EDUCATION IN PRACTICE 1A
In this essay I’ll talk about the impact of my previous personal learning experiences on my professional identity and educational values.
The main activity of students of any age or educational level is to learn, but the problem is teachers don’t care so much about transmitting knowledge or teaching, just that they learn.
The question I ask to myself is if teachers know the learning strategies and know what to do for students can take advantage of knowledge in the future.
It is also true that there are time resources are devoted to implementing teacher-directed teaching methodologies. However, there is little concern about providing students with the resources to learn.
Education is so important to transfer/for transferring ideas and try to promote learning to gain/develop knowledge, skills, attitudes or values.
According Núñez and González- Pumariega, 1996, to learn, it is necessary for the student to be cognitively able to cope with the learning tasks and to be motivationally oriented towards learning, or at least towards the effective resolution of those tasks.
Las personas desde que nacen van aprendiendo en múltiples contextos y diversas situaciones, por lo que se describen los diferentes tipos de contextos de aprendizaje, formal, no formal e informal
People since they were born are learning in different contexts such as school, family and society… Children learn very quickly and absorb knowledge as if they were sponges. They start learning from their family, by imitation of what they see in their environment… When children start the school, a very important scholar stage, learn to relate to each other, to talk about their feelings and to create their own personality and that is when learning the social context begins.
“…school practices and classroom actions are influenced by the social circumstances within which they occur. However, it has also been argued that individuals can, and will, have effects on future social changes as they exercise their agency”
(Pollard 2014: 143)
If students have confidence in themselves, they feel self-competent, they are motivated… the level of involvement in the learning process increases. The goal/object of both teachers and students is to achieve an optimal and meaningful learning.
Over the years, education has been changing. Long ago it used to work individually, it has now been shown that teamwork increases learning. The curriculum has also changed because before the girls needed a different one, now a days a common curriculum is used to all adapting to specific needs and preferences, it is indispensable the attention to diversity and support the inclusion. Finally, I want to say that now everybody can pursue to higher studies.
Society, education, ways of teaching, ways of learning change, and teachers need to be aware of these changes. According Pollard, Anderson, Maddock, Swaffield, Warin and Warrick, 2008, p.117, “…teachers must continually adapt: they must know themselves and the situations in which they work, and they must be able to make astute strategic judgments as they seek to achieve personal and professional fulfilment and to resolve the dilemmas posed by idealism and pragmatism”.
To achieve an optimal and meaningful learning it’s necessary teachers have knowledge and understanding about the different learning theories and its importance as well as the cognitive, social and emotional stages of the students to know the needs.
*** Learning is essential in our lives. It is important to make theories about it to achieve achievements and to know its bases to solve problems and to get a better adaptation to the environment that surrounds us.
THEORIES OF LEARNING
I think education has changed, but only eleven years ago, my classmates in the other class suffered a bad experience in school because of a teacher.
This teacher took advantage of the behavioural method to do physical and psychological damage to some children.
This teacher when a pupil did not carry out the task could insult , ridicule him/her in front of his companions or even, once, she threw a book at the head of one of them.
Behaviorism is a learning theory that arose from the work of Watson, an American psychologist, who said that psychology did not focus on people’s minds but on the conduct of each one. His work was based on Pavlov’s experiments, who had studied animal responses to conditioning.
Nowadays, behaviourism is more associated with Skinner by checking Watson’s theories in a laboratory.
When we are born our mind is a blank slate. All behaviour is learnt from the environment and It’s the result of stimulus – response.
With regard to education, the experiential learning has greater effect than by rote learning. Skinner assert it stating, “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.”
“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” ? B.F. Skinner
Piaget studied constructivism, different mental structures are modified and combined through experience through the adaptation to the environment and the organization of our mind.
Learning is thanksgiving given to new circumstances and changes. Our perception of the world is renewed as we grow. This process is made up of schematics that we mentally ordain. Adaptation takes place through a process of assimilation and another of accommodation.
Process of assimilation modifies the external reality, for example, if we have met a bad teacher, we are going to think all they are bad teachers. When we know another teacher and we see that teaches well, cares for their students, is empathetic… we will have to change our idea about the teachers and begin to recognize that there are also good. In the latter case we would be talking about the process of accommodation, which changes our mental structures.
Concerning education, he said that children have an active role in learning.
Vygotsky’s social constructivism focuses on the social basis of learning in people. The social context gives students the opportunity to carry out more complex than they can do for themselves.
Technologies are very important in this theory because they share information, knowledge, ideas… with other people.
On the other hand, Vygotsky also focuses on learning through the game. This helps children to memorize, remember, explore, show attention, interpret different social roles in a fun, easy and without awareness of what they are learning. Children help each other, teaching is also learned.
In the first place, they learn about the objects that surround them, their name, their use … and then they learn to give these objects the function of other similar ones.
We also know the sociodramatic game in which they take great interest in the world of adults and play to imitate it.
There are many ways to teach and learn and that is why it depends on the experiences we have, the environment in which we live, the people we live with every day… the learning and knowledge acquired vary between people and others.
Some of the learning experiences that have marked my life were the exchanges I could do when I was in the high school but I’m going to talk about my Holland’s exchange.
My high school exchange program in Netherlands was one of the experiences that deeply influenced my life. This opportunity occurred thanks to our English’s teacher. She was so excited for the feedback’s we students gave about the previous year experience in France, that she decided to propose us the same program, but this time in Netherlands. We all thought it was a good idea, so we sort out to organize the trip. At that time, our high school received a scholarship from the Junta de Andalucía for delivering several projects. Thanks to that scholarship we were able to add to the program a visit in Belgium for one week. Here we could practice French (remember my high school was teaching French) before joining for eight days the English-speaking families appointed to host us during the exchange program.
The high school where we went during the exchange is called Niftarlake College. It’s in Maarssen (Utrecht). It’s bigger than my old high school and it has a lot of students with different nationality. The social class is high compared with Spain. The high school has dining hall because the lecture time was from 8.30 am until 17.00 pm and an incredible football team. The subjects are more ludic than in Spain and you learn in a fun way. Almost all students go to Niftarlake College by bike which has a large bicycle parking.
In Netherlands families can pick up from a large pool of primary and secondary education institutes. The Dutch system offers various education programs based on different religious and culture. The University of Utrecht is the most important university in the Netherlands and one of the most prestigious in Europe.
In my opinion the most important aspects of the trip were the relationships with both the family and the new friends I met. In the high school, teachers and student welcomed us with posters, music, food etc. Thanks to their Ice-breaking activity, we were asked to introduce ourselves. This way it was very easy getting knows new people. The family I visited, was very nice with me. I lived with my exchange’s partner, Eline who was the same age as me, her brother and her parents, however I had my own bedroom. On the weekends, they would take me on a tour and so I could visit many new places around there. Moreover, I met a lot of friends in the high school, in some parties organised by Eline’s friends, during trips with my Spanish classmates and my teachers from Spain.
Utrecht is a very historical city in Netherlands. You can find there many monuments and famous places to visit, as well as museums, theatres and cinemas. Talking about religion, a large portion of the population is Christian, followed by Islam and Hinduism. I felt that people from Netherlands have a similar attitude of Spanish people. I think people from there are like Spanish, or at least the people I knew. They are friendly, respectful and trying to involve me in their plans even if I was a foreigner, speaking another language and only a newcomer.
In my exchange in Holland, I was able to learn a lot about the culture there, the language, because they weren’t Spanish, and I had to strive to be able to communicate with them, so I met new friends, I’m still keeping in touch with them. I visited a lot of wonderful places like Amsterdam, as the capital of the Netherlands, Bruges (Belgium) and Keukenhof, the largest tulip park I had ever seen. I could know how education is in another country, I learned to be independent, self-confident and to solve my own problems. These are many reasons why I am studying as an Erasmus student, I wanted to live a new experience, to know the education from Scotland, a new culture, practice English, new friends, etc.
When I started high school, I had new subjects, made new friends and met many teachers. Unlike primary school, each teacher is specialized in a subject.
I remember when I was in secondary school, a new teacher entered to work at the high school to teach us history. She was a woman of about 35 years of age, she had been working in schools for nine years and I could see that she did not like her work.
I had always gotten good grades, but that year most of my classmates and I dropped them in history. The main reason was the lack of motivation of the students.
The teacher arrived every day, made us open the book by the page where we finished the previous day to continue reading the topics and for the next day, we had to carry the activities corresponding to the pages we had read that day in class.
When the date of the exam was approaching, we did not know how to study the syllabus, we could not ask the questions because their answer was: “In the book are all your answers” and what we did was memorize.
In conclusion, from my point of view learning is something essential in the life of any living being. It is a social process that reorganizes the brain and therefore produces a change.
From any experience, situation, environment or context we can acquire knowledge or skills in different ways, implying that there are several theories related to learning.
Learning is to acquire and process the information we obtain from the media and apply it to our own experience, modifying the previous knowledge to reflect the new ones in the situations that arise.
Because of the good experience I have had with the teachers throughout my school experience, I have been clear since I was a child that I wanted to study education, to teach and impact my students in the same way that my teachers did in me. Always looking for the best for the students, adapting to our needs, demands and always putting ourselves in our place before acting.
As I have always thought, study to learn, learn to teach and teach to enjoy.
Núñez, J.C. y González-Pumariega, S. (1996). Procesos motivacionales y aprendizaje. En J.A. González-Pienda, J. Escoriza, R. González y A. Barca (Eds)., Psicología de la instrucción. Vol.2: Componentes cognitivos y afectivos del aprendizaje escolar. Barcelona: EUB
Department for Education, 2016. Behaviour and Discipline in Schools: Advice for Headteachers and School staff.
Novak, J.D. and Gowin, D.B., 1984. Learning how to learn. Cambridge University Press.
Skinner, B.F., 1964. Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. Public Policy, 415, pp.826-3172.
Berk, L.E., 1994. Vygotsky’s theory: The importance of make-believe play. Young children, 50(1), pp.30-39.
Richards, G. and Armstrong, F. eds., 2015. Teaching and learning in diverse and inclusive classrooms: Key issues for new teachers. Routledge.