Numerous teachers and educators alike use a “learning theory” of some form to operate their classrooms. Teachers choose the type of learning theory they feel creates the best learning environment most suited for their students. As someone who oversees that environment, it is imperative to choose and create the most effective way to present the classes’ material. A teacher must conduct the research and put in the time and practice towards the method they are certain will work for their classroom. This essay will present and discuss the learning theory I have chosen and how I believe it will make an exceptional learning environment for my students.
Differentiated learning styles and instruction used in the classroom pertains to instructing a student based on their individual learning needs. The learning techniques educators use in their classroom can help the students who learn visually, auditorily, or, kinesthetically. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;” (Romans 12:6, NASB). God has given us all different gifts and varied abilities. Students have different gifts and abilities, this includes learning. We, as teachers, need to realize the particular needs of each student God will place in our classrooms. Using differentiating instruction will help in accommodating every student’s needs.
The learning theory I have chosen is the information processing theory. Learning changes how one perceives their environment, interacts with what is around them, and, how they react to stimuli. The definition of learning can be simplified as being the process that permanently changes behavior or potentially alter one’s behavior. An extremely important division of modern psychology is cognitive psychology. The focus of cognitive psychology is memory. It focuses how memory is stored, retrieved, and, sustained. Multiple theories have been established about this particular subject. One such theory that has been developed is Atkinson and Shriffin’s stage theory. The model of the stage theory is broadly acknowledged. The theory suggests that information is processed and deposited in three consecutive stages; sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. “Each store varies as to the processes required to move information into and out of it, how much information it can hold, and for how long it can hold information.” (Snowman & McCown, 2015). Human memory storage consists of three essential processes of recollection, including encoding and recall. That memory storage refers to the retaining of information, that has been attained through the process of encoding, within the brain for extended periods of time until that information is accessed due to recall.
The two different forms of memory storage, short-term memory and long-term memory, are differentiated by modern memory psychology. Also, there are various models of memory proposed variations of the current short-term and long-term memory to describe the different ways of loading memory. The theory of information processing suggests that people process information and new material like a computer program processes information. The information processing theory proposes we analyze information according to our environment through a systematized arrangement of processes and memory association. Some systems are particular to a certain problem area while other systems are all-purpose and autonomous of subject material. The information processing theory also includes attention devices for carrying information and for passively holding information through long-term memory. This theory hypothesizes that the minds of children mature as they get older, which enhances their capability to process and respond to information being presented and taught. A few significant notions of the information processing theory describe progressive changes, including the methods involved in thinking, memory, metacognition, and, one’s understanding about one’s own thinking. “. . . control processes govern both the manner in which information is encoded and its flow between memory stores. — recognition, attention, maintenance rehearsal, elaborative rehearsal (also called elaborative encoding), and retrieval. — is associated primarily with a particular memory store.” (Snowman & McCown, 2015).
Jean Piaget, one of the most profound educational theorists, initiated a learning theory that is commonly used today. This theory is called constructivism. This theory views learning as a development where the student constructs knowledge built on their experiences and the environment around them. To Jean Piaget, he believed cognitive growth was a broad-minded restructuring of mental progressions ensuing from the development of biological and environmental involvement. He had believed that children constructed an understanding of their life around them. He proposed that they understand discrepancies amid what they already know to be true and what they realize in their environment, and, thus, they then alter their ideas. The information processing theory and the Piagetian philosophy come to an agreement on quite a few opinions. Both theories echo a similar concept of information processing that advances through tiered stages of intricacy. They appear to specify that our minds toil through a dynamic range, an incorporation of experience due to current knowledge, and, organization. Both theories see children as active representatives in learning and development, and they both identify differences, due to age, in reasoning capabilities and attempt to clarify these differences.
There are endless possibilities in how the information processing theory can be incorporated into the classroom. Educators must be attentive and see which students need that extra support while going through the material be presented. The information processing theory equips the teacher on how they can truly accommodate the students in their academic endeavors. This theory wonderfully gives the teacher all they need to successfully convey their material to the classroom. Differentiating the lessons cater to the wide range of learning and personality types. Modifying the lessons to meet the needs of how the students process information. Like I previously stated, some students learn visually, auditorily, or, kinesthetically. A way that I can differentiate the lesson to accommodate each student is to target each of the senses with the lessons. The material should resonate with more of the students if it is aimed at the visual, auditory, tactile, and, kinesthetic senses. Targeting at teaching with all these senses in mind instead of only one will help more of the students truly connect with the information being taught. A way to accommodate the senses would be having the students write or draw out a diagram of whatever we may be going over at the time. This could make the concept more concrete for those who learn kinesthetically or in a tactile manner. Physically drawing out the material can create a more concrete way to recollect the information because the memory is physically related to the lesson. “Learning does not take place in a vacuum; it occurs in a specific context that includes aspects of the physical environment, characteristics of the learning material, and associated thoughts.” (Snowman & McCown, 2015). Also, to make sure it will more effectively capture their attention, I’d have the students use bright colored markers or pencils to create their drawings. Another way to differentiate the lesson would be by asking students to individually think about a given topic or answer a specific question. Then, the students can pair together to debate their results and verdicts. Finally, I would have each group share their ideas with the class, and then allow everyone to give their input for added discussion. Since the strategy of differentiated instruction lets students process the lesson content independently, in a big group and in a small group, it will cater to the classroom’s range of personality types and learning.