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MY NOTES on 'Understanding & Using Educational Theories'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 21 Apr 2021, 16:41

Understanding & Using Educational Theories 

Karl Aubrey & Alison Riley (2nd Edition) London, Sage (2019)

Harvard Reference

Aubrey. K & Riley. A (2019) Understanding & Using Educational Theories:  (2nd Edition) London, Sage

  • Benjamin Bloom: Learning through taxonomies
  • Albert Bandura. Learning through observation.
  • David Kolb: Experiential Learning Theory
  • Guy Claxton: Learning Power
  • Dylan Wiliam: Assessment for Learning
  • Carol Dweck: Mindsets and Motivation

+ Three new chapters which follow the same format as the same edition:

  • Albert Bandura
  • Dylan Wiliam
  • Carol Dweck

Teaching … 'a complex and messy phenomenon, with a multitude of contrasting facets to take into account which need a reflective and professional approach, involving ‘not just knowing what you do and how to do it. It is also about why you do it’. (p xiii Wiliams, 2008) (p.2) 

Behaviourism, constructivism, and humanism. 

There are three main psychological schools of thought which are of relevance to education and learning theory: behaviourism, constructivism, and humanism. 

Learning is simply a matter of stimulus and response (Wallace, 2008:32) (p.2)

Constructivists 

The constructivists believe that meaningful knowledge and understanding are actively constructed by learners … which builds on what they already know, causing them to change and adapt and invent ideas’. (Wallace, 2008:61)

Humanists

The humanism school of thought argues that education should focus on the needs of the individual learner, and that what is important are the aspects of personal and emotional growth. (p.3)

Humanists contend that the purpose of schools is to ‘meet the needs of the individual learner not the other way around’. (Petty, 1998:8)

John Dewey contended that learning should focus on practical life experiences and social interaction c/p8

For genuine learning to take place learners needed to make independent evaluations based on their interests.

Facilitating learning by encouraging and channelling individual curiosity and motivation so that they can develop intellectually. 

Learning as a cycle of experience where lessons are planned and executed based on observation and reflection from their own and their learners’ previous experiences and interests (Woods, 2008)

Wanted schools to accept pupils from different classes, cultures and abilities, schools would lay the foundations for building notions of democracy for children.

Opportunistic for action experience (p.11)

Skills and processes to solve problems.

Hegel - learning, developing through creative and active experience.

Kolb - active experience the groundwork for starting knowledge building process (Elkjaer, 2009)

Subject- Specific Facts and the Basis of Theory are necessary for learning to be created and built; it cannot take place just by active experience.

  • Steiner
  • Montessori

Plowden Report (1967)

2014 National Curriculum in England was a return to a subject-based approach (p.16)

England-results driven environment teachers as facilitator and co-collaborator calls into question the role of the teacher and their responsibility in terms of achievement and attainment of the learner.

Get your students to think like real scientists or historians. (p.16)

Like a sports coach it is the students who do the practice, provide the effort and create the gains. 

Dewey - his standpoint on inclusivity came from him witnessing the damage done by privilege and elitism.

  • Reflection
  • Effort
  • Courage
  • Differentiation
  • Diversity
  • Democracy

The teachers have to know the child very well. (p.18)

The teachers must be knowledgeable of cultural inheritance.

Identify the problem.

Experiential learning

Lifelong learning

Vocational education

C2 Montessori 

  • Tap into thor individual needs.
  • Respect
  • Respond to their needs.

NOTE :> Intrinsic motivation (Roopnanine and Johnson, 2005)

C3 Piaget

  • Constructors of their own knowledge.
  • Making meaning from experiences.

Vygotsky - social interactions are essential for learning to take place. (p.46)

Earlier physical and intellectual maturity (p.47)

Less formality - children learning in groups + some are more knowledgeable.

@ Secondary - activity which involves abstract reasoning, allowing pupils to demonstrate their concrete thinking.

Adaptation - learning through adjusting to new information and experiences, and can proceed through either assimilation or accommodation.

Lev Vygotsky - (p58)

Social background and construction of … knowledge … which is in tune with the culture within which they mature (Keenon, 2002)

Scaffolding - assistance.

C5 Skipper (p.77)

Vs extrinsic motivation to moderate behaviour.

‘Learning students to find their own pleasure and satisfaction in learning activity proper’. (Richelle, 1993:173)

‘Feedback should be given instantaneously given in order that children are aware of where they went wrong and can rectify this immediately’. (p.79)

C6 Benjamin Bloom 

Six hierarchical levels from simple to more complex

The cognitive domain taxonomy

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation
  7. Receiving
  8. Responding
  9. Valuing
  10. Organising
  11. Conceptualising
  12. Characterising by value or value concept

The psychomotor domain taxonomy

  • Reflex moments 
  • Perceptual abilities 
  • Physical abilities 

A valuable aid for the planning of lessons, assessments and programmes of study (p.90)

What’s their level of ability at the start of the assignment?

Counter early disappointments.

Modify teaching and learning resources to the individual needs and interests of the student (Husen, 2001)

Develop talent (Bloom, 1976)

Most disadvantaged children … spend less time in direct interaction with their parents than middle-class children do.

Mavlow : Food, Shelter, Safety

Formative Learning 

Teaching and assessment so they can all achieve in an already crowded curriculum. (p.93)

Mastery learning in practice takes a huge amount of time and groundwork to prepare resources, plan sessions, organise the classroom environment and give summative feedback to learners (O'Donnell, 2007)

The terms are used to set learning objectives in short-term planning for lessons and medium/long schemes of work. (p94)

Learning objectives (Petty 1998: 347)

  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluate

Cognitive : reproductive tasks or reasoning tasks.

Reproduction tasks: knowledge, comprehension, application.

Require low cognitive effort (p.95)

Reasoning Tasks:

Analysis, synthesis and evaluation - involve a deeper learning experience for a student.

Bloom’s taxonomies five teachers a framework to check that their planning and teaching help progress children’s learning. (p.95)

As pupils gain knowledge of their subject, their behaviour and awareness develop, which allows them to use and value the skills attained. (Huddleston and Unwin, 2002)

REF: Bloom, B., Hastings, J. and Madans, G. (eds) Formative and Summative Evaluation of Student Learning. New York. McGraw-Hill.

C7 Malcolm S.Knowles 

Contextualising Adult Learning - building on existing experiences.,

Internal gratification from the learning process or the desire to pass exams (p.105)

  • Self-concept
  • Role of experience
  • Readiness to learn
  • Orientation for learning
  • Internal motivation
  • Need to know

Classroom layout withdraws vulnerability predisposes the learner to believe that the delivery style will be one of knowledge transition and possibly reinforce their preconceptions of what constitutes a learning environment. (p.110)

Chairs in circles = collaboration or like the AA to ‘share’.

Away from subject-centeredness to one of problem-centredness.

REF: Knowles, M.S. (1950) Informal Adult Education. New York. Assoc. Press.

C8 Jerome Bruner

‘A Spiral Curriculum’ initial presentation, revisited later on to reinforce understanding and give added vigour.

Three ways children convert experiences: through action, imagery and symbols. (p.118)

Structure of learning and how to make it central to teaching.

Readiness for learning.

Intuitive and analytical thinking.

Motives for learning.

Enactive mode: children do things for themselves.

Iconic mode: comprehend images

Symbolic mode: understand abstract language

REF: Bruner - ‘A scaffold to support the efforts of the learner to construct his or her own understanding’ (Olson, 2007:45)

Olson - margins of a complex task to mastery (2007:46)

Blights of poverty, racism and the inequities of social life. (p.127)

C9 Albert Bandura 

> observation of cues by others.

  1. Pay attention

  2. Retention

  3. Reproduce

  4. Motivation to perform an action

‘Most of the behaviours that people display are learned either deliberately through the influence of example’. (Bandura, 1971:5) (p.139) 

Pupils achieving success bring others with them.

Behaviour is learned through observing others as rewards for that behaviour. (p.145)

REF: Bandura. A (1977) Social Learning Theory

C10 Urie Bronfenbrenner

Human development was influenced by the social structure that the individual was part of.

People learn from one another:

  • Observation
  • Replication
  • Modelling

C11 Paulo Freire Oppression

Dialogue based on mutual respect curiosity (p.166)

Students keep journals and read out what they write to each other. (p.175)

Interests, cultures, history of 17 year olds.

C12 Donald Schön (1987:31)

  • Recalling events
  • Feelings
  • Evaluating the experience
  • Integrating new knowledge

TASK

Make a list of the theories and values that you believe underpin your work in your own setting, then ask a colleague to observe you in practice.

Each student has a fascinating story to tell. (p.91)

Reflective Practice

REF: Boud,. D Keogh, R and Walker, D (eds) 1985

Reflection. 

Turning experience into learning.

C13 David Kolb (p.196)

Experiential Learning Theory

What, how and why you do a thing

People learn best when they are engaged in first-hand experiences which can later be reflected as through thinking about the details of the experience alongside the feelings and perceptions which emerged during the experience (Hankin et al, 2001) (p.198)

  • Concrete experience 
  • Reflective observation
  • Abstract conceptualisation
  • Active experimentation 

Fig.13.1 Kolb’s Learning Cycle

REF: Moon, J (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development. London. Kogan Page.

REF: Scön. D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in practice.

C14 Jean Lave & Etienne Wenger

Learners not passive receivers of knowledge

Wenger’s communities of practice

Wenger (1998) 

  • Communities of practice
  • Mutual engagement
  • Joint enterprise
  • Shared repertoire

Components:

  • Meaning
  • Practice
  • Community
  • Identity

NB. Excessive power interactions hinder admissions and participation.

Blogging

Blogs offer an informal method of writing and give a write the option to air an individual commentary (Rai, 2008:96)

Change layout of the classroom

C15 Guy Claxton

Building student confidence and character.

Process not content 

Competence not comprehension 

Engagement not ability 

Habits of thinking

Reciprocating the behaviour of those they know and trust such as family members and carers.

If children have positive and reasoned experiences which are modelled by these significant others they are more likely to have the emotional intelligence to enable them to work under pressure. (p.231)

Experience in childhood at home and at school is particularly important because these early belief systems whether functional or dysfunctional can be carried through into people’s lives as adults (Claxton, 2002 :122) (p.231) 

  • Resilient
  • Resourceful
  • Reflective 
  • Reciprocal

Teachers need to ‘split-screen’ to retain a dual focus on the content of the lesson and the learning dispositions that are currently being expanded’. (p.237)

Soft creativity

Keep your notes / workings

Keep a blog

Teachers as fallible, inquisitive not know it alls (p.238)

REF: Claxton G & Lucas, B (2004) Being Creative: Essential steps to revitalize your work and life. London. BBC Books.

REF: Gabbert. I. (2002) Essential Motivation in the Classroom. London.

C16 Dylan Wiliam (p.244)

The need for students to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

Students should be involved in the choice of tasks. 

Assess each others work

Provide helpful

Comments which would help pupils improve.

By requiring all pupils to respond to questions also increases inclusivity in the classroom (p.253)

Peer assessment was found to be ‘motivating force for pupils, with pupils applying more care to their work knowing that their peers would be assessing it.’ (p.255)

Pupils should be ‘beneficiaries’ rather than victims of testing’. (p.256)

C17 Carol Dweck

Fixed mindset or growth mindset

Dweck promotes the idea that knowing about how the brain works can foster a love of learning and enhance resilience (Pound, 2009)

Praise that celebrates perseverance, effort, study, hard work and the use of learning strategies (Dweck, 2012) (p.267) Brainology

Real learning comes from a lot of hard work (Matthews and Folsom, 2009:22)

“You really tried hard, that was a good way to do it.”

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Design Museum

After three months teaching online I take a class face to face

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Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960-1988

To get their attention at the start of the class and to get them thinking I showed a series of artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat. In part this played into the final task of the module which is to create a ‘Poster’ which will be part drawing, part text, diagram and infographic but it also introduced today’s theme on mental welfare and the mind. 

I used this quote from Jean-Michel Basquiat.

“I don't think about art while I work. I try to think about life.” (Basquiat, 1986) 

I also pointed out that Basquiat died of a heroin overdose when he was 27 and so introduced the theme of mental well-being and the way we cope with stress. 

A student suggested that as well as writing down mechanisms of coping with stress, we also included ‘how not to … ‘ to which the class put ‘alcohol’ and ‘drugs while also recognising that silence, or ‘going crazy or being aggressive was not a solution. This related back to Basquait, who we understand was “attracted to intelligence more than anything and to pain” and the Laurie Anderson quote from Radio 6 Music on an uncle who went ‘crazy in the attic’ for three years suffering from ‘shell-shock’. (Anderson 2021) 

Throughout I wanted to make use of the evidence-based research of Dylan William (2017) regarding formative assessment, especially on the ‘Five Key Stages of Formative Assessment”. (Wilaim, p.11) With this in mind, the first step was ‘Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions and success criteria’. (Wiliam, p.11)

The goal of this class was stated within the context of the end of the module task to create a poster. That by the end of this session students would understand how all the previous sessions on the hands, feet and face would fit together. I took an A3 sheet and drew up my impression of one approach for this poster: a roughly sketched human figure with head, hands and feet, with elements from each mind map added to, in turn, a hand, a foot, the face and the mind/brain. It was also suggested that the page might be split left and right between how personal hygiene protects you on one side of the page while looking at how personal hygiene protects others on the other side. 

Having got them to write ‘mind’ or ‘brain’ in the centre of an A3 sheet we then recapped the set of enquiry questions we have used before: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? I took this opportunity to try the technique proposed by Wiliam (2017, p.126) he learnt from a teacher called ‘Pose-pause-pounce-bounce. Here I would Pose > a question, ‘Pause’ 3 seconds for a response, then ‘Pounce’ on someone else who would hopely provide a response and then go back to the original person to seek confirmation and clarification. In the moment, despite having these steps written out, I found I would pose a question, not give adequate pause, pick someone else who may not reply either then fall back on taking a response from someone who was ready with an answer. I then missed the chance to go back to the person to whom the question was first put.  To achieve this in future I should slow down, as I still don’t know the students, I should use the floor plan, and be quite specific about marking down who is asked the first question and even use arrows to point back to them once I have moved on. This floor plan should also show the layout from the teacher’s perspective from Front to Back to make it easy to use. 

I also used a phrasing technique that is also suggested in Wiliam (2017, p.104)  “to help students understand and achieve learning intentions”. This is known as WALT, WILF and TIB as in  “We are learning …” “What I’m looking for …” and “This is because …”. I found I use the second of these most frequently so that I could take any discussion back to the task of this session and the end of module poster assignment. 

I realised after the event the value of each student having a chrome book and access to the Internet as when being taught remotely this formed an important part of the class as they were expected to do their own research, ideally looking at Medical News Today and other reliable sources of information, as well as creating a Pinterest gallery of visual ideas. The issue in class, which may have been the same when working from home, would have been to have had a surface large enough, such as a kitchen table rather than a small desk, or working from a laptop, tablet of phone so that they could do their mind map. I also realise that I naturally worked on an A3 sheet clipped to a drawing board while they were working with whatever pad of paper came to hand. 

Regarding access to the Internet I should also have encouraged those who had used the App Simple Mind to continue to do so, while introducing Google Draw, Adobe Spark and Canva as additional tools they could use for the end of module assignment > a poster. 

I could have prepared in advance a short introduction to the brain/mind - indeed there are surely many on YouTube that are suitable. We should be amazed at the 86 billion neurons and our capacity to think and feel - wherein lies the problem when it comes to mental wellbeing. 

I repeatedly tried to bring the topic back to Mental Health and Uniformed Services looking at the topic from the perspective of your own mental health and that of others. Three clips were used. In the case of content from Twitter I talked through a short exchange on different kinds of trauma from a Clinical Psychologist and someone sharing their state of depression. I had a short piece from Radio 6 Music with Laurie Anderson talking about an uncle who spent three years ‘going crazy’ in their attic from ‘Shell Shock’. 

In this way an attempt was made to get a discussion going on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for example around questions on rape, compared to anxiety and depression. We also considered how an individual copes with PTSD, anxiety and depression. A range of responses were given: talk to others, seek professional help, relax with music, a walk or playing electronic games. However, it was a struggle, now that I could see the students in front of me, to get them to take all of these opportunities to jot things down on their mind map. Time and time again with the video clips it was as if the default practice was ‘put your pens down, look at the screen’, rather than listen and take notes.

Whereas working online, 90 minutes at a time, we could take a 20 minute period to work on producing the mind map, here it was kept to 15 minutes. Here at least I could go around, see what they were doing and guide them. It was surprising how little was being done in some instances, that the repeated opportunities to add detail from the information provided were being missed. 

With the one to one the opportunity came for immediate spoken feedback. Here I took note of Knowles (1980) regarding using non-judgemental feedback. Although the students are young adults, age 17 typically, I felt that an approach developed in adult-learning would be most helpful - after all these young people are in an FE college, not school. 

Ample time was given to students to respond to my questions with the expectation that other students would be listening, taking notes on their mind map and contributing. I would have liked to have given a short insight into concepts such as ‘positivity’, Kolb’s spiral (Kolb, 1984 ) being ‘In The Flow’ (Cskiszentmihalyi, 1990) and motivation coming from a good coach.  We did discuss mindfulness and the website Medical News Today was once again offered as a reliable, uptodate and clear source for research.

REFERENCES

Basquiat, J-M (1986) Quoted in the New Yorker. Wikipedia (URL) (accessed 11 March 2021) Interview with writer Isabelle Graw in 1986. Jean-Michael Basquiat on How to be an Artist on website Artsy > https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-artist-jean-michel-basquiat (accessed 11 March 2021) 

BBC Radio 6 Music - The First Time … Laurie Anderson talks to Matt Everitt (accessessed 14 March 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000sqnr

Cskiszentmihalyi, M. (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York. Harper & Row. 

Knowles, M.S. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From pedagogy to andragogy (revised and updated). Chicago, IL: Association : Revised Second Edition. 

Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Reprint electronically produced by permission of Pearson Education Inc., New York (First Edition). 

Medical News Today.  Medical website. Accessed 11 March 2021 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ 

William.D (2017) Embedded Formative Assessment: (Strategies for Classroom Assessment That Drives Student Engagement and Learning) (The New Art and Science of Teaching) : Second Edition 

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