Resource Page for
"A Framework for Understanding Learning Perspectives"
(Secondary PGCE Plenary Lecture, 9 October 09)
The argument is simply that the way to engage with learning theories is not to treat them as "inert knowledge" (Perkins, 2006), and certainly not as something to be learned by rote or learned about. It is to use them to illuminate your experience, that of your students, and their practice. However, remember that theories are neither precise nor neutral, and pay attention to where they are "coming from". They all include cultural and even political baggage as part of the deal. As with many things, they make great servants and lousy masters. (There are incidentally few women learning theorists... or at least published ones.)
Here is an annotated and slightly expanded version of the presentation; see below for more specific links to expand the points.
- I carefully refrained from a definition of "learning": see http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/whatlearn.htm
- On "thinking like a teacher" and the whole idea of threshold concepts, see http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/threshold_3.htm
- On the status of learning theories as sensitising concepts: http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/index.htm
- If you want to explore further the idea of the working myth in a different context, you can find some of my musings of 20 years ago here.
- And in response to the enthusiasm of one of you for a fashionable idea; http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/innovations.htm
- The "NTL" model is discussed here; http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/myths.htm
- On learning styles; see http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/learning_styles.htm and follow the links
- I also referred to the critique of "Brain Gym" in Goldacre (2009); Amazon link here.
- The wonderful "Just suppose Learning and Teaching..." (Coffield, 2008) and "All you ever wanted to know about learning and teaching but were too cool to ask" (Coffield, 2009) are available for free download from these links.
- When one of you referred to the pebble and ripples analogy in reporting back, I referred to Phil Race; the download link is on this page; http://phil-race.co.uk/?page_id=13
- The cultural influences on how we think about learning are touched on here: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/culture.htm
- There's more on behavioural perspectives here: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/behaviour.htm and follow the links.
- The starting point for Piaget is here: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/piaget.htm
- ...with the key but neglected ideas of assimilation and accommodation outline here: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/assimacc.htm
- And David Hargreaves is still in business; http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/sep/22/secondary-education-transformation-david-hargreaves
- And for a more general and less analytical overview, start here: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/theories.htm
I hope that is enough to be going on with. All the best with the rest of your course, and feel free to get in touch via the link below if you need any further information. (I shall feel equally free not to reply if the question isn't interesting enough!)