs to enable them to make a more informed decision when selecting teaching strategies, to make the process of learning as easy as possible for all learners. The theories of learning do not all agree on the methods of application a teacher should use. Curzon (2002) defines the essence of communication as the transmitting and sharing of information through a sharing of information through a shared system of signals or symbols.
In Schramm’s model of communication in, Reece, Walker (2004) the teacher encodes signals and the learner decodes the signal for communication to be successful. Effective communication is important for classroom management including discipline problems, assessment of learning and feedback to learners. Lasswell (1966) asserts from a single communication, different learning amongst different learner’s can occur; including non learning. There are many barriers to learning, Shannon, Weaver (1949) identified physical, emotional and psychological barriers. To facilitate inclusive learning teachers should be aware how various factors can affect learning. These can be physical and include the environment, lack of appropriate support materials, overcrowded classrooms, noise and the atmosphere. Emotional and psychology barriers include, a poor self concept, a negative attitude, poor motivation, fear of failure and the psychological perception between teacher and learner.
It first seems pertinent to outline and examine the main theorist’s view on the learning process to identify possible teaching and communication strategies to enable learning. Merriam, Cafarella (1999) suggest that for a behaviourist learning is manifested by a change in behaviour, a relation between learner and the environment. Tennant (1991) summarises it as the acquisition of stereotyped responses and observable and quantifiable skills and knowledge. Many behaviourist theoristss linked human behaviour to animal behaviour. Pavlov’s (1927) famous experiments with dogs found if a bell was sounded a few seconds before a hungry dog was presented with food, after several trials the dog would salivate simply at the sound of the bell. Pavlov regarded the bell as a conditioned stimulus (S) and salivation because of its association or pairing with food which elicited a conditioned response (R). This manner of behaviour or learning was termed classical conditioning. Watson (1924) argued humans are not born with instincts so as result all behaviour is learnt and we are a sum of our own experiences. He found that children’s fears could be removed by classical conditioning. Thorndike (1936) asserts that repetition or practice will strengthen S-R bonds. He believed responses that occur just before a satisfying event are more likely to be learnt and motivation to learn is more likely if learning is rewarded; rewards being more effective than punishment. The behaviourist approach would be useful for teaching routine and learning factual material termed ‘rote learning’ where no further development is needed. Teacher’s using a behaviourist approach would use a conducive environment; make learning fun, communicating positivity about the subject, using rewards and repetition...
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