There is no doubt our educational system is more complex than ever before. There is much to consider when looking at the balance between theories, proven methods, and the reasons why we chose to invest such time into our children’s education. In this paper I will touch on these theories, methods and the importance of the education.
There are many theories surrounding education and what lies within our biological functions that can effect how we learn as human beings. Our book, Creating Literacy Instruction For All Students, by Thomas Gunning goes more in depth of these approaches and theories. Behaviorism is a theory that “stresses observable responses to stimuli”. This approach includes conditioning good behaviors and eliminating unwanted behaviors (Gunning, 4). Another major theory surrounding learning is cognitivism, which is “based on the proposition that mental processes exist and can be studied (Gunning, 4). Under this theory of congnitivism lies Piaget’s theory that each child develops through constructivism, in building their own understanding of the world and the realities within it. Similarly, Vygotsky stresses the importance of social constructivism in how social encounters can change cognitive development (Gunning, 5). The cognitive behavioral approach is to help the students realize their potential by showing them what they must to do be successful. This is important to help the students stretch beyond their conceived notions of failure they may have gained from previous academic issues (Gunning, 6). Under this cognitive behavioral approach lies both the top-down and bottom-top strategies. Finally, the reader response theory challenges the child to construct meaning from the written text. To engage and understand, rather than just prove the student can read out loud.
These theories are important to be aware of and incorporate into teaching literacy skills because they can allow educators to know how certain methods may work well with particular students, because we all know, no two students are exactly alike. Pairing these theories with evidence based practices and methods can allow educators to effectively reach more students.
In considering the use of instructional practices, it is important to remember to differentiate teaching methods. As educators it is sometimes easy to use the same methods because of success with previous students, but although successful for some students, it may not be as effective with all students. I feel that continuously updating and researching new methods of teaching is also a very important way to keep instructional practices current for today’s students. Pairing with the instructional practices, it is also immensely important to consider the classroom environment in making it is comfortable, safe, and fun for the students to be in. Considering classroom layout can make or break students attention to their course work. Also keeping resources and materials in the classroom that are exciting and...