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Introduction to Learning Theories Daniel Law Music Dept. CUHK.

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1 Introduction to Learning Theories Daniel Law Music Dept. CUHK

2 How do students learn? Q: How do people learn? A: Nobody really knows.

3 How do students learn? Q: Why, then, should we consider learning theories? A: 1. Students of different age, background might response to certain learning patterns 2. Some learning theories may facilitate the learning of certain subject matters. 3. Teachers are all utilizing some teaching methods even if they don’t know themselves. It is good that they are aware of what they have been doing and even try different approaches if learning does not take place in students.

4 How do students learn? Q: Why, then, should we consider learning theories? A: 4. Different education philosophies works well with some theories. Facilities in understanding learning theories will help educators to face different education systems.

5 How they will learn? Charissa, Born in Stanford University Hospital, Jan 9, 2015. Neyla, Born in Singapore National University Hospital, Dec 28, 2014.

6 亞洲人才養成

7 How do students learn? A Watershed Year 1960 There were learning theories during the time of Plato. But before 1960, most teachers are concerned with what they teach and how to teach but not how student learn. Modern systematic consolidation of theories happened at the Woods Hole Conference on Cap Cod called by the National Academy of Science, USA, where scientists, psychologist, educators and the brightest minds of America met to discuss “The Process of Education” and put in print by the Harvard University Press.

8 What did the Woods Hole Conference find? in Jerome S. Bruner The Process of Education New York, Vintage Books, 1963

9 Background and faults in American Education Involved with the precise detail of learning in highly simplified short-term situation. Educational psychologists turned their attention to aptitude, achievement, social and motivational aspect of education. Did not concern themselves directly with intellectual structures of class activities. Neglect of curriculum problems. Somehow a description of Hong Kong Education

10 New Focus Students should be trained to grasp the underlying structure of significance of complex knowledge. Leads student to “learn how to learn.” Helps students to achieve the optimum intellectual development.

11 The four themes & proposals that changed American education

12 The four themes and proposals 1. The role of structure in learning and how it may be made central in teaching (gestalt). 2. Readiness for learning: the foundations of any subject may be taught to anybody at any age in some form. The deepening of one’s understanding comes from learning to use them in progressively more complex forms. “Spiral” curriculum turns back to the subject at higher levels. 3. The nature of intuition, the arrival of plausible but tentative formulations without going through the analytic steps. The boy learning physics is a physicist, and it is easier for him to learn physics behaving like a physicist than doing something else. 4. Intrinsic reward of learning creates interest rather than extrinsic such as grades or later competitive advantage.

13 Structure Any act of learning  should serve in the future. i. Specific transfer, ii. Transfer of principles and attitude Continual broadening and deepening of knowledge in terms of basic and general ideas. It depends on the mastery of the structure of the subject matter. Problems: 1. How to have the basic materials rewritten and underlying pervading and powerful principles are given central role. 2. how to match the levels of these materials to the capacities of students of different abilities at different grades in schools

14 Structure 1. h 2. speed 4a. Mass = Weight of the boy + Bicycle 4b. Lift = minus h, minus mass How to write an experiment for p4, f.1, f4 students, Which is simultaneously excited, correct, and rewardingly comprehensible. Perhaps 5. The Pressure of the tire 3. radius

15 Structure How to write an experiment for p4, f.1, f4 students, Which is simultaneously excited, correct, and rewardingly comprehensible.

16 Structure A. Understanding fundamentals makes a subject more comprehensible. Example: Western literature Romance Ideal experience Wish fulfillment Anti-romance Unideal experience comedytragedy Journey - builds around the hero’s journey Quest - depart from homeland undertakes the ordeal to test himself, overcomes Death-rebirth - endues death-like experience and returns with victory Initiation - passes through ordeals with ignorance and immaturity to social and spiritual adulthood. Separation, transformation through ordeals, and return Scapegoat - character must die to atone for the people.

17 Structure B. Detailed materials is conserved in memory by the use of simplified ways of representing it. Example: wavelength, frequency and length of string/pipe Since frequency is inversely proportional to wavelength; and Length of sounding body is proportional to wavelength, Therefore frequency is inversely proportional to sounding length. f α 1 λ l α λ f α 1 l

18 Structure C. An understanding of fundamental principles and ideas appears to be the main road to adequate “transfer of training.” Example: Understand rule by law and rule of law Rule of law = everybody must obey the law, the Government must obey the law If there is no law against parking in a certain road, you can park. Rule by law = using the law to rule If the laws says you can park, you can; otherwise you cannot.

19 Structure D.The gap between “advanced” and “elementary” could be narrower if properly taught. Example: melodic intervals and harmonic intervals Major melody 5-3-1 is Exactly the same harmonic major triad. The easier the generalization, the easier the concepts. All major triad with the fifth on top sounds the same in all keys and all pitch- class.

20 Readiness 1. Process of intellectual development of children 2. The act of learning 3. The spiral curriculum

21 Readiness 1. Process of intellectual development of children Piaget 1.a preschool to 5-6 th grade---relationship between experience and action (angle of incidence = angle of reflection in a ball hitting the wall) 1b. Concrete operation—solution and problem solving (the two angles are related in Ping-Pong, light, sound. Internalize and reversible. (symbol to sound = sight singing, sound to symbol = dictation). Intuition helps them to some rules and physical properties. 1c. Formal operation—hypothetical proposition, variation, transposition 5-3-1, 3-1-5, 1-5-3. There is no point to delay the teaching of the concept, but to calculate the use of language, symbols, theorems. E.g. Montessori cubing (3)

22 Readiness 2. The Act of Learning Stage I acquisition of new information—must be correct (never say energy is lost Against Newton’s laws of motion) Stage II Transformation—fit it into new task (The dog bit the man, The man was bitten by the dog; The subject-verb-article- object; the object-passive verb-article-subject.) Stage III evaluation—checking if learning takes place Intrinsic award interest and curiosity and the lure of discovery (Why not teach all 7 triads and give them a hint of Rameau’s formula I, III, VI, [IV], II, V, I) I can go between any. e.g. “Bless This House”

23 Readiness “Bless This House” I iii vi IV I ii V I vi ii 6 V I

24 Readiness I III VI ii V I V I I? III VI II V I

25 Readiness The Spiral Curriculum a.To tempt him to advance same as an educated man b.Everything taught at an honest form must be built with principles and values Example retelling the same myth through presentation of selected films c.Revisit with combination of other elements See chart of curriculum design

26 Readiness (Spiral Curriculum) chart of curriculum design

27 Intuitive and Analytic Thinking Inarticulate genius verses articulate idiocy Discovery learning (Viennese waltz is basically hyper ONE beat per measure in 4; the three sub-beats are not equal in length) Good intuition reflect solid knowledge in the level of the child. The nature of intuition (it is not a step at a time analysis ) (Board meeting decision-making and deliberation model) Careful supervision of proof by teacher comes much later

28 Interest Motives for learning 1. Long term objectives and short term strategy. 2. Excellence is always worth the efforts (work ethics) 3. Mix motives can be deceiving. 4. Prevent any spectatorship.

29 The End “The Process of Education ” Think about your educational philosophy


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