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Theories that underpin Teaching and Learning Cert. Ed. Education and Training.

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1 Theories that underpin Teaching and Learning Cert. Ed. Education and Training

2 Why Study Theories of Learning? How can Theory support Practice in Teaching?

3 In Defence of Theory – Williams 2003 In a guardian article Williams justified “Theory” for teachers You can “train” a teacher to “act” like a teacher without theory (Faking it - Remember TV show?) You need to “educate” a teacher to understand theory to be a “real” teacher Key to professional decision making (article on moodle) To what extent do you agree?

4 Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training – England 8. Maintain and update your knowledge of educational research to develop evidence-based practice 9 Apply theoretical understanding of effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment drawing on research and other evidence Does these aspects feature in your workplaces?

5 This Sessions Outcomes Analyse definitions of learning Contrast two competing metaphors for approaches to Teaching and Learning Identify how theory can support T+L Critically evaluate learning styles theories

6 Just Suppose that teaching and learning became the first priority…. Frank Coffield’s impassioned plea to the post 16 sector (2008) Coffield is a retired educator who after 30 years researching and writing on post 16 education was challenged (by a taxi driver) to outline what he had learnt. Lets take a look at some of his findings….. (full report on moodle)

7 Coffield on Theory in Educational Policy In all the plans to put learners first, to invest in learning, to widen participation, to set targets, to develop skills, to open up access, to raise standards, and to develop a national framework of qualifications, there is no mention of a theory (or theories) of learning to drive the whole project. It is as though there existed in the UK such widespread understanding of, and agreement about, the processes of learning and teaching that comment was thought superfluous. Coffield F (1998). ‘A fresh approach to learning for the learning age: the contribution of research’, Higher Education Digest, 31, summer, pp4–6. Cited in Just Suppose….. This was 1998, has the sector responded?

8 Coffield’s definition of learning Learning refers only to significant changes in capability, understanding, knowledge, practices, attitudes or values by individuals, groups, organisations or society. Coffield F (2000) (ed). Differing visions of a learning society. Research findings, Vol 1, Bristol: Policy Press. Cited in Just Suppose…..

9 Defining Teaching Question: How do you define Teaching? “Hands up, I will pick someone to answer” Is what I have just done “Teaching”? Can teachers be replaced?

10 Coffield on Teaching For me, teaching and learning are not two distinct activities, but intertwined elements of a single, reciprocal process, or, if you like, the two sides of one coin; perhaps they could be described as a double-sided, interactive process which transforms both tutor and learner…….I shall refer to teaching and learning or T + L for short as one concept one singular noun. Coffield (2008) Just suppose…p8

11 Definitions What is a theory? A theory provides a general explanation for observations made over time. A theory explains and predicts behaviour. A theory can never be established beyond all doubt, it is always tentative. A theory may be modified. Sometimes a theory may be widely accepted for a long time and later disproved. What is a model? A model gives a mental picture that helps us understand something we cannot see or experience directly. (Dorin, Demmin & Gabel, 1990) f%20Constructivism

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13 Theories and Models Theories tend to look at how learning happens – they are ideas that look to explain Models tend to focus on applying theory to learning situations What theories and models of T+L do you already know?

14 Learning Styles Video: Here is one Model of Learning…. Are you convinced? How was the theory presented?

15 Learning Styles Theory Coffield (again!) identifies 71 models of learning styles based on a diverse range of theory. Coffield (2004) Should we be using learning Styles We will look at 3 well known ones Left Brain – Right Brain Model VAK (Visual, auditory, kinaesthetic- this is a distillation of Gardner’s Multiple intelligence model) Honey and Mumford’s model (reflector, theorist, activist, pragmatist- derived from Kolb’s model)

16 Left Brain/ Right Brain Which side is dominant in you?

17 VAK V isual Auditory K inaesthetic NB Also Commonly VARK to include ‘Read/ write’ Dunn & Dunn have added (VAK)T = Tactile

18 Honey and Mumford’s Model Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, based upon the work of Kolb, identified four distinct learning styles or preferences: Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist and Reflector.

19 Others…… There are plenty of other categorisations. E.g. du.au/learning_styles_ evaluation.html

20 Critiques There have been many but two key research reports looked for the evidence UK: Coffield (2004) Learning Styles and Pedagogy in post 16 learning: A systematic and critical review US: Pashler (2009) Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence Both on moodle

21 So … “learning styles …are seen by govt. ministers as a key component of personalised learning. [But] personalised learning cannot be based on learning style instruments which have been proved to be unreliable, invalid and of negligible impact on practice.” (Frank Coffield, Research Matters, 2005)

22 In Defence of Learning Styles Theory ….at this point in time, we do not have any reliable, valid research that would predict that knowing one’s learning style is beneficial for learning. That statement does not mean that learning styles are not beneficial and there may be good reasons why that evidence is missing. The Case Against Learning Styles: “There is no evidence…” Neil D Fleming, Designer of the VARK questionnaire for learners’ preferences. April 2012 on moodle

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24 Learning Styles: Implications for Teaching – In Support - Critique Watch the videos – What is your view. Do Learning Styles Exist? Be ready to justify your view.

25 Plenary What are the implications of Learning Styles theories for Teaching Practice? What do teachers need to be wary of?

26 In class activities

27 Coffield on Theory in Educational Policy In all the plans to put learners first, to invest in learning, to widen participation, to set targets, to develop skills, to open up access, to raise standards, and to develop a national framework of qualifications, there is no mention of a theory (or theories) of learning to drive the whole project. It is as though there existed in the UK such widespread understanding of, and agreement about, the processes of learning and teaching that comment was thought superfluous. Coffield F (1998). ‘A fresh approach to learning for the learning age: the contribution of research’, Higher Education Digest, 31, summer, pp4–6. Cited in Just Suppose….. This was 1998, has the sector responded?

28 Coffield on learning Coffield worried about this ambiguity about learning theory and looked to define learning. Task in groups.. Recall the discussions you had during and after your very first lecture of TLA “What is Learning?” Agree a definition of learning

29 Compare your definition to Coffield’s Learning refers only to significant changes in capability, understanding, knowledge, practices, attitudes or values by individuals, groups, organisations or society. Coffield F (2000) (ed). Differing visions of a learning society. Research findings, Vol 1, Bristol: Policy Press. Cited in Just Suppose…..

30 Top one here Task 1: In small groups Prioritise the skills that you think are important for a teacher. You will need to discard four cards.

31 Feedback…. 1.What was top? 2.What did you discard? 3.Where did you put theories? Top one here

32 Module Handbook Review… Module Outcomes Schedule of Sessions Assessment Brief Any questions?

33 Two approaches to T+L In Pairs Read through the descriptions of the acquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor Contrast the two metaphors by Completing the table.

34 Safard (1998) Cited in Coffield (2008) Just Suppose… The various theories and ideas about T+L that this module explores may be viewed through the lens of these two competing metaphors.

35 Try Some learning style audits….. Put it to the test


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