Education is Key
Learn | Teach | Lead
The most memorable learning experience I’ve had was in college. The professor was so passionate about what she was teaching, and her passion spread amongst the entire class. The class was focused on our learning, and how we can learn new information and make it relevant to our own lives. We learned by synthesizing this new information with our prior knowledge. This instructor helped us build upon our prior knowledge to maximize our learning.
Constructivism is student-centered learning, and holds that knowledge is actively built by the learner as they experience the world. I want to be able to help my students develop their own ideas. Children acquire new knowledge every day; it is my goal to help shape and develop that knowledge more. I am also a firm believer that learning does not just occur in the classroom. There are opportunities to learn everywhere- at home, in the park, on the playground, etc. Children’s interests and daily routines all contribute to learning and their mental schemes.
A mental scheme is an “organizer in the brain.” Children’s culminating experiences in their life have formed organized structures in their brain that help them make sense of the world they live in. When children come across new information, they attempt to fit this information into an existing scheme. When information does not fit in an existing scheme, we must reorganize our schemes to fit this information. This is how learning occurs, and how we make the information we learn our own.
I think the most effective way to learn is to make the information your own so it is significant to you and your own life. I want to honor and respect what my students already know, so they can build upon their prior knowledge. It will be important for me to get to know my students and their existing mental schemes so I can maximize their learning. This theory impacts me because this is how I believe I learn best. I didn’t realize, or understand this concept until I was a college student, and had that experience.
An important element of what we want children to know is informal curriculum. Informal curriculum is experiences that go beyond formal curriculum such as activities to connect the material to student’s everyday lives. If the material is more relevant and significant to children, the learning is more effective.
Based on my beliefs on how children learn, I believe authentic assessment is most effective. Authentic assessment is when we ask students to perform a task that relates to the “real world.” For example, a speech, a writing reflection, or project that relates to what they are learning. They can demonstrate what they know with these authentic assessments.