Valerie Boyles EDPS 6451 12/8/11 Personalized Learning Theory I have come to define learning as using culture (environment, social

interaction, and language) and authentic experience to gain complex mental processes, ultimately to achieve autonomy. I strongly agree with Piaget, Bruner, and Vygotsky that social interaction, language, and culture influence learning. Piaget believed social interaction is necessary to provide feedback and multiple perspectives. This is why I give my students positive and constructive feedback as immediately as possible. If we can catch a mistake right away, it wonʼt become a habit. I also think it is important for students to feel that their opinions and perspectives are valued in learning. Like Bruner, I think students need to match their learning to their culture and frame of reference. When students share ideas, they are helping each other to do this. Vygotsky believed in using social interaction to guide learners toward autonomy. Bandura influenced my belief that the reason for learning is to achieve autonomy. and Vygotsky hit gold with his zone of proximal development. Everything I ever learned during my undergrad was based on the ZPD. Each of my lessons follows an “I do, we do, you do” formula. If students are asked to perform individually too soon, it causes frustration. When there is a gradual release of responsibility from the teacher to the student, the student is more able and ready to perform independently. Like Piaget, Bruner, and the stage theorists, I think interaction with the environment is important. Information is meaningless unless it can be applied to real life. I try to foster this within my classroom by giving as authentic learning situations as possible and putting information into contexts the students are familiar with. The cognitive theorists, Bandura, and Vygotsky all thought the goal of learning is to achieve higher level mental processes. I think that being able to use high level thinking skills are a mark of a mature learner. Using this kind of thinking is what enables us to not just regurgitate information, but to be able to solve problems and relate what we know to similar situations. Metacognition and schemas are vital when trying to achieve these higher thinking processes. I like to use diagrams and visuals to help students understand material. I explain my own schemas and how I organize material to model how I use metacognition. I have students explain their thinking to me and to each other because if they can explain it to someone else they show a better understanding. Although I do not think the behaviorism theory can be used to assess learning, I do think it has a very special place in the classroom. As Iʼve mentioned, the environment is important to learning, which includes individual studentsʼ behavior. Behaviorists focused on observable behaviors only, but they discussed how to create a proper learning environment in order to gain desired outcomes. Students need to know that it is not just their learning that matters, but it is also their actions. Teachers need the ideas of behaviorism to shape the actions of their students to keep a controlled classroom. I do this by using point systems for the whole class, small groups, and individuals. The students are motivated to work harder so they can earn rewards, and at the same time they avoid poor behavior.