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Running head: CUSTOMIZED LEARNING THEORY

Customized Learning Theory

Harrison Boltin

Liberty University
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Customized Learning Theory

Education is an important aspect in our society. Most people believe that educations only

function is to make our generations smarter, but this is not true. In the words of Dr. Martin

Luther King, Jr. (1947), he says that education has two purposes: 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. This means that education should be there to teach the

main subjects, but it should also help our children learn the necessities of life. To be more

efficient, we should learn to to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the

real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction (King, 1947, para. 2). This is where a

teachers personal learning theory is involved. The practices and principles that a teacher brings

into their classroom builds upon the foundation that is already laid in students.

Learning Theory and Its Importance

Within the classroom, choices happen frequently. A persons choice is the basis of the

question what happened?. Students make the choice to do what is expected or to not do what is

expected. William Glassers Choice Theory gives that all behaviors are intentionally chosen due

to the need to meet one or more of our five basic needs: survival, love/belonging, power,

freedom, and fun (Louis, 2009). The classroom provides the environment for any of these needs

to appear. Although the need may be felt, some students will make the choice to benefit only

themselves. Students need to have the understanding of being responsible and accountable for

their actions and choices (Van Bummelen, 2009). Students should also be held accountable for

making choices that not only benefit themselves, but the classroom as a whole and the other

students within it.


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It is important for students to not only learn the information, but to be able to apply it on

higher levels. Through the use of Blooms Taxonomy, teachers can effectively monitor where

their students are processing information. Using Blooms Taxonomy helps to move students from

the level that they are at to a higher one (Seamen, 2011). When presented in the right way,

students that are different levels to begin with can all be moved upward to another level of

understanding (Noble, 2004). It is vital for teaches to challenge their students. It is important for

students to develop a sense of morality in school. Morality greatly affects a students work ethic,

respect for authority, and interactions with peers. These three things all greatly impact the

success of a student especially in higher levels of schooling. Though a public school classroom

does not need to force a belief on students, morality can be taught, encouraged, and enforced in a

classroom. In high school, students should have developed some form of morality.

Description of an Effective Teacher and Learning Environment

An effective teacher is one who knows their classroom. It is a teacher who commands

authority and respect, but does not do it in a way that is dictator like. Jesus the greatest teacher of

all time, and though He had all authority to literally lord over those He taught, Jesus chose

instead to present Himself humbly (Phillipians 2). If the Lord of all creation presented Himself in

a way that commanded authority without belittling those under Him, then teachers should strive

even more so to manage their class in such an approvable way. This person is one who can

manage a classroom at any time and make learning still happen.

An effective teacher helps students grow in their ability to think critically and solve

problems, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, on a higher level of morality and

creativity. Critical reasoning isnt about blind disbelief any more than it is about blind belief.40
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It requires a solid understanding of fundamental facts, and those facts cue us to patterns of assent

or skepticism. The task of instilling those basics is a noble one. The roof wont stay up without

walls (Booker, 2007). This is a teacher who cares for his or her students academic growth, but

also the students growth as a member of society. Academics are no help to a student if they do

not help the student to achieve something beyond the classroom. Functioning in and participating

in a community will meet many of the needs that a student has as a human. Therefore, As a

Christian teacher, therefore, you consciously strive to forge your classroom into a learning

community in which students experience the richness of living in a caring and supportive but

also challenging environment (Van Brummelen, 2009).

Giving students a picture of this community in which they are involved in motivates

them. This effective teacher is a teacher who knows how to motivate students with this and other

truths. Part of this motivation depends on the previously mentioned Blooms Taxonomy that will

aid in challenging all students. When students are challenged, when they are part of the decision

making process, and when time is managed to allow minimal dead-time, students will remain

on-task and motivated. An effective teacher is someone who is intentional in his or her plans and

always has the end result on mind. This is part of the puzzle that keeps students motivate by

keeping them engaged in the lesson.

An effective teacher also embraces the changes new technologies bring and finds ways to

bring them into his or her classroom. Newness is not something to be shied away from or

instantly embraced. It is something that should be thoughtfully integrated into lessons, but

teachers must also be able to change when technology does not work the way that it should. This

shows that an effective teacher is one that is someone who is flexible and sees that learning takes
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place on a different level for each student. This once again ties into knowing the classroom and

knowing the material that is being taught. Knowing the material being taught improves a

teachers confidence. An effective teacher believes in his or her teacher efficacy (Slavin, 2015)

and strives to make it stronger with each day. An intentional teacher, one who has a strong

belief in her or his efficacy, is more likely to put forth consistent effort, to persist in the face of

obstacles, and to keep trying relentlessly until every student succeeds (Slavin, 2015). An

effective teacher is one who is not afraid to try something new, fail, and revise it to try again.

The perfect classroom is one where learning is the primary focus and the teacher is never

disrupted. This is not the case though. The best learning environment is where the teacher has

control of the classroom, but still allows for students to make choices and control their learning.

Technology is an important aspect of the classroom. With new technologies coming into the

world, teachers need to be able to show students how to effectively use them. Callens (2014)

states, Even though most students use social media regularly, many students do not know how

to use it responsibly and most effectively. Most students also do not know how to use social

media to manage information and utilize it in an educational or professional setting despite the

increasing presence of social media in higher education and business. Teachers can bring in

different forms of social media to help improve learning. Apps, such as Edmodo, give teachers

ways of testing knowledge, presenting material, and allowing students to interact with one

another through discussion boards. In the article from Callens (2014), it gives that social media

can be used to bring in outside speakers, gather data from the world to use within the classroom,

and teach students how to display information on themselves in a way that promotes their

chances of succeeding in life.


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Learning Characteristics

Multimodalities and ability grouping has been discussed previous in this paper. A further way to

ensure a way that all students are reaching their greatest potential is to teach them to help each

other meet their needs (Louis, 2009). A way to do this is through modeling. Modeling can be

used to demonstrate to students what is expected of them. As role models, faculty provide

verbal or nonverbal behaviors that students can imitate. The 2 characteristics that most

distinguish best and worst clinical teachers are being a good role model and encouraging a

climate of mutual respect (Sanders & Welk, 2005).

Personal Reflection

From the study skills inventory, it showed that I have strengths in the areas of time-

management, note taking, listening, written communication, technology and decision making.

This impacts my learning theory because I see the importance of these qualities in the classroom.

For an example, the skill of decision-making is vital to my theory because of my desire for

children to make their own choices in education. From the learning styles profile, it showed that I

am highly auditory, field-dependent, action taker, and a supervisor. This is important to my

theory it shows that I am more likely to deliver a lesson with lecture. Also, it gives that I am

more likely to allow children to work in groups or on their own to discover new information and

will supervise their progress. I think it is important in math for students to know how to do the

work independently. From the philosophical methodology profile, it shows that I am a

traditionalist. This gives that I will naturally teach my subject like it has been taught in the past.

With math, the material truly never changes, although it does develop further. This affects my
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teaching and learning because I expect students to understand how and why we do the math that

has been around for centuries.

As a teacher, I will bring in all aspects of my learning theory into my individual

classroom. This is what makes classrooms different, not only physically but academically and

morally. If I do not know why I believe what I believe and instruct by, then how am I able to

justify anything I do with the students.

Conclusion

Educators in all classrooms, from elementary to high school, run their classrooms

differently, but all great educators have a heart and passion to impact each and every one of their

students in some way. This is done through examining their personal learning theory, what is

means to be an effective educator, and what environment is most conducive to learning for their

subject. Within this, a teacher must consciously decide how they want their students to learn,

how they will teach and interact with students, and how they are going to reach every student

they come in contact with. A Christian teacher needs to filter all the decisions through Scripture

and the example set by Christ.


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References
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King Jr., M. L. (1947). The purpose of education. "The Maroon Tiger".

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