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He believed effective learning is
seen when a person progresses through concrete experience (having an
experience), reflective observation (of the experience), abstract
conceptualization (learning from the experience), and active experimentation
(trying what you have learned). Kolb also incorporated learning styles to his
two continuums based on the cycle. A learning
style is a person’s preferred method to gain knowledge. Each learning style
represents a combination of two preferred styles. A major controversy in cognitive
development has been nature versus
nurture: whether cognitive development is determined by a person’s innate
qualities (nature) or by their personal experiences (nurture). At first, it
swung towards nature because of scientific discoveries of nature. During post
World War I, evidence seemed to support the connection between social class and
intelligence. After the last World War, people thought there is a balance
between nature and nurture.

Finally, the major topic from class
revolved around learning environments,
which are environments that best promote learning. The four interdependent aspects
are learner-centered, knowledge-centered, assessment-centered and
community-centered. Learner-centered
environments pay careful attention to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
beliefs that learners bring to the educational setting. Since learners come
from different kinds of background, an educator cannot assume what the learner
knows. Therefore, it is important to understand what they know and do not know.
The three principles of learning is pre-existing knowledge, active learning,
and metacognition. Pre-existing knowledge is prior knowledge learners bring with them because of their
experiences and own interpretations. Active learning lets students take control
of their own learning. It is important for the teacher to present factual
knowledge and conceptual understanding to challenge a learner’s misconceptions.
Otherwise, they affect their capability to remember, reason, solve problems,
and learn new concepts. Lastly, it is crucial for students to develop metacognition. It helps students monitor
their progress and improve on transferring,
or extending, their knowledge to a new context. Metacognition also involves
thinking about one’s own thinking process such as study skills and memory
capabilities. Memory is the mental
capacity to encode, store, and retrieve information. Dyslexia hinders the memory process of encoding words as meaningful
information. However, with proper accommodation, students can excel in learning
despite it. Chunking is a way to organize and store information into smaller
manageable pieces. Two effects of
memory are the primacy and recency effect. The primacy effect states the beginning
of a list is remembered because it occurred first, whereas the things
remembered at the end of the list is called the recency effect. Once the
learner knows their starting point, they learn how to progress and handle
information.

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Knowledge-centered environments provide numerous of ways to comprehend knowledge, as well as
acquire problem-solving skills. Educators need to promote literacy in the classroom. Students have to be literate (able to
understand, utilize and comprehend the subject’s language) to create,
communicate and compute with others. Math and science have jargon and symbols
that differ from the English language. For example, mathematical and scientific
literacy consists of mathematical & scientific knowledge, methods, and
processes applied in various contexts in metacognitive ways. In order for
that to happen, students need to follow the math and science proficiencies. The math proficiencies have five
components: conceptual understanding (comprehension of concepts, operations,
and relations), procedural fluency (carrying out procedures efficiently and
appropriately), strategic competence (formulating, representing, and solving
problems), adaptive reasoning (capacity for logical thought and reflection),
and productive disposition (seeing math as meaningful). The science
proficiencies are similar except its problems are not always computational;
they do not include procedural fluency and emphasizes more on scientific
explanations of the world. Although reading
strategies seem only useful in English class, they can be used in any
subject, especially math and science to teach students text comprehension. They
can increase students’ conceptual understanding of math and science. Once
students obtain the necessary information, they need a method. Fortunately,
there are student-driven approaches to solve a problem. One example is modeling, which involves either a
teacher demonstration (scaffolding) or a visual representation of the problem.
A specific case is a model eliciting
activity (MEA). MEAs pose as open-ended problems and challenge students to
build models in order to solve complex, real-world problems. MEAs encourage
students to invent and test models, which makes their thinking visible.  Another problem solving method is anchored instruction (AI). Like MEA, it
is a form of context-based learning designed to encourage students and teachers
to pose and solve realistic problems. Inquiry
differs from the rest because it is an active learning
process in which students answer research questions through actual data
analysis. Inquiry instruction involves
students in a form of active learning that emphasizes questioning, data
analysis, and critical thinking. Another form of inquiry is argument-driven inquiry (ADI). It attempts
to develop an argument that provides and supports an explanation for the
research question using claim, evidence,
and reasoning (CER). CER helps students learn how to determine if available data are relevant,
sufficient, and convincing enough to support their claims. Overall, a
knowledge-centered environment builds a strong foundational structure for
students to further their learning.

Assessment-centered environments provide frequent formal and informal opportunities for
feedback focused on understanding. There are two types of assessments:
formative and summative. Formative
assessments are used to provide feedback on where to improve teaching and
learning, whereas summative assessments
measures what students have
learned at the end of some set of learning activities. Both assessments consist
on questioning students to see what
they have learned. However, most classrooms ask lower cognitive questions (fact,
closed, direct, recall, and knowledge questions). These types of questions
consist of the two lower levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, knowledge and
comprehension. Bloom’s taxonomy is a
framework for categorizing educational
goals. The higher levels are applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The
ultimate goal for students is to gain meta-cognitive abilities to self-assess,
reflect and rethink for better understanding.

Community-centered environments foster norms for people learning from one another, and
continually attempting to improve. Within a community, students are encouraged
to be engaged, constructive participants in a non-threatening environment and
to make mistakes. Accountable talk assures
responsibility to the community, accurate knowledge, and rigorous thinking.
Students should listen and be respectful to others in the classroom. Another way
to create a community-centered environment is to have a laughter in the classroom. It has social benefits like reducing
conflict, increasing communication, promoting creativity, and lightens up the
room. Having a community-centered environment provides support and
collaboration.

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