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. Because of the diversity of people in the world, teachers must accommodate to the uniqueness of each individual. I find that students can learn in so many different ways. Due to this belief, I think that using multiple teaching theories within your own theory allows you to connect with a wider range of students. The two theories that most exemplify what I would like my theory of learning to be based upon are Piaget’s theory of individual constructivism along with Bandura’s social cognitive theory. By combining these two theories, a new way of learning is discovered that becomes most beneficial to the students I will be teaching. The first theory I would like to dig into is the theory of Piaget. Individual constructivism has three key assumptions. These assumptions are as follows: knowledge is constructed from experience, learning results from a personal interpretation of knowledge, and learning is an active process in which meaning is developed on a basis of experience. Piaget believed children grasp more as they continue to grow and mature. He developed four stages of cognitive development. These stages include: sensory-motor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage. By creating these particular stages, people are able to identify the learning capabilities of children more easily. Piaget explained that his theory shows how children already have knowledge when growing up but the environment must bring about this knowledge by using meaningful, real life methods of teaching. He believed the activities the children are partaking in, need to be more realistic and lifelike. Thus, the children would be more susceptible to use them in the real world. Another two important key points of Piaget’s theory are assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation involves taking new information and linking it with information you already know. Accommodation involves adapting to new information and possibly making changes to old information. All the factors that make up Piaget’s theory are crucial in the growth of students. I believe that involving these components in my role as a teacher will help my students tremendously has they progress through life. I want to instill in my students that they are capable of accomplishing the goals in their life by taking in the world around them. The second theory I would like to incorporate in my view of how students learn is the social cognitive theory developed by Bandura. The social cognitive theory describes learning in terms of the correlation between behavioral, environmental, and personal factors. All of these factors effect each other in some way which dictates how students learn. The social cognitive theory primarily focuses on learning formed through relationships and experiences with others. Key concepts of this theory include: self efficacy, learning through models, vicarious learning, and self regulation. Self efficacy is the perception one can be successful at a specific task. Having this belief, boosts students confidence and gives students more motivation to succeed. Vicarious learning involves learning through somebody else. There are several types of models students can learn from. Four of the main models are as follows: power (fathers, coachers), prestige(celebrities), competence (teachers, neighbors), and similar (mom, sister). Bandura believed that students learn through the examples portrayed by all these types of people. Self-regulated learning involves setting goals for yourself along with giving yourself feedback and knowing what's effective for you to learn. I agree with Bandura’s model because I believe we need to be in check with ourselves to learn to the best of our ability and that interactions with others can be a crucial part to learning.
To incorporate the theory of Piaget into my teaching, there are several different instructions that I would provide for my class. First, I would focus on the stages developed by Piaget. For the pre-operational stage, I would bring in real life aspects such as insects, food, plants and so fourth for students to interact with. Concepts of perception, ordering and justification would be key components in my classroom. I want my students to be able to explain their understandings and beliefs. For the concrete operational stage, I would encourage students to work with others to exchange ideas they might have in regards to the material we are covering in class. Along with working with others, I would have them write personal responses to questions I may ask them in order to construct meaning that is unique to them. Lastly, for the formal operational stage, I would have students explain how they arrived at an answer and I would also have them create hypotheses for specific problems. All of these small tasks I have listed are encouraging the student to think on their own and come up with their personal beliefs on questions and topics. This is a main focus of mine, because Piaget states that the learners must construct their own organization of knowledge. As a teacher, I am trying to bring about knowledge they already have. I mentioned early, that through Piaget’s theory, children are able to grasp more as they mature. Due to this, the tasks I have the students doing in each stage, progressively get more complex because the students are able to obtain more information as they mature. In order to create assimilation and accommodation, I would challenge students with new concepts and ideas to which they would need to fit into their already existing knowledge. Lastly, I would have the students keep a journal in order to monitor their progress, jot down any difficulties they have on a regular basis, and to analyze their study habits. The social cognitive theory involves some instruction that relates to Piaget’s theory as well. Individual constructivism focuses on the students personal achievements and learnings. Through social cognitive theory, part of the main focus is learning by observing yourself. To obtain self-regulation in my classroom, I would have students write feedback for themselves stating how they thought things were going in the class and what they may need to work on in the future. By figuring out these small characteristics of themselves, they will be able to become more confident in their learning, which leads me to self-efficacy. To promote selfefficacy, as a teacher, I would create short term goals for a student, that the student and I came up with together. By setting goals, students will have something to work towards and accomplish. Bandura’s belief in the success of models, gave me the idea to bring in special speakers, or possibly watch a video on a role model of some sort. Students learn through these models in a positive way. I, personally could show examples of what is acceptable and not acceptable in class or at home to demonstrate to them the possible outcomes that could occur from those particular positive and negative behaviors. Lastly, I would form groups for discussions and projects, so students could learn from their peers. Collaborative work allows for students to grow independently but also allows for them to form positive and beneficial relationships with peers in their class. Learning to work with others is crucial to a student's success as they grow and mature. By combining the individual constructivism theory and the social cognitive theory, students are learning in more than one way. I think that by creating different options for students to learn, will benefit a more diverse group of learners. Piaget theory allows students to work more independently and challenges students to think beyond their comfortable level of knowledge. Students have the opportunity to connect what they learn in class to real life
events and settings to create a more meaningful experience. Along with this, Bandura’s theory allows students to reflect on how they learn and how they can become more successful. Bandura’s theory enhances self confidence. I believe that as a teacher, I need to give students the chance to learn from everyone around them, the good and the bad. Generally, my theory includes individualism and socialism. I find it important to help students be independent but still have social interactions with others. The mixture of the two creates the option for many students to learn in different ways creating endless opportunities. I want to make sure my students know I believe in their ability to succeed and that I am here every step of the way to get them to where they need and want to be.
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