CONSTRUCTIVISM Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences. Principles: • • Learning is a search for meaning. Therefore, learning must start with the issues around which students are actively trying to construct meaning. Meaning requires understanding wholes as well as parts. And parts must be understood in the context of wholes. Therefore, the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts. In order to teach well, we must understand the mental models that students use to perceive the world and the assumptions they make to support those models. The purpose of learning is for an individual to construct his or her own meaning, not just memorize the “right” answers and regurgitate someone else’s meaning. Since

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education is inherently interdisciplinary, the only valuable way to measure learning is to make the assessment part of the learning process, ensuring it provides students with information on the quality of their learning. How Constructivism Impacts Learning Curriculum –calls for elimination of standardized curriculum. –promotes using curricula customized to students’ prior knowledge. - emphasizes hands-on problem solving. Instruction –educators focus on making connections between facts & fostering new understanding --Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on openended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students. Assessment - calls for elimination of grades & standardized testing. Assessment becomes part of learning process so that students play a larger role in judging their own progress.

BEHAVIORISM focuses on objectively observable behaviors & discounts any independent activities of the mind. learning is defined as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior based on environmental conditions. Experiments by behaviorists identify conditioning as a universal learning process. TYPES:

1. Classic conditioning occurs when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus. 2. Behavioral or operant conditioning occurs when a response to a stimulus is
reinforced. Basically, operant conditioning is a simple feedback system: If a reward or reinforcement follows the response to a stimulus, then the response becomes more probable in the future. CRITICISMS: • • • Behaviorism does not account for all kinds of learning, since it disregards the activities of the mind. Behaviorism does not explain some learning–such as the recognition of new language patterns by young children–for which there is no reinforcement mechanism. Research has shown that animals adapt their reinforced patterns to new information. For instance, a rat can shift its behavior to respond to changes in the layout of a maze it had previously mastered through reinforcements.

How Behaviorism Impacts Learning

and biorhythms. language. Its positive and negative reinforcement techniques can be very effective– such as in treatments for human disorders including autism. Mental concentration & effort alters the physical structure of the brain. and redundant. It’s impossible for such a system to function like a linear or parallel-processing computer. The structure of the brain’s neuron connections is loose. BRAIN-BASED LEARNING . anxiety disorders and antisocial behavior. the mammalian or limbic brain that controls emotions. Instead. Neuroscience proponents advocate continued learning and intellectual development throughout adulthood. The possible combinations of connections is about ten to the onemillionth power. Discussion The nervous system and the brain are the physical foundation of the human learning process. NEUROSCIENCE .is the study of the human nervous system. The brain is not a computer. “whole” ideas. the brain. they organize a curriculum around real experiences and integrated. learning will occur. and based on the structure and function of the brain. “webbed. As long as the brain is not prohibited from fulfilling its normal processes. This theory is still “young” and is undergoing rapid. Our brain actually contains three brains: the lower or reptilian brain that controls basic sensory motor functions. Neuroscience links our observations about cognitive behavior with the actual physical processes that support such behavior. The brain is a parallel processor. flexible. Our nerve cells (neurons) are connected by branches called dendrites. they focus on instruction that promotes complex thinking and the “growth” of the brain. There are about 10 billion neurons in the brain and about 1. and higher intelligence. controversial development. The brain changes with use. we strengthen certain patterns of connection. reasoning. PRINCIPLES: 1. meaning it can perform several activities at once. throughout our lifetime. and the neocortex or thinking brain that controls cognition. and the biological basis of consciousness.” overlapping. As we use the brain. making each connection easier to create next time. memory. Behaviorism is often used by teachers who reward or punish student behaviors. memory.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 This theory is relatively simple to understand because it relies only on observable behavior and describes several universal laws of behavior. perception. This is how memory develops. How Neuroscience Impacts Education When educators take neuroscience into account. . Some of the key findings of neuroscience are: The brain has a triad structure. the brain is better described as a selforganizing system. like tasting and smelling.000 trillion connections. Plus.

Learning engages the whole physiology. We have two types of memory: spatial and rote. while maintaining a highly challenging environment 3. 8. 3. 5. Each brain is unique. encouraging students to also learn in settings outside the classroom and the school building. 9. 10. Active processing–Allowing the learner to consolidate and internalize information by actively processing it How Brain-Based Learning Impacts Education Curriculum Teachers must design learning around student interests and make learning contextual. Learning involves both conscious and unconscious processes. interactive experiences that are both rich and real. This way. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception. Teachers structure learning around real problems. students monitor and enhance their own learning process.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 2. 7. 11. 3 Instructional techniques: 1. their assessment should allow them to understand their own learning styles and preferences. Teachers must immerse learners in complex. The search for meaning comes through patterning. Instruction Educators let students learn in teams and use peripheral learning. Emotions are critical to patterning. Relaxed alertness–Trying to eliminate fear in learners. 3 interactive elements are essential to this process: (Renate Caine Making Connections) 1. Orchestrated immersion–Creating learning environments that fully immerse students in an educational experience 2. 12. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. One excellent example is immersing students in a foreign culture to teach them a second language. 4. spatial memory. The brain processes wholes and parts simultaneously. 6. Educators need to help students have appropriate experiences and capitalize on those experiences. The search for meaning is innate. Educators must take advantage of the brain’s ability to parallel process. We understand best when facts are embedded in natural. What Brain-Based Learning Suggests How the brain works has a significant impact on what kinds of learning activities are most effective. Assessment Since all students are learning. .

educators should not ask. Other kinds of learning aren’t rewarded and reflected in curriculum. Concrete and abstract perceivers–Concrete perceivers absorb information through direct experience. Instructors need to realize that the best way to learn is not through lecture. however. In order for a student to gain insight about a problem. Learning Styles -emphasizes the fact that individuals perceive and process information in very different ways. -The learning styles theory is based on research demonstrating that. Reflective processors make sense of an experience by reflecting on and thinking about it. This is what’s known as the “active processing of experience. • The best problem solvers are those that laugh! • Designers of educational tools must be artistic in their creation of brain-friendly environments. and feeling. educators should allow learners to customize their own environments. and thinking. • Because every brain is different.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 2. A few other tenets of brain-based learning include: • Feedback is best when it comes from reality. Such challenges stimulate a student’s mind to the desired state of alertness. there must be intensive analysis of the different ways to approach it. rather than from an authority figure. different individuals have a tendency to both perceive and process information differently.” 4. acting. instruction. 2. Students must have a personally meaningful challenge. “Is this student smart?” but rather “How is this student smart?” -The concept of learning styles is rooted in the classification of psychological types. upbringing. by doing. but by participation in realistic environments that let learners try new things safely. as the result of heredity. How the Learning Styles Theory Impacts Education Curriculum Instruction Assessment . Abstract perceivers. and assessment nearly as much. and about learning in general. take in information through analysis. 3. • The big picture can’t be separated from the details. Traditional schooling tends to favor abstract perceiving and reflective processing. observation. and current environmental demands. sensing. The different ways of doing so are generally classified as: 1.” In fact. • People learn best when solving realistic problems. The learning styles theory implies that how much individuals learn has more to do with whether the educational experience is geared toward their particular style of learning than whether or not they are “smart. Active and reflective processors–Active processors make sense of an experience by immediately using the new information.

and even talking. experience. using various combinations of experience. and experimentation. Gardner labels each of these ways a distinct “intelligence”–in other words. as well as a sensitivity to rhythms and beats 6. feeling. reflection. and create internal images and pictures 4. and imagination. Instructors can introduce a wide variety of experiential elements into the classroom. Visual-Spatial–The ability to visualize objects and spatial dimensions. Musical-Rhythmic–The ability to recognize tonal patterns and sounds. he identifies the following seven: 1. movement. Verbal-Linguistic–The ability to use words and language 2.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 Educators must place emphasis on intuition. Body-Kinesthetic–The wisdom of the body and the ability to control physical motion 5. reason. sensing. visuals. Intrapersonal–The spiritual.developed by psychologist Howard Gardner. Logical-Mathematical–The capacity for inductive and deductive thinking and reasoning. Gardner defines an “intelligence” as a group of abilities that: • • • • Is somewhat autonomous from other human capacities Has a core set of information-processing operations Has a distinct history in the stages of development we each pass through Has plausible roots in evolutionary history While Gardner suggests his list of intelligences may not be exhaustive. focusing on the development of “whole brain” capacity and each of the different learning styles. Interpersonal–The capacity for person-to-person communications and relationships 7. self-reflection. MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES . Teachers should employ a variety of assessment techniques. a set of skills allowing individuals to find and resolve genuine problems they face. Teachers should design their instruction methods to connect with all four learning styles. inner states of being. and awareness . conceptualization. and sequential problem solving. in addition to the traditional skills of analysis. such as sound. suggests there are at least seven ways that people have of perceiving and understanding the world. music. as well as the use of numbers and the recognition of abstract patterns 3.

Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 How Multiple Intelligences Impact Learning Curriculum Traditional schooling heavily favors the verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. It also suggests that each of us prefers one mode over the other. Piaget’s theory is based on the idea that the developing child builds cognitive structures–in other words. Experimentation has shown that the two different sides. story telling. including role playing. of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. Instruction Gardner advocates instructional methods that appeal to all the intelligences.” . mental “maps. Assessment This theory calls for assessment methods that take into account the diversity of intelligences. as well as self-assessment tools that help students understand their intelligences RIGHT BRAIN VS. reflection. LEFT BRAIN This theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different “modes” of thinking. self-awareness. cooperative learning. In contrast to behaviorists. and so on. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking: Left Brain Logical Sequential Rational Analytical Objective Looks at parts Right Brain Random Intuitive Holistic Synthesizing Subjective Looks at wholes Behaviorism is often seen in contrast to constructivism. and physical education. communication. Constructivists are more likely to allow for experimentation and exploration in the classroom and place a greater emphasis on the experience of the learner. Gardner suggests a more balanced curriculum that incorporates the arts. or hemispheres. they feel that an understanding of the brain informs teaching. musical performance. visualization. PIAGET Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is renowned for constructing a highly influential model of child development and learning.

Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)–The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. such as the permanence of objects. or networked concepts for understanding and responding to physical experiences within his or her environment. Piaget outlined several principles for building cognitive structures. Instruction Teachers must emphasize the critical role that experiences–or interactions with the surrounding environment–play in student learning. instructors have to take into account the role that fundamental concepts. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical objects remain in existence even when out of sight (object permanance).Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 schemes. builds a set of concepts about reality and how it works. COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE This approach views learning as an act of membership in a “community of practice. not just with objects. it fits easily–or is assimilated– into the child’s cognitive structure so that he or she maintains mental “equilibrium. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this stage. the child’s cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual reasoning. Piaget further attested that a child’s cognitive structure increases in sophistication with development. the child loses equilibrium. arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers. The four stages are: 1. Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15)–By this point.” The theory seeks to understand both the structure of communities and how learning occurs in them. For example. through physical interaction with his or her environment. Concrete operations (ages 7-11)–As physical experience accumulates. 4. If the experience is a repeated one. the child starts to conceptualize. 3. and alters his or her cognitive structure to accommodate the new conditions. the child experiences his or her environment using whatever mental maps he or she has constructed so far. How Piaget’s Theory Impacts Learning Curriculum Educators must plan a developmentally appropriate curriculum that enhances their students’ logical and conceptual growth.” If the experience is different or new. moving from a few innate reflexes such as crying and sucking to highly complex mental activities. 2. For example. play in establishing cognitive structures. the child erects more and more adequate cognitive structures. Piaget’s theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by which children progress through them. During all development stages. Sensorimotor stage (birth – 2 years old)–The child. Basic Elements . This way.

freedom. CONTROL THEORY . People organize their learning around the social communities to which they belong. we learn. Learning is fundamentally a social phenomenon.suggests teachers understand their students’ communities of practice and acknowledge the learning students do in such communities. Glasser calls this “leaning on your shovel” work. or any other basic human need. He shows how high percentages of students recognize that the work they do–even when their teachers praise them–is such low-level work. avoid coercion completely. love. Knowledge is inseparable from practice. As we change our learning. Boss teachers use rewards and punishment to coerce students to comply with rules and complete required assignments. and ways of doing things. power. These are called communities of practice. if students are not motivated to do their schoolwork. 3. Instead. schools are only powerful learning environments for students whose social communities coincide with that school. Lead teachers. Therefore. educators should create opportunities for students to solve real problems with adults. they make the intrinsic rewards of doing the work clear to their students.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 Communities of practice is based on the following assumptions: 1. Plus. It is not possible to know without doing. By doing. Knowledge is integrated in the life of communities that share values. they only use grades as temporary indicators of what has and . beliefs.Circumstances in which we engage in real action that has consequences for both us and our community create the most powerful learning environments. 5. Instead. Real knowledge is integrated in the doing. in real learning situations. service learning. and expertise of these communities. correlating any proposed assignments to the students’ basic needs. and so on. it’s because they view schoolwork as irrelevant to their basic human needs. apprenticeships. languages. the control theory states that behavior is inspired by what a person wants most at any given time: survival. Glasser attests that all living creatures “control” their behavior to maximize their need satisfaction. social relations. school-based learning. Empowerment–or the ability to contribute to a community–creates the potential for the theory of motivation proposed by William Glasser and it contends that behavior is never caused by a response to an outside stimulus. How Communities of Practice Impacts Education . our identity–and our relationship to the group–changes.Because learning is intertwined with community membership. 2. it is what lets us belong to and adjust our status in the group. The processes of learning and membership in a community of practice are inseparable. -suggests educators structure learning opportunities that embed knowledge in both work practices and social relations–for example. 4. Plus.

Lead teachers make sure that all assignments meet some degree of their students’ need satisfaction. Teachers grade students using an absolute standard.” OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING (social learning theory) -occurs when an observer’s behavior changes after viewing the behavior of a model. power. When the model is punished. deeply motivated students who are doing quality work from having to fulfill meaningless requirements. Courses for which a student doesn’t earn a “good grade” are not recorded on that student’s transcript. in situations where there is an incentive to do so. Lead teachers will “fight to protect” highly engaged. the observer is less likely to reproduce the same behavior. rather than a relative “curve. A distinction exists between an observer’s “acquiring” a behavior and “performing” a behavior. 1. 2. the observer is more likely to reproduce the rewarded behavior. How Control Theory Impacts Learning Curriculum– Teachers must negotiate both content and method with students. There are several guiding principles behind observational learning. The observer may then later. good looks. retention. 3. intelligence. which carries the class through whatever relatively meaningless tasks might be necessary to satisfy official requirements. production and motivation. Instruction– Teachers rely on cooperative. When the model’s behavior is rewarded. Students’ basic needs literally help shape how and what they are taught. rather than a reward. the observer can acquire the behavior without performing it. Through observation. an example of vicarious punishment. . or social learning theory: The observer will imitate the model’s behavior if the model possesses characteristics– things such as talent. Assessment– Instructors only give “good grades”–those that certify quality work–to satisfy students’ need for power. The observer will react to the way the model is treated and mimic the model’s behavior. active learning techniques that enhance the power of the learners. An observer’s behavior can be affected by the positive or negative consequences–called vicarious reinforcement or vicarious punishment– of a model’s behavior. display the behavior. This secures student loyalty.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 hasn’t been learned. or popularity–that the observer finds attractive or desirable. Learning by observation involves four separate processes: attention.

5. These influences are reciprocal. and by characteristics of the observer. Educators must provide the incentive and the supportive environment for the behavior to happen. The relationship between these elements is called reciprocal determinism. and so on influence both his or her behavior and environment. In many cases the observer possesses the necessary responses. and the environment. becomes most important in this process. This process is influenced by characteristics of the model. But a person’s behavior also contributes to his environment. reproducing the model’s actions may involve skills the observer has not yet acquired. parents. and books. physical characteristics. Attention and retention account for acquisition or learning of a model’s behavior. Retention: Observers must not only recognize the observed behavior but also remember it at some later time. attitudes. the person’s behavior. Production: Observers must be physically and/intellectually capable of producing the act. however. The presence of reinforcement or punishment. since much of learning happens within important social and environmental contexts. How Observational Learning Impacts Learning: Curriculum– Students must get a chance to observe and model the behavior that leads to a positive reinforcement. This process depends on the observer’s ability to code or structure the information in an easily remembered form or to mentally or physically rehearse the model’s actions. Otherwise. But sometimes. but it is quite another to go home and repeat those acts. Environment also affects behavior: what a person observes can powerfully influence what he does. A person’s cognitive abilities. Likewise. observers will perform the act only if they have some motivation or reason to do so. personality. beliefs. Motivation: In general. Instruction– Educators must encourage collaborative learning. assessment may not be . such as the observer’s expectations or level of emotional arousal. o o o 4. either to the model or directly to the observer. such as how much one likes or identifies with the model. Human development reflects the complex interaction of the person. It is one thing to carefully watch a circus juggler. A person’s behavior can affect his feelings about himself and his attitudes and beliefs about others. Assessment– A learned behavior often cannot be performed unless there is the right environment for it. production and motivation control the performance. much of what a person knows comes from environmental resources such as television.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 o Attention: Observers cannot learn unless they pay attention to what’s happening around them.

asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual development. Cognitive development results from a dialectical process whereby a child learns through problem-solving experiences shared with someone else. First. 4. the person interacting with child assumes most of the responsibility for guiding the problem solving. Since much of what a child learns comes form the culture around her and much of the child’s problem solving is mediated through an adult’s help. Second. such as parents and more competent peers. 6. . Eventually. their knowledge. usually a parent or teacher but sometimes a sibling or peer. contribute significantly to a child’s intellectual development. a child’s learning development is affected in ways large and small by the culture–including the culture of family environment–in which he or she is enmeshed. the surrounding culture provides a child with the processes or means of their thinking. what Vygotskians call the tools of intellectual adaptation. How Lev Vygotsky Impacts Learning: Curriculum Since children learn much through interaction. culture teaches children both what to think and how to think. With this in mind. 2. Therefore. through culture children acquire much of the content of their thinking. children can use internal language to direct their own behavior. 5. that is. and every human child develops in the context of a culture. but gradually this responsibility transfers to the child. according to the social cognition learning model. What children can do on their own is their level of actual development and what they can do with help is their level of potential development. it is wrong to focus on a child in isolation. curricula should be designed to emphasize interaction between learners and learning tasks. Vygotskians call this difference the zone of proximal development. the child’s own language comes to serve as her primary tool of intellectual adaptation. 7. Internalization refers to the process of learning–and thereby internalizing–a rich body of knowledge and tools of thought that first exist outside the child. scaffolding–where the adult continually adjusts the level of his or her help in response Assessment Assessment methods must take into account the zone of proximal development.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 accurate. Culture makes two sorts of contributions to a child’s intellectual development. Initially. 9. 1. 8. Instruction With appropriate adult help. A difference exists between what child can do on her own and what the child can do with help. Such focus does not reveal the processes by which children acquire new skills. children can often perform tasks that they are incapable of completing on their own. Interactions with surrounding culture and social agents. As learning progresses. LEV VYGOTSKY AND SOCIAL COGNITION . This happens primarily through language. Humans are the only species to have created culture. In short. 3. Language is a primary form of interaction through which adults transmit to the child the rich body of knowledge that exists in the culture.

Assessment methods must target both the level of actual development and the level of potential development. natural. Two children might have the same level of actual development. one might be able to solve many more problems than the other. but also instills the skills necessary for independent problem solving in the future. when it can be modified to pinpoint specific • . an assessment method must examine his or her collective abilities.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 to the child’s level of performance–is an effective form of teaching. Basic Elements • • • • • • • • • • Authentic assessment accomplishes each of the following goals: Requires students to develop responses rather than select from predetermined options Elicits higher order thinking in addition to basic skills Directly evaluates holistic projects Synthesizes with classroom instruction Uses samples of student work (portfolios) collected over an extended time period Stems from clear criteria made known to students Allows for the possibility of multiple human judgments Relates more closely to classroom learning Teaches students to evaluate their own work “Fairness” does not exist when assessment is uniform. impersonal. when it’s personalized. Authentic assessment presents students with real-world challenges that require them to apply their relevant skills and knowledge. Scaffolding not only produces immediate results. To accurately evaluate what a person has learned.This is what is meant by authentic assessment. and absolute. and flexible. it exists when assessment is appropriate–in other words. ASSESSMENT THEORIES Authentic Assessment Simply testing an isolated skill or a retained fact does not effectively measure a student’s capabilities. Rather. standardized. but given the appropriate help from an adult.

Analyze the data and share the results with students 5. ensuring curricular validity. skills. also known as Classroom Research or Action Research. The three basic questions CATs ask are: 1. How can I help students learn better? The classroom assessment process assumes that students need to receive feedback early and often. As authors Patricia Cross and Thomas Angelo state in their book Classroom Assessment Techniques. that they need to evaluate the quality of their own learning. How can I find out whether students are learning them? 3. The basic steps in the classroom assessment process are: 1. Basic Elements Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs). There are several challenges to using authentic assessment methods.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 abilities and function at the relevant level of difficulty. but does not compare or rank students. and when it promotes a rapport between examiner and student. What are the essential skills and knowledge I am trying to teach? 2. Authentic assessment is often based on performance: Students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge. Apply the technique 4. Instead. it’s used to facilitate dialogue between students and teacher on the quality of the learning process. and how to improve it.” CATs provide both teachers and students with “in process” information on how well students are learning what the curriculum intends. Such evaluation identifies strengths and weaknesses. Information gathered isn’t used for grading or teacher evaluation. are a series of tools and practices designed to give teachers accurate information about the quality of student learning. • Authentic assessment is designed to be criterion-referenced rather than normreferenced. and that they can help the teacher improve the strength of instruction. Respond to the data . and minimizing evaluator bias. • • Classroom Assessment Classroom Assessment Techniques consist of a variety of feedback and discussion methods that gauge the quality of the learning process. “Teaching without learning is just talking. or competencies in whatever way they find appropriate. Choose an assessment technique 3. They include managing its time-intensive nature. Choose a learning goal to assess 2.

and what happens to the portfolio after graduation. Some schools create portfolios that serve as a representative sample of a student’s work. The disadvantage of portfolios is that they’re not as quick and easy to evaluate. Other schools want to use portfolios as an assessment tool to provide an alternative to standardized or teacher testing. from math equations to essays on literature. a portfolio–that can be used to appraise student performance over time. as with a grade or score.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 CATs provide teachers with a “menu” of evaluation tools that: 1. Portfolio assessment ranges from portfolios that demonstrates the student’s best work to an “expanded student record” that holds a full representation of the student’s work. In some schools there has been much discussion on who “owns” the portfolio. Such records usually hold far more information than employers need. Because portfolios are qualitative.” in other words. where the portfolio is stored. There has been some confusion in the field as to who the portfolio is being kept for. Target and build specific skills Portfolio Assessment Portfolio assessment provides a body of student work–essentially. Often. Identify areas of confusion 3. Enable students to self-assess their learning level 4. the student or the school? Ownership implies who gets to decide what goes into the portfolio. in some cases. how much curriculum is geared towards achieving high test scores rather than learning for learning’s sake. plus they’re hard to rank. Determine students’ learning styles 5. employers would rather see a quantitative demonstration of a student’s best skills and work. projects. many employers find them difficult to use as a determinant of a candidate’s skills. showing the range of performance and experience. student portfolios serve as a replacement for the high school diploma or transcript. Instruction–Portfolio assessment appears to compliment a teacher’s use of instructional strategies centered around teamwork. • . Let’s look at the implications portfolios have on the following elements of education: • Curriculum–Some people believe that using portfolios will enable teachers to broaden their curriculum to include areas they traditionally could not assess with standardized testing. For example. How well this works depends on how much a curriculum is developed “to the test. and applied learning. Check for student background knowledge 2. Portfolios are also compatible with more individualized instruction. as well as strategies focused on different learning styles.

which are defined by each school 2. External assessors– employers. New York. Basic Elements One of the leading examples of an outcome-based learning program is the Outcome-Driven Developmental Model (ODDM) of the school system in Johnson City. Clarity of focus around significant. Teachers can also utilize them to judge student performance. Consistent. all school programs and instructional efforts are designed to have produced specific. Expansion of available time and resources so that all students successfully reach the exit outcomes 3. curriculum design includes these steps: Discern future conditions Derive exit outcomes Develop performance indicators Design learning experiences Determine instructional strategies Deliver instruction Document results Determine advancement . evaluation panels.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 • Assessment–A portfolio can be used as an assessment tool. Plus. and so on–can benefit from them. culminating exit outcomes. lasting results in students by the time they leave school. Explicit relationships between any learning experience and the ultimate outcomes to which that experience is essential Under OBE. high expectations of 100% success 4. students can use their own portfolios for self-assessment and reflection. CURRICULUM THEORIES Outcome-based Learning In outcome-based learning. The principles followed by outcome-based learning practitioners include: 1.

critical thinking. . and abilities. a core curriculum doesn’t preclude the use of authentic assessment and portfolios. All students learn a common set of knowledge. Though academic content remains the primary focus of the core curriculum. However. Basic Elements Because knowledge doesn’t exist separately from the people who construct it. In fact. Rather than focusing on discovery. Instead. knowledge. which is defined and designed outside the classroom. whole language practitioners don’t see curriculum as a prescribed course of study or a particular set of instructional materials. science. Whole language doesn’t just include the specific content being thought about. Although the core curriculum method does not preclude using critical thinking. as well as what he or she expects from a language learning situation. a predetermined body of skills. more general program–is based on recent research of how children acquire oral and written language skills. there is a growing conflict about what topics a core curriculum should contain. and government. it prompts teaching toward the “correct” answer. Presumably. and community service. while others would include general learner outcomes such as problem solving.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 Core Curriculum In a core curriculum. some core teaching is moving toward application and problem solving. The core curriculum method easily lends itself to traditional testing based on information recall. teaching revolves around imparting a predetermined body of knowledge. Whole Language This philosophy about curriculum–in both language arts and a broader. Instruction– Instruction is based on a defined core content. problem solving. Let’s examine how a core curriculum affects the following elements of education: Curriculum– The curriculum is built on a mandated core. skills. there often isn’t much consensus on who is the community and who speaks for the community. Unfortunately. they see it as the cognitive experience each learner has. math. Some advocates would limit the core to basic academic subjects like English. Assessment– The core content literally shapes the assessment process. The core curriculum movement assumes there is a uniform body of knowledge that all students should know. and abilities is taught to all students. this curriculum will produce educated and responsible graduates for the community. teamwork. it also includes how a student “demonstrates” a particular task. as well as the use of conventional letter grades. and team learning.

and show interest in communication exchanges–both learner-learner and learner-teacher. there is always the risk of trying new strategies. Practitioners encourage this spirit by reading meaning into children’s speech or writing attempts. Today’s emphasis on character education is propelled by the decline in family influence. We learn language cumulatively by using it. caring. whole language practitioners support their students’ efforts–even those that aren’t entirely accurate–rather than directing their thinking and language use. Character education teaches students to understand. A whole language curriculum immerses students in situations requiring open-ended. and community participation. written. and communication strategies. commit to. Character Education This curriculum method revolves around developing “good character” in students by practicing and teaching moral values and decision making. whether oral or written. Each language encounter.” Typical core values include respect. whether it be oral. and error is inherent in the process. Whole language practitioners work to provoke.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 The fundamental concern of someone who uses language is making sense. and the emerging consensus of shared ethical values.” they also have the responsibility to help them cultivate basic moral values to guide their behavior throughout life. Consequently. making sense of how students engage in language learning and offering experiences that support their experiments. it requires negotiating meaning and taking in feedback from partners. complex language use. desire the good. and act on shared ethical values–in other words. trustworthiness. elicit. responsibility. fairness. reading and writing are crucial to forming an understanding of the world. To a learner. builds more knowledge about the world. The teacher’s role in such a curriculum is one of “interpretive” teaching. A whole language curriculum treats the learner as a legitimate conversation partner and someone who seeks meaning. Schools committed to character education tend to: Emphasize the importance of adults modeling values in the classroom as well as in their everyday interactions . the function of symbols. “know the good. and by “hearing and seeing through” errors and spelling inventions. and do the good. Basic Elements Character education assumes that schools don’t just have the responsibility to help students get “smart. With the support of their teachers. the children’s spoken and written experiments help them locate and learn the conventional language usage. or “kidwatching”–in other words. Language learning is a social activity. downward trends in youth character. or mental. Therefore. each language transaction helps us perform the next one. rather than correcting and prescribing exactness. With language learning.

Helping students understand the experience of ethnic and cultural groups in history 3. Please visit these Funderstanding posts for more specifics about multiculturalism. in its Curriculum Guidelines for Multicultural Education.” Critics also allege that multiculturalism hinders the assimilation of various cultures into America’s greatest hallmark: the melting pot. and discussion Encourage values in action through community service and other community involvement strategies Support teacher development and dialogue among educators on the moral dimension of their job The influence of character education is evident in the outcomes of many school districts emphasizing qualities such as “participant in a democratic society.” “contributor to the community. and racial identities.” Multiculturalism Multiculturalism is based on the belief that varying cultural dynamics are the fourth force– along with the psychodynamic. Basic Elements The National Council for Social Studies. Helping students develop decision-making. Helping students understand that conflict between ideals and reality exist in every human society 4.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 Help students clarify their values and build personal bonds and responsibilities to one another Use the traditional curriculum as a vehicle for teaching values and examining moral questions Encourage moral reflection through debate. along with communication and thinking skills. . who contend that it aims to replace “Eurocentrism” with “othercentrisms. as well as cultural. social participation. linguistic. Providing students with a sharp sense of self 2. This controversial approach has stirred passionate critics. and humanistic forces–explaining human behavior. it must be taught. gender. journals.” and “ethical global citizen. socio-economic status. as prerequisites to learning. Since the ability to recognize our own and others’ cultural lenses is essential to all learning. Achieving full literacy in at least two languages “Multicultural” is broadly understood to include experiences shaping perceptions common to age. and citizenship skills 5. and exceptionality of any kind. lists the key functions of multicultural education as: 1. religion. behavioral.

And others want high schools to reorganize themselves. The drawback of this is that although tech prep prepares students for the job market. problem solve. The tech prep curriculum was designed as the instructional strategy for preparing such students to work in a labor market that requires more technical skills. which demands workers who can think. it may not prepare them for the lack of traditional assessment in the workplace–in other words. universities. However. and apply knowledge. and communication for both application and contextual purposes.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 • • Multiculturalism at School. Multicultural Education: A Teacher’s Perspective. there is still a heavy reliance on traditional tests and grades. and technologies that is integrated. science. or graduate schools. the focus is on teaching math. Most of the occupational skills are taught in the laboratory setting. and sequenced. employers don’t rate employee performances with letter grades and test scores. science communications. This curriculum includes a common core of required mathematics. Assessment:– In the occupational labs. we see a greater use of assessing work samples and projects than in traditional classes. but do not attend four-year colleges. eliminating duplication and ensuring skills are acquired in the best possible sequence. Instruction– Tech prep instruction is still classroom-oriented. There is a strong consensus that American schools have generally ignored the average student: the middle 50% of teenagers who complete high school. work in teams. These students are no longer prepared to enter today’s changed workforce. Tech Prep Tech prep is most traditionally and frequently defined as a four-year program (during grades 11-14) that leads to an associate degree or two-year certificate in a specific career field. Predominantly. Some critics question whether a tech prep curriculum significantly differs from vocational education. Critics of tech prep programs maintain that neither the curriculum in the high school nor the community college has changed to reflect the issues and problems of today’s workplace. There is a strong push to try integrating what happens in the academic classroom with activities in the occupational labs. applied. Let’s examine how a tech prep curriculum affects the following elements of education: Curriculum– High schools and community colleges coordinate the tech prep curriculum together. . offering students only a college prep or a tech prep course of study.

With that in mind. calculating.” . and (3) self-development.Sharon Sager 2BSENGLISH/ PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING/11/16/2010 PAIDEIA This “essentialist” curriculum created in 1982 by Mortimer Adler and The Paideia Group proposes a single. history. 12-year course in general. Discussion of books (not problem solving. listening. exercises. natural science. required. The Paideia Group believes that only the teachers and principals who can change education should design a specific curriculum blueprint. fine arts. social studies Development of intellectual skills (learning skills) Enlarged understanding of ideas and values Coaching. literature. here is the plan’s proposed framework: Acquisition of GOAL organized S knowledge MEA NS Didactic instruction Language. Instead. humanistic learning as a foundation for the future learning of all students. Basic Elements The Paideia plan is built on the understanding that education serves to prepare individuals for (1) earning a living. (2) citizenship. the Paideia plan provides a framework and process for “crafting the critical details of the program in ways appropriate to their own communities. critical judgment texts) and art performances Theodore Sizer of the Paideia Group insists that Paideia is not a detailed curriculum for deliberate reasons. math. supervised practice Socratic questioning and active participation AREA S Speaking. geography.

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