The principles of Learning
Unit 112 (City and guilds 7407 2003 /2004)
“The history of education is littered with failed theories, even those that were the result of years and years of research.” Page 213, David Minton Teaching Skills in Further & Adult Education
The “Principles of Learning” are a broad collection of learning theories that have been and developed over time. This essay aims to show how these different theories underpin current educational policy in the United Kingdom. None of the theories singularly explain how we learn fully but most have some relevance and are useful when trying to understand the learning process. I aim to cover briefly the main theories involved, pointing out their dominant strengths and weaknesses and relating them to my own experience as a tutor.
The student group that I will relate to from my own teaching practice is an ECDL (European Computer Driving License) class. This course covers three terms and meets for 4 hours per week. The group consists of 15 students and it is diverse in economic, social, ability, religious and ethnic terms.
Old for New
It is easy to think of educational theory as a new thing however people have been pondering this subject for millennia.
"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand." Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher
"There are two modes of acquiring knowledge, namely by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, nor does it remove doubt so that the mind may rest on the intuition of truth, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience." Roger Bacon (1561-1626) English Philosopher
A Theory About Learning Theory
In “Teaching Training and Learning” by Ian Reece and Stephen Walker the writers state that educational theorists tend to separate learning in to three main groups or “domains”. These are psychomotor, cognitive and affective domains.” In layman’s terms this could be transposed to mean the “physical, mental, and emotional” areas.
Most teaching tends to follow the rule of starting with the basics first and then work upwards from there. These different levels of difficulty are known as “taxonomy”. Within the domains mentioned above there are recognised strata of taxonomies.
Having some understanding, whether consciously or not of these concepts means that an educator can plan with a strategy of progression that is appropriate for their students.
The Pedagogical V’s Andragogical
Andragogy has been defined by Malcolm Knowles as “the art and science of helping adults learn” (Knowles 1970). Though many attribute the word to Knowles, it was first used by the German Alexander Kapps in 1833 to describe Plato’s educational theory (Davenport and Davenport 1985). Kapps’ use of andragogy met opposition in Germany and soon fell from favour and was unused for nearly a century before Eduard Lindeman introduced the term in America in the 1920's (Beder and Carrea 1988). “It was little used until Knowles was introduced to it the 60's and elaborated on the word in his work, The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy versus Pedagogy.” (“Andragogy or Pedagogy” Bob Monts, Illinois State University, April 2000)
Assumptions of Andragogy and Pedagogy
Andragogy differs from pedagogy based upon four assumptions: 1. Pedagogy views the learner as dependent.
2. Pedagogy sees little validity in the learner’s previous experience, andragogy, on the other hand, views the experience of the learner as a deep reservoir that serves as a resource for learning. 3. Pedagogy assumes that everyone is ready to learn what society says that they ought to learn. 4. The final pedagogical assumption is that learning is subject centered and it moves from mastery of the simple to the more...
Bibliography: Reece, Walker (2003)“Teaching Training and Learning”
Minton (2002) “Teaching Skills in Further & Adult Education”
Sotto, Eric (1994) “When Teaching Becomes Learning”
Searle, John R
(“Andragogy or Pedagogy” Bob Monts, Illinois State University, April 2000) “http://www.coe.ilstu.edu/scienceed/jinks/ci538/papers/monts.htm
Internet based sources
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