all students can learn. They learn best when they are provided with an environment conducive for students to reach their fullest potential educationally, socially, and emotionally.
Learning is an internal process in which the learner constructs meaning for themselves from the external stimuli they are presented with in instruction. People learn by building new constructs of knowledge using new information as well as prior knowledge. Learning is a process of understanding concepts not only on the micro-level but also on the macro-level. By understanding both the parts and the whole, a learner is better able to apply their new knowledge in context.
Positive early childhood experiences affect children's achievements and attitudes throughout their school career and lives. By focusing on strengths - what a child can do - development in all areas can be achieved in a positive, natural and meaningful way. With this positive influence, children will gain academic success.
During my studies at Webster University in the Masters of Educational Technology program, I was introduced to the constructivist approach to learning. My understanding of the approach as well as my experience in the field has grown, I have learned the significance of this approach in how I design and present instruction.
Based on my understanding of constructivism, I design instruction to address the large scale instructional goal as well as the secondary goals and aid the learner in understanding the context in which this knowledge will be applied. In this way, the learner can create personal constructs that are meaningful to their needs and prior knowledge.
In addition, the idea of social constructivism plays a part in my design and development of instruction. Social constructivists believe that learning is a social activity in which learners interact with not only their environment but other learners and use these interactions to construct knowledge. In addition, learning is seen as an active process in which the learner is engaged rather than a passive activity. For this reason, I often incorporate appropriate social interactions into my designs to facilitate exchange of information as well as designing instruction in such a way that the learners must interact with the material through problem based scenarios, simulations, or inquiry based projects.
Multiple learning theories have been helpful in applying this philosophy to my instructional design and development projects. I have become familiar with Mayer’s SOI Model, Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Jonassen’s Designing Constructivist Learning Environments theories during my studies as well as others. These learning theories and others influence my design of instruction and provide multiple theories on designing instruction for a diversified learner population.
All children have special gifts and talents. These talents should be recognized and developed throughout a child's schooling through partnership with families and strong community ties. By teacher's idenifying the diversity in children and allowing them to develop areas of strength and interests, children will begin to value and feel good about their special gits while developing an appreciation for and acceptance of differences in others.