2013

Learning theories and Pedagogical Styles at BSN

When looking at what type of learning theory my school and more specifically, my teacher uses, they have very much a constructivist strategy that they implement. The basic theory behind the constructionist is that its learners learn through their experiences. Through these experiences, the learner is able to construct their own knowledge and build off of their previous knowledge and experiences. This is really what takes place on a day to day basis in my classroom, and in many other classrooms.

Students cannot learn through just sitting and listening to the teacher lecture, but when they are active in their learning and are able to experiment and talk and do projects with other classmates. This is when the real learning and understanding takes place for each individual student; each taking away their understanding a little bit different than the other students in the class. My teacher focuses on having the students’ active in every lesson that the material being taught allows, and I really tend to use this learning theory as my guide for teaching as well. I think that this method makes learning meaningful for each student, and is a great process in which students can build their knowledge off of the knowledge that they already have acquired.

The pedagogical styles between my cooperating teacher here in Den Haag, and my teacher back home in Wisconsin are quite similar. They both try to have the students be as active learners as possible. M cooperating  teacher here at BSN tries to come up with activities where the children DO  because that is really where there knowledge about a topic is cemented. My teacher back home tries to keep the kids engaged by giving them interactive learning activities. One thing my teacher does more of here in Den Haag is the use of questioning. He tries not to ever tell students the answer but to get them to figure it out through Socratic questioning.

The difference back home compared to here is, many students need to be told the answer multiple times and don’t understand the questions that are asked to get them to think deeper, but this is because the kids who I work with back home have all cognitive disabilities and are very low functioning. For teaching purposes and the students to be able to understand the information that is taught, my teacher back home tells the students the information that they need to know through a learning activity, and then repeats it several times. It takes the average student who has special needs over 1,000 times more repetition than a student who doesn’t have special needs. Both of my teachers all assess students through paper methods and focus on each individual student.

Another difference in pedagogy styles is that my teacher at home focuses students to work independently on a task. He has never had group work, but that is again because of their high needs and most of the time they require assistance from a teachers aid when doing a task in class. My teacher here in Den Haag focuses a lot on group activities and group work within the classroom. The difference is that the students in Den Haag are general education, high functioning, independent, students who benefit bouncing ideas off of each other and gaining more understanding through working with others.

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3 thoughts on “Learning theories and Pedagogical Styles at BSN

  1. Joy,

    I think it is great that you have been able to have these two different placements where you can really analyze what works for some students and situation and what works in others. As someone who wasn’t really introduced to the Socratic method until college, I found it incredibly frustrating (almost as if the teacher was playing a game with us), but I can see how it would be really beneficial to use that method in primary school. If students grow up with that kind of learning, the kind where they are asked questions to find out the answer for themselves and to learn by doing, I think they will be significantly more successful later on. Both the constructivist theory and the Socratic method require students to think outside the box and make connections between past learning/experiences and what they are trying to accomplish. It also gives students a chance to work together. All of these things will make these students more avid learners and problem solvers when they enter the workplace. Thanks for your post. It was really interesting!

  2. Joy,
    The classroom you describe almost seems to be the “model learning environment” for children and teacher. I still am pondering why such a big turnover in staff with that type of school situation. How are the salaries/benefits?

  3. Dr. Petesch,
    Salaries are equivalent to what teachers would make home back in Wisconsin. Their benefits are lacking from what I have been told. My cooperating teacher told me that they do not receive as good of health benefits as teachers receive in the United States. I think the reason for the big turnover rate is that these teachers are traveling teachers. They move from one British school to another every few years to have continuity teaching subject materials but at the same time are able to travel to different countries and explore the world. For example, if I were to get hired at BSN I could either sign a one, two, or three year contract. Most teachers leave after three and move somewhere else.

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