M4A1_LearningTheories_Sanderson - CLASSROOM SYMBIOSIS 1...

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CLASSROOM SYMBIOSIS 1 Classroom Symbiosis Applying Learning Theories For Better Results Nicole Sanderson Pima Community College Contact: [email protected]
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THE TAUGHT AND THEIR TEACHERS 2 It is easy to underestimate the complexities of the teaching profession. To achieve his or her teaching goals, a modern educator must know and employ not one, but all of the various learning theories, and specifically the best and most result-oriented techniques from each. Faced with an endlessly complex task, teachers must plan for the long-term, to make their own job easier as time goes on. Furthermore, because learning theories affect students and their subsequent “teachability”, there is an additional advantage to applying the techniques early in a student’s learning career. I will discuss how each of the four main learning theories can help make a teacher’s job more efficient, and how the beneficial effect is further compounded the earlier these best practices are applied. Solving problems and managing crises takes a lot more energy than teaching to a calm classroom. Therefore, the most essential of the learning theories involves managing behavior. Because it addresses the more basic needs of the learners – that of physiological and emotional stability, it thereby potentially saves the teacher a lot of distraction and energy managing crises. Behavior management techniques are even more essential than teaching techniques in terms of potential efficiency gained, especially early in the learners’ careers. The theory of operant conditioning describes a system of classroom behavior management designed to foster a good environment for learning. In this system, the teacher trades his or her praise and recognition to reward thereby encourage order and behavior that is overall conducive to the shared goals of the classroom. The strategies emphasize both rewarding of good behavior and ignoring of or controlled and chosen reaction to disruptive behavior, or behavior that is otherwise counterproductive to the educational goals. Imagine a group of twelve year olds, many of whom don’t yet have the skills to manage themselves. As very dependent people, they are often at the whim of the emotions and mistakes of their own parents and the adults in their lives. There is a lot of potential for the efficiency of the classroom to be ruined in this situation. A twelve year old student, even an intelligent one who may very well be interested in the course material, may, for example, drink an entire bottle of Mountain Dew just before a class, and thereby set themselves up for concentration and energy management problems. A teacher can apply operant conditioning here by drawing
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