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A Reflective Journal

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A Reflective Journal

It’s 2010 and e-Learning is quickly becoming the way of future learning. Via online learning you are able to eliminate barriers including distance, time and entry requirements. The same principles apply as attending a normal classroom, only you’re able to do it in the comfort of your own surroundings at your own pace. Online learning provides access to learning materials such as, i-Lectures; online links to the same lectures held in classrooms, YouTube links, online books and libraries, PowerPoint presentations and additional links to related resources. The flexibility of e-Learning is incredible and provides, in my opinion, a less stressful study environment and teachers you to be self-motivated.
Through EDP155 Understanding Learning you travel along an amazing learning journey discovering what psychological aspects you can and will come across when you become a teacher. A deep understanding of educational psychology and an ability to apply it in practice are fundamental to being a great teacher (Eggen & Kauchak 2009). You learn about different psychological theories and begin a journey of self discovery as you learn to challenge different views and concepts of learning, teaching and assessment. The course begins the journey to becoming the best teacher you can be.
An online journal encourages you to think about and reflect upon your learning by documenting ideas and concepts, both familiar and new about a topic. First writing a few words what you know about a topic and then exploring the topic in depth and writing what you have learned, thus demonstrating cognitive learning. Cognitive learning theories explain learning in terms of changes in the mental structures and processes involved in acquiring, organizing, and using knowledge (Royer, 2005; Sawyer, 2006). The journal is great learning tool and is an easy way to remember and reflect on new knowledge. The journal can really challenge and even change your views towards learning, teaching and assessment.
A group assignment entitled “What it takes to be an effective teacher in the year 2010 and beyond” encourages social cognitive learning. Social constructivism, which, influenced by Vygotsky’s (1978) work, suggests that learners first construct knowledge in a social context and then individually internalize it (Eggen & Kauchak, 2009). This is also demonstrated through discussing topics with other peers by the use of a discussion board. The group assignment allows you to be creative and challenges you to investigate several different physiological learning theories and perspectives. The challenge and creativity of the topic generates both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation towards learning. You are motivated intrinsically as the topic and information is interesting and extrinsically as good grades are desired.
These assessments are academically engaging and encourage reflective learning. Reflective learning refers to a great or deeper degree of processing of material to be learned. Whereas in non-reflective learning, material is simply taken in with little or no active thinking (e.g., memorization) or understanding, reflective learning engages a large amount of the learners thinking or cognitive capacities (Herod, 2002). The assignments help to increase intellectual development. Perry's Model of Intellectual Development found that most entering college freshmen were at the Dualistic level. At this level students demonstrate:
• Exhibiting black/white thinking which relies on authority figures to provide right answers
• Perceive their intellectual job as to memorize and repeat the correct answer which was given by the authority figure (author, professor, etc.)
• Dislike active or cooperative learning. They are looking for facts and figures, and aren't comfortable with abstract concepts.
There are four stages to Perry’s model:
• Dualism
• Multiplicity
• Relativism
• Commitment with Relativism
Perry’s research found that most graduating seniors only progressed to the second stage, few reach the third stage by graduation and students rarely met the fourth stage. Perry recommended following these strategies to help students move through each level:
• Provide appropriate balance of challenge and support, occasionally posing problems/questions 1-2 levels above student’s current level
• Assign open-ended real world problems
• Have students work in small groups – automatically exposes them to multiplicity of ideas
• Model the type of thinking being sought
• Provide supportive feedback, with respect for students at all levels of development
This is a great example of the thinking process and only after reflecting and evaluating your first assignments are you able to appreciate how true it actually is. Understanding Perry’s process helps demonstrate the ideas and concepts of learning and assessment. Assessment is an important aspect to teaching as classroom assessment includes all the processes involved in making decisions about students’ learning progress (Nitko, 2004; J. McMillan, 2007). Perry’s process can also promote metacognitive thinking. Metacognition, commonly described as “knowing about knowing” is our awareness of and control over our cognitive processes, and meta-attention, awareness of and control over our ability to pay attention, is one type of metacognition (Meltzer et al., 2007; Pressley & Hilden, 2006).
The course investigates key psychological theories and as you progress through each of the stages of Bloom’s taxonomy you can see yourself grow and develop the skills and knowledge required to achieve your maximum potential. The assignments - Starting with the basic knowledge you have, moving onto the ability to comprehend and understand that knowledge and then apply it. A reflective Essay – Ability to analyse and determine outcomes individually, through synthesis come up with own thoughts and ideas and then evaluate and determine its value and worthiness. The course motivates, prepares and helps you to understand the principals and psychological theories involved behind teaching, learning and assessment.

References

Eggen. P, & Kauchak. D, (2009). Educational Psychology Windows On Classrooms. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Intellectual Development Through Critical Reading http://www.personal.psu.edu/scs15/Reading/development.html Accessed online 11/08/2010
Intro to Assessment and Bloom http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZARe2_HQcA Accessed online 11/08/2010
L. Herod, M.Ed, BA, Winter 2002, Adult Learning - From Theory to Practice http://www.nald.ca/adultlearningcourse/glossary.htm Accessed online 10/08/2010
McMillan, J. (2007). Classroom assessment: Principles and practices for effective standards-based instruction (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Meltzer, L., Pollica, L., & Barzillai, M. (2007). Executive function in the classroom: Embedding strategy instruction into daily teaching practices. In L. Meltzer, (Ed.), Executive function in education: From theory to practice (pp. 165–193). New York: Guilford Press.
Nitko, A. (2004). Educational assessment of students (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Pay Attention, Education, Pay Attention On E Learning, IT, Technology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egRVc3R1u1U Accessed online 11/08/2010
Perry, William G., Jr. (1970). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Perry, William G., Jr. (1981), "Cognitive and Ethical Growth: The Making of Meaning", in Arthur W. Chickering and Associates, The Modern American College (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass): 76-116.
Pressley, M., & Hilden, K. (2006). Cognitive strategies. In D. Kuhn & R. Siegler (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 2, pp. 511–556). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Royer, J. (Ed.) (2005). The cognitive revolution in educational psychology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Sawyer, R, K. (2006). Introduction: The new science of learning. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 1–18). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman, Eds. & Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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