Key Learning Theories
Deborah Lynne Kittredge
Dr. Leigh Baldwin August 22,2009
This paper views the learner, the learning theories and how they relate to the most effective classroom environment. The learners that are discussed are third grade American Indian children. The learning theories are taken from the behavioral, cognitive and constructivist theories. Different theorist are included and the theories of Howard Gardner are added as part of effective classroom strategies. Finally a description of the classroom environment is included that relates to the theories and students discussed.
The Most Effective Classroom Environment
The Purpose of Education
Michael Martinez asks in his book, Learning and Cognition, “what is the purpose of education?“ ( Martinez,Michael E., 2010, p. 348). He answers this question by saying that there are divergent views based on the stake holder. Parents desire one outcome for education where students and educators may have an entirely different view of the purpose. His final remarks are that “among the many possible and legitimate goals of education, one is the enhancement of intelligence” ( Martinez,Michael E., 2010, p. 348). To make this happen there would have to be a conceptual shift, which Martinez explains that this change would have to be “to see intelligence as a malleable human characteristic, one that is sensitive to the quality of experience” ( Martinez,Michael E., 2010, p. 348). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a paper on The Purpose of Education in which he said,
It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. (King, Dr. Martin Luther Jr. , 1947).
He continues to say that education should teach a person to think quickly and be able to solve problems resolutely. King concludes that “the function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically” (King, Dr. Martin Luther Jr. , 1947).
Charles A. Ellenwood, a professor at the University of Missouri, wrote an article in November of 1912 on The Sociological Basis of the Science of Education in which he concluded that all human societies train their young in the social ways of their society and “adapt them to the ways of their group” (Ellenwood, 1912, p. 134). Ellenwood goes on to say that the more complex a society the more need for proper stimulus and response education and written and oral language.
When we take into consideration these perspectives we can surmise that the desire for education of a society comes from a need to advance the society forward through intellectual and informational means to insure its survival. Each society has a different set of values and desires for their young.
This year the author has been hired by the Seminole Tribe of Florida to provide general education for their tribe members in the third grade. They desire their students to be able to have an education that gives them the ability to live and manage their business holdings in the global economy but also to incorporate their culture and history so that it is preserved and continues. This requires research and inquiry on the part of the instructor to understand their culture and incorporate it into the lessons. Another dynamic of this endeavor is to determine what theoretical approach will deliver a measurable learning product. Gage defined this as a process-product research where “researchers wanted to know what teachers could do to teach more effectively” ( Martinez,Michael E., 2010, p. 4). This process was...