As I approach to the completion of my course, I have realized how my personal learning theory and in turn my teaching theory has changed and impacted on my academics. In particular, I have increasingly become more self-aware on my teaching and learning theory hence recognize the aspects of how I teach and learn. I believe I teach the same way I learn. I learn by doing, processing information and using my knowledge to interpret new patterns. In the same way, I teach by doing, helping students to interpret sensations and make sense of the events that affect their consciousness. Therefore, cognitivism forms a key aspect of my learning and teaching theory.
It is important to note that learners do not have void minds to be filled with knowledge but rather curious individuals who seek to understand the events surrounding them (Driscoll, 2005). In my view, learning is a process whereby learners construct the meaning based on their past cognitive activities. In this regard, constructivism and cognitivism are valuable learning and teaching theories.
Self-realization best describes how I learn. However, as I continue to gain more knowledge on learning theories, I have learned that cognitive structure is a key determinant of the ability to process information. In addition, I have noted that Piagets model of cognitive development can be used to describe the teaching and learning process (Merriam, 2004). Typically, learners move from the first stage of knowing how to respond to simple changes to the stage of being able to explain the factors surrounding complicated events. The learners then progress to the stage where they understand the concepts and connections between certain events and later to a stage where they have the ability to reason hypothetically in abstract situations to formulate solutions to problems and reformulate problems to get better results.
As I gain more knowledge on the different learning theories, I have realized that cognitive structure and ability to process information is dependent on several factors including an individuals background and culture. Considering my personal background, I find that motivation has been a key ingredient for my drive to learn. The application of constructivism as a teaching technique has enabled me to become more engaged in my learning and helped me derive more meaning out of it. My learning framework is anchored on the idea that motivation from culture and personal background enhances how learning is engaged through the adoption of a constructivist approach.
In my view, other learning theories have placed little or no emphasis on personal background and culture. However, a reflection of my family background reveals that it has been a key motivator and shaped my understanding of education wholesomely. Since I was a child, my parents emphasized on the value of education and helped me get higher grades by motivating me to excel in my strong subjects. At that time, I did not realize the strategy that engaged me best but now I understand it was constructivism. In fact, I learned most of the valuable lessons through real-life situations demonstrated in class. Although the teachers underscored the significance of the curriculum, it was through self-discovery that I ultimately found the knowledge through the activities on my own.
As noted by Tobin (1993), motivation and constructivism rely on each other. The two factors are critical ingredients to my learning theory because in the absence of motivation, it would not make sense to have a constructivist activity. It is true that motivation is highly individualized. However, I opine that background is paramount both in learning and in motivation. As noted earlier, my parents motivated me to get high grades and helped me build confidence. As a result, I achieved self-satisfaction and yearned to move forward. In this regard, I view that having extrinsic or intrinsic motivation in the teaching process is overly critical to the success of the entire learning process. This is evident when I train the learners whereby I have extrinsic motivation to learn the concepts I teach them because they relate directly to their work.
Driscoll, M.P.(2005). Psychology of learning for instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(1), 384-407.
Merriam, S. B. (2004). The role of cognitive development in Mezirows transformational learning theory. Adult education quarterly, 55(1), 60-68.
Tobin, K. G. (1993). The practice of constructivism in science education. Psychology Press.
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