The comment of standardize tests is still bugging me from Tuesday’s class. Of course, the class is right. The State Congress of the State of Ohio did not write the Social Studies test that the students in Ohio had to pass to graduate. The test was written by a “test writing company”. Probably one that makes big bucks trying to convince the general public what they think the students should know. But, since the parents had to fight to get the state senate to take the original written test, and the state senate couldn’t pass the test as written, one would assume that the test writers, the instructional designers did not do their job. They didn’t consult their SMEs-The teachers; they didn’t consult their learners-the students; and they didn’t inform their clients- the state congress what needed to be designed and how it should be designed. A real world example of what not to do and how it can really affect what happens to one of your learners down the road. Communication skills, like those talked about in Chapter 7 are the key to a good project, and were obviously not followed in the State of Ohio when the state got the big idea to “test” the students to allow them to graduate.
Now on to the question of the week…
Question: Do you believe that the audience, content, environment, objectives, etc. should and/or can influence whether you apply behaviorist, objectivist, information processing, post-modern, critical theory, etc. methodologies in your instruction. Defend you perspective.
Okay, first before I defend my perspective of this question, I have to understand the question…
Behaviorist- Someone who takes instruction down to the simplest terms and sees learning as a series of small chunks of information that is memorized and regurgitated on a test or in a learning situation. Or, something like that…
Objectivist- along the same lines of a behaviorist, or I seem to think. They are more worried about whether or not the objectives have been met in the instruction as not whether the students have learned the instruction or can use the instruction in a transfer situation.
Information processing- I would think this type of person is moving more towards a constructivist perspective. They see the role of the teacher as someone who give the information to the student and the student processes it in the different environment that the teacher sets up. The idea being that the teacher can come up with the majority of situation that the student will apply the information so that the student can transfer the information outside of the class room situation…
Post-Modern- I have no clue .. ?
Critical Theory- Someone who is more worried about whether the theory is applied correctly to the instruction. Their belief would be that if the theory is applied correctly the student will learn and can apply the information in any given situation. If the student fails to apply the information than the theory was not done correctly to begin with.
Constructivism is a situation where the student is given an authentic problem and asked to find the solution to the problem. The idea being that the student is in control of their learning and would come up with an answer that can be applied to other situations if the problem is authentic and structured correctly by the facilitator of the instruction episode-the teacher. The learning is student controlled. What they learn is up to them. How they learn it is up to them. The teacher facilitates the environment so that the student can acquirer the information needed.
Of course, these definitions are based on the context information that I am pulling from the question not from actually looking up the definition, but I felt that I should define the terms as I see them so that my response makes sense.
As to whether or not the audience, content, or environment having influence over how the material is taught, I would have to say yes. Looking at the audience, I would say the younger the audience of the instruction, the more behavioral the instruction is likely to be. It has been proven that the younger the student is the more concrete the instruction needs to be. The teacher needs to make the connections between the information and the learning for the student. The older the student is the more the teacher can allow the student to make their own connections and create their own learning environments based on when and where they have had previous successful experiences. Prior knowledge of information and educational environments allows for the teacher to be more constructivist in nature and allows the student more freedom in choosing the path and learning that he or she wants at any given time.
Environment- I think that even at a young age with a behavioral/structured approach to learning aspects, that the learning environment can be constructivist. Take for example, my kindergarten class. The teacher sat down with us and explained that we would have different centers each day. She told us that we would have a certain amount of time in each center and that our job was to have fun and learn all we could so that when we came back as a small group and talked with her we could tell her everything we had learned that day. She had centers on letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. The objectives may have been behavioral in nature, but the environment that the teacher chooses to teach in was constructivist. By allowing us to learn what we could, she would change the centers based on our daily feedback. As everyone picked up the different objectives, the centers would change. Now, along with that, we had times where we sat in seats and did “teacher instruction”. Our teacher mixed the learning environments to prepare us for later years, knowing that the early years of elementary school is more behavioral then constructive in nature and the environment. She was building the prior knowledge that we would need to succeed in any and all environments that we would come up against in our formal educational settings.