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The message, in its simplest form, is that as educators we should be much more concerned than we are with the quality of learning. Much of our current teaching and assessment seems to induce a passive, reproductive form of learning which is contrary to the aims of the teachers themselves. That message, and its elaborations, can be followed throughout the book. It is introduced here as an assertion, but later an impressive array of research evidence, and both logical and empirical analyses will be used to justify it. We should then examine what is actually - achieved in relation to what is intended. Clearly the answer will differ in detail from subject area to subject j area, but is there any general consensus? CONTRASTING PERSPECTIVES ON LEARNING 3 they can use their analytical techniques very consciously, in fact their whole way of treating questions is affected by this kind of training. For example, a lecturer in physics had a clear Idea of what he and his colleagues were trying to achieve, with their Students. Secondly, we want to develop mathematical and deductive skills, to allow them to analyse their experiments... Thirdly, we want — perhaps too much — to cover the entire ground of classical and modern physics so that they have a fairly comprehensive idea finished custom writing paper of what the entire corpus of knowledge is in the subject — with a fair amount of emphasis on the latest help in essay writing developments so that they can get out into a job knowing what physics is like today. They saw background knowledge as an essential prerequisite for thinking critically and imaginatively about their subject, but were writing services for college papers often apprehensive about Over-emphasizing factual knowledge and binding the student too firmly within currently accepted theoretical frameworks.
One must also liberate , him from them, enabling him to stand back from them and see that they are a rather arbitrary historical collection of techniques which are not the end of the story. In the finished custom writing paper interviews with lecturers there was substantial consensus about the importance of critical thinking, but it was far from clear how this was expected to be achieved through the predominant teaching methods of lectures, tutorials, and practical classes. Snyder (1971) at MIT pointed out that the formal curriculum,! The Lancaster lecturers were, on the whole, not aware of the widej divergence between intent and teaching procedures. But for the moment let us look instead at two other sets of contrasting perspectives.
Both the psychologist and the educational psychologist have a professional interest in learning, but they have looked at the phenomenon in quite different ways, and made use of a variety of research methodologies. The different questions raised and methods followed produce characterizations of learning which have rather little in common. Psychological Research on Learning Research into memory and learning Teachers look to psychologists for explanations of fundamental principles of learning. It used to be accepted that an understanding of underlying brain mechanisms and functions would have direct implications for the teacher. But much of the early work in experimental psychology involved attempts to Uncover general principles of learning, and followed as closely as possible the well-tried research procedures in the physical sciences.
Scientifically it was much sounder to see how well people remembered new material.
Thus a finished custom writing paper Whole tradition of memory research was built out of nonsense, but was ) only much later recognized as such.
J Early in the development of psychological ideas about learning William y limes had argued intuitively for the importance of associations in l determining what is remembered. Knowledge could thus be efficiently assembled, like a brick wall, out of its component blocks. Yet the move from the experimental results on the behaviour of animals to general principles of learning in the classroom stretches credibility more than a little. Skinner may have felt justified in this extrapolation through seeing important similarities between learning in animals and humans. But subsequent generations of students and teachers have found this view a wholly inadequate description of teaching and learning. Intelligence and individual differences Another important thread in the psychological study of learning has grown out of the early attempts of Spearman and Pearson to investigate individual differences in the speed and efficiency of learning. Intelligence is an hypothetical construct — a way of explaining differences between intellectual performances. In France, Binet had been able to distinguish between normal children and those who were considered to be ineducable, by means of a set of graded intellectual tasks involving memory, knowledge, and reasoning. Again both a technology and an industry were born and, above all, out of the short-term consistency in IQ scores came beliefs both about its resistance to change and its general validity as an indicator of educational potential. Intelligence, it seems, can be viewed as a global or summary variable, containing elements of many subsidiary skills. It is also modifiable, at least within limits: it is largely stable, but importantly variable. Education and home environment can, and do, affect the levels of measured intelligence. And people exhibit more intelligent behaviour in some aspects of their life than in others. Besides intelligence, other traits have been used to describe relatively Stable characteristics of individuals which may affect help on writing a research paper the speed or efficiency with which they learn. Unfortunately this crude mechanical analogy implies that the natural state Of the human body and brain is at rest or in uniform and unidirectional motion. This contradicts experience: differentiated activity is the waking norm of human behaviour. In the more recent psychological literature, several distinct forms of motivation have been described (Entwistle, 1981).
Competence motivation describes the positive orientation towards learning created by the repeated experience of luccessful learning activities. Extrinsic motivation describes the seeking after external reinforcement for learning, from school marks, grades, or qualifications. Intrinsic motivation takes two forms, one in which learning ll explained by interest and perceived relevance, and another generally described as achievement motivation, relies on a striving for success Which feeds on perceived success and boosted self-confidence. These forms of motivation are describing learning in terms of traits Which are the habitual forms of satisfaction derived by different people from their experiences of learning (see Kozeki, 1984). Of course, the Occasional experiences of low marks or failure may increase determina- tion, and some anxious people seem to go through their education, driven more by a fear of failure than by a hope for success. Cognitive structure and processes I More recent work on human memory has tried to describe how K f Information is processed, coded, and stored.