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Adolescent Learning Strategies Essay

2584 words - 10 pages

I believe that every individual responds to learning in different ways and retains, develops and applies knowledge and information using methods that are specific to them and their abilities. I believe that these strategies evolve from personal development and are preferences that have emerged from previous success. Although, whilst we might prefer to be taught or to learn in a specific style I do not think students are unreceptive to other methods and if information can be presented in a variety of forms, is relevant and engaging, any person, of any ability will be able to learn. However, this idea has been debated on numerous occasions, and psychologists and professionals continually disagree over the relevance and need to identify and categorise pupils into special learning styles, arguing that if teachers can apply the right models to the right students they will produce more effective results. I believe though, that adolescents will learn by using the strategies presented to them during lessons, and if a teacher can replicate the necessary information in several forms, whether that be visually, orally, demonstrated or written the chances of retention are increased. Nevertheless, it is apparent thought that specific students will need more individual strategies to learn than others and if their specific styles can be identified and utilized we will be ensuring that every child has the opportunity to reach their potential.
Carol Dweck is one such psychologist and her theories and research have suggested that people conform to one of two mindsets and that it is these states of mind that can have profound effects on an adolescents’ ability to learn. A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is inherent and that our achievements are due to natural talent whereas a growth mindset is a conviction that success can be brought about by hard work, determination and application of knowledge and skills, believing that failure is redeemable and a part of the learning process. Furthermore Dweck’s research has indicated that students with a fixed mindset struggle to progress and reach their full potential, as they believe their capabilities are set. These adolescents will often show little flexibility towards new concepts and changes, they can lack persistence and might struggle with abstract ideas and problem solving. Whereas students with a growth mindset have been shown to flourish under challenges and can adapt the way they learn to succeed (Dweck, cited in Chronicle of Higher Education 2010). It is also believed however, that by praising achievement rather than effort teachers can actually help to install a fixed mindset as adolescents come to believe that no further progress is needed - if they are constantly given the impression that what they are accomplishing is enough they might not feel the need to strive to do better. Therefore by praising effort, Dweck suggests we can begin to establish an attitude that encourages learning rather than...

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