Learning And Teaching Are Social In Nature And Begins In Infancy
Assumptions/Givens About Human Nature:
– Human beings are innately curious with a desire to know the environment in which they live. They show this curiosity throughout their lives and therefore they are life-long learners.
– Human beings are innately social and learn how to operate in social settings during their infancy.
– Human beings have multiple ways in which they show their intelligence. There are however two basic components of thought: Logico-scientific and narrative.
– There are stages of development which children go through. Their appearance is partially natural and partially through the assistance of adult (scaffolding).
– Human beings are Subjects — human beings make a difference and can through their actions make changes to the world in which they live.
– Human beings are unfinished (historical) — Because human beings are Subjects, they always have the potential to change both themselves and society around them – in this sense learning as well as reflection and social action are a continuing part of their lives. But human beings live within social structures that can either expand or limit their options. Thus human beings all have a history and are affected by that history.
– Human beings are curious – Human beings are struck by things that are different (ingenious or spontaneous curiosity). They want to understand things, they want to know why and how things are the way they are. Epistemological curiosity examines itself through the application of dialogue and analysis.
Implications for Educators:
– Learning and teaching are social in nature and begins in infancy.
– Adults play an essential role in the development of the child. Developmental stages cannot be rushed, but they can be help by the aid of an adult community member.
– Subject areas may have unique but interrelated structure that relates to the operations of the human mind.
– Through the use of language a child learns to “negotiate” meaning in life. “Negotiate” has more than one meaning – the two most important of which are (a) learns way around obstacles and (b) engages in exchanges for the purpose of finding mutually satisfying results.
– Learning involves the “construction” of meaning. There is no reality, truth, right or wrong existing in the world waiting to be discovered. Each person in conjunction with the communities in which they operate construct reality, truth, right and wrong.
– Human beings are curious. A major part of the curiosity is the desire to know and learn.
– Human beings naturally learn a culture. Human knowledge has a significant cultural component that is grounded in shared information. Human beings are not simply products of nature but shape nature toward desired ends.
– Human knowledge requires information upon which to apply the formal rules of thinking, creating and problem solving. Facts and skills are inseparable. Shared schemas help us make sense of incoming data as well as to manipulate and correct information rapidly.
– Human relations are based on the recognition of need, relation and response. Because human relations are grounded in the caring relationship, they are fundamentally moral.
– Narrative (including autobiography) and dialogue play important roles in learning and teaching. Narrative is an important part of dialogue and meaning making.
Definition: Democracy is a spiritual fact and not merely a form of government. Democracy is the preferred system of social organization.
Knowledge come through the senses and is always subject to revision.
– Education must begin with the ACTUAL experiences of the child.
– Education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.
Pillars of the Educational Theory
– Human beings think by using the five-step method of science. Thinking is problem solving.
– Human experience is both continuous and interactive.
– American Progressivism trusted that human beings could work effectively in social organizations and thereby improve the lot of all people. Progressivism sought changes in government, schooling, culture, health, safety and class structure.
– Social reformers committed to improving the lives of students and their families through the application of the social sciences and child-centered education.
– Facilitators encouraging the growth and development of each child.
– Role: To foster growth and shape acceptable children — teachers perform a role similar to parents, i.e., a developmental and moral role.
– Preparation: A broad curriculum closely connected with the Existential Heart of Life and to their own special interests. It should provide an intelligent approach to the legitimate needs and questions of children.
– Knowledge: Must have not only intellectual capabilities, but a fund of knowledge about the particular persons with whom they are working — Must know anything which they believe all students should know.
Implications for Educators
– As Subjects, the experiences of the learners must have primary value. Begin with what the learners know is not just a good rule for success, it is essential in affirming the moral value of the learners.
– Dialogue is the center of the learning process. Learners and teachers together enter the learning relationship as Subjects, prepared to listen, discuss, challenge and learn.
– Education is questioning – Learners should be encouraged to ask why and how, especially about social and political conditions that seem to limit their opportunities to act as Subjects. Education is a way of intervening in the world.
– Literacy should free learners to question and re-create their own experience. Literacy is more than the application of a skill, it is a commitment to question what appears to violate the universal ethics of the human person.
– Education is never value neutral. Education and school reflect (or more accurately are the product of) choices made by those who control society. Therefore, education and schooling are essentially political.
The first job of the school is to care for the children, i.e., schools should promote the growth of students as healthy, competent moral people.
Organization of Educational Approach
Forget the educated person and replace it with a multiplicity of models to accommodate the multiple capacities and interests of children.
– Language, logical-mathematical analysis, spatial representation, musical thinking, the use of the body to solve problems and make things, the understanding of other individuals, and the understanding of ourselves.
– Religious, civic, family, occupation, recreation, reading and meditation, and the rest of the things that are done by the complete man or woman.
– Existential Heart of Life — passions, attitude, connections, concerns, and experienced responsibilities.
Components of Education
– Modeling: Concentrate on and set examples of how to be caring — must learn how to both care and be cared for
– Dialogue: Become engrossed in the cared for — we talk and we listen; we give and we receive; we reflect and we act — reciprocity and enlightenment — dialogue must be open with no particular end in mind — we learn what others need and monitor how well we respond. [Most fundamental component]
– Practice: Develop the capacity for interpersonal attention — learn the effects of our actions — practice expands our abilities to receive and to give
– Confirmation: Respond to another’s acts of caring [and lack of caring] — confirm the reciprocal relationship of both caring and being cared for — shaping the child by assisting in the construction of his or her ethical ideal
– As morality is relational, so is education — Teachers and students become partners in fostering the students’ growth. The student is responsible for any work that he or she has agreed to do.
– A curriculum built around themes of caring: Caring for self, caring for the inner circle, caring for strangers and distant others, caring for animals, caring for plants and the earth.
– Greater continuity in teachers from year to year, team teaching around a topic that involves cross-disciplinary issues, and greater continuity within multiple curricula: E.g. at the secondary level, a linguistics-mathematical program; a technical one concentrating on the world of technology; and arts program; and an interpersonal program.
Implications for Educators
– The aim of civilization is to guide nature toward humane and worthy ends.
– Democracy is a form of shared community decision making that requires that those participating possess sufficient shared information and ideas that communication and deliberation can be accomplished in an effective and efficient manner.
– It takes knowledge to produce knowledge. The principal role of schooling is to promote literacy as an enabling competence. Grade progression assumes knowledge and skill progression. Failure to provide the needed knowledge and skill is a question of social injustice – thus remedial efforts to insure universal readiness is essential.
– Primary learning crosses cultures and appears to be natural: e.g., language development, psychological development and basic conceptual development. Secondary learning tends to have varying importance within cultures: e.g., reading, writing, certain arithmetical operations, base-ten system, etc.
– A coherent curriculum centers around values as well as knowledge. Important values include civic duty, honesty, diligence, perseverance, respect, kindness and independent-mindedness.
– The core curriculum must be viewed as a national commitment focused on issues important to the nation as a whole. Education produces intellectual capital for the nation (tools for citizens to employ).
Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.