Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change Essay

Standard

Learning and Methods for Growth in Education

As an educator, the question is often asked “What is Learning?” and how can its understanding bring insight into the classroom to better suit students and their acquisition of knowledge.  Although all people learn differently within their learning styles and processes, the definition of learning seems very simple, but broad simultaneously.  The importance of this and many questions is especially great when introducing new concepts in a classroom setting to a variety of learners, in various conditions, with the expectation of mastery and educational growth.  Understanding learning, learning methods for conceptual change, and the significance of foundational teaching ideas contribute to a multitude of educator and student accomplishment.

First of all, answering the simplistic question of “What is learning?” is very difficult given the factors and variables that can enhance or deter learning according to the different styles.  Learning, most simply put is the acquiring of knowledge through personal experiences and exposure, studying of subject matter for gain, or the act of being taught by another individual through his or her experiences or studies while also being able to use learned knowledge away from its original context for complete benefit and understanding (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 53).  Learning can take place in many different environments and situations while using several methods for resource.  Gaining knowledge in itself has a wide realm of possibilities.

Many teaching methods support learning and contribute to understanding, student growth and achievement, and transferring learned knowledge to life outside of the classroom where that knowledge was learned.  Teaching different subject matters involves different means of delivery, alternative means of practice, and a variety of different assessment procedures to check for understanding.  For example, the greatest multitude of learning will not take place unless the teacher first builds on existing knowledge.  The educator cannot introduce new material to a classroom of students without first recognizing the background knowledge of his or her students.  Once the background knowledge has been determined, the difficulty of learning can increase due to the fact that prior knowledge and beliefs may close the mind or direct the students’ focus to a different aspect that is unknown rather than the desired outcome of the teacher (Bransford et al., 2000, p. 69-74).

Finally, it is important to consider the aforementioned foundational ideas in a program of study that focuses on educational technologies.  This is true because educator beliefs regarding learning and conceptual change need to be made concrete before the educator can build on that existing principle, develop his or her reasoning and thinking regarding those foundational ideas, and develop relevant and reasonable integration of technology to their own classroom.  Once the educator’s understanding is clear and concise, their ability to create meaningful classroom activities, enhanced lessons, assessments, projects, etc. will more so benefit their students exponentially rather than exposing them to ineffective practices that do not magnify their achievement and growth over time.

References

Bransford, J. (2000). Learning:  From Speculation to Science, How Experts Differ From Novices, Learning and Transfer How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Expanded ed., pp. 1-28, 29-50, 51-78), Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

One response »

  1. Learning requires the background knowledge of our students to not only be recognized by us, the teachers, but to be understood by us as well. We must be experts in all learning styles and must use pedagogical thinking when teaching our students in these styles. This all must take place in order to have meaningful instruction inside and outside the classroom. After two weeks of being in the classroom, my students have been pre-tested up and down (district required) in all subjects, and while I hate to test them to death, understanding their background knowledge allows me to prepare for each student on an individualized level. Changing and challenging these preconceptions and misconceptions is the next part of my job, which is hard. I have also completed learning surveys in order to see how my students learn the best. We are flip teaching the math lessons this year, but bringing in the hands-on learning and project-based learning into the classroom where students can receive the help and feedback needed. I love the last section of your essay in which you state “…educator beliefs regarding learning and conceptual change need to be made concrete before the educator can build on that existing principle, develop his or her reasoning and thinking regarding those foundational ideas, and develop relevant and reasonable integration of technology to their own classroom”. I am here to make my learning concrete so that I can develop my technology use within my classroom with my own students.

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