Teaching and Learning

A2 Level Psychology OCR

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Piaget (stage theories)

Children's brains need to pass through stages of development if they are to reach their full potential.

Piaget suggest that learning should be child-centred.

Readiness plays an important role of when a child is able to learn certain things depending on their stage of development e.g. a child in the preoperational stage won't be able to understand volume.

Teachers should teach according to the level of which a child is at (Learning by discovery, readiness and Appropriate materials).

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Vygotsky (social constructionism)

Suggest that interactions with others are more important in learning, other people are needed to stimulate cognitive development.

Scaffolding is where other people assist a child's cognitive development.

Could be by making suggestions or doing demonstrations to create a framework.

Eventually the child will need less and less help.

For it to work it needs to take place withing the child's Zone of Proximal Devlopment (ZPD).

ZPD is the difference between the problem solving a child can do on their own and the problem solving they can do with a more able peer or adult.

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Bruner (spiral curriculum)

Agrees with Vygotsky that social interaction is important for cognitive devlopment and he made some important suggestions for education:

The spiral Curriculum.

Motivation (teachers should encourage active interest).

Language (discussions can bring about deeper understandings and other perspectives).

Discovery Learning (shouldn't just learn fact but should learn by exploring and discovering facts, also helping them learn about the process of acquiring knowledge).

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Watson and Skinner (behaviourist)

Watson Believed that human behaviour is a result of specific stimuli triggering specific responses, and these responses could be changed quite easily and a result of experience.

Little Albert associated the loud bang of a metal bar with a rat, so became afraid of rats.

Skinner believed that the stimulus response is also affected by consequences e.g. reward and punishments, his theories are fundamental to the education system.

Students work for things that bring positive experience e.g. praise and avoid things that bring negative expeiriences e.g. failing exams.

Habitual behaviour are developed from those that a repeated and reinforced regularly, this is why it's important teachers develop a routine with classes.

Lack of reinforcement will mean the behaviour will be changing, so that's why teachers will try to ignore bad behaviour.

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Curry's Onion Model of Learning Styles

Pulls together 9 of the main learning strategies/ theories together as more than one strategy can be used at a time.

1) Instructional preference (outermost layer of onion)- the preferred type of learning environment.

2) Information processing style (middle layer)- the way in which a student takes in and processes information e.g. whether they learn by senses or by association or codes etc.

3) Cognitive personality style (innermost layer)- consists of the personality dimensions e.g. how the student's traits influence their approach to learning.

The closest a layer is to the centre, the more permanent and unchangeable it is. This model can be used to categorise learning styles and adjust learning methods to make the process as effective as possible for the student.

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Riding and Raynor (1999) (differences in cognitive

They devised a four part model of cognitive styles. The model classifies individuals by the way they perceive and remember information, and by their preferred approach to using information in problem-solving.

1A- Wholist: Likes to see the complete situation first.

1B- Analyst: Likes to see the constituent parts first.

2A- Verbaliser: Prefers to learn through written/spoken words.

2B- Imager: Prefers to learn through diagrams or pictures.

Different individuals will use the various cognitive styles to different extents.

(visualise on a cross image like eysank)

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Learning Styles

Rose's VAK model.

Honey and Mumford's learning styles.

Farkas- Found that students who are taught in line with their learning styles showed greater knowledge, empathy and more positive attitude towards the teaching, than those who experienced traditional teaching.

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Gardner (multiple inteligences)

Suggests we have several types of intelligence which are independent of eachother (different cognitive structures)

Logical-Mathematical, Verbal-Linguistic, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily- Kinaesthetic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal.

Added an 8th intelligence to his model, Naturalistic Intelligence.

Used a wide range of methods e.g. psychometric tests and case studies.

If used in education it would give a broader approach to learning.

Has be criticised for its vagueness, and people believe some are just talents rather than intelligences.

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Ausubel (expository teaching/ advanced organisers)

Expository teaching/reception learning can be seen as the opposite of discovery learning.

Teacher organised where knowledge should be constructed along a pathway organised by the teacher. This pathway should consist of a series of links which allows each new idea to be related to a previous one (subsumation).

Could be seen as the traditional approach to learning.

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Bruner (process of education)

Cognitive, discovery learning.

Believes learning requires more active engagement.

Students will develop a positive attitude to learning seeing it a journey of discovery, they should be challenged to question and organise knowledge for them selves.


Believes that students will learn better following a spiral curriculum.

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Mercer (guided construction of knowledge)

Justifies the process of cooperative learning and linguistic scaffolding as follows:

Knowledge is contructed in language, its symbols, words which facilitate both personal though and the communication of those thoughts between individual minds.

Teachers therefore need to mindfully employ language in the construction of their students knowledge, to use words and reshape their thoughts.

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Self-Brown et al. (classroom structure)

When objectives are set for students they then to focus on narrow, specific outcomes. But when they gain some control over their own leaning goals, they become more interested in the educational process and in learning, becomes more than just a necessary requirement.

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Boaler (educational approach and gender in teachin

Expository (Ausibel) Vs. Discovery (Bruner).

Girls performed better with Discovery Learning.

Expository Learning best suited boys.

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