Teaching and Learning

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: abbie
  • Created on: 22-01-13 15:17

Theories of Knowledge Acquisition (Piaget)

Stage theory (Piaget):

4 stages in children's cognitive development:

Sensorimotor stage: from birth to about 18 months: learning through senses

Pre-operational stage: from 18 months to about 7 years: when symbols and rules become importants

Concrete operational stage: between 7 years and 12 years: thought experiments become a possibility but still limited by the present world and how its is

Formal operational stage: 12 years and above: thoughts are governed by logical reasoning / cause and effect are considered

1 of 14

Theories of Knowledge Acquisition (Piaget)

Stage theory (Piaget):

4 concepts to expain how children acquire kowledge:

Schemata: mental structure that gives a child a model for what happens when he/she does something

Assimilation: making something new fit eg. a 'slow loris' is something furry, cute and has 4 legs, we can now assimulate it as a mammal

Accommodation: put them into groups from the mindamap that relate to each other eg. Reptiles> Lizard/Snake 

Equilibration: balance of equilibrium and adaption- the process is going on as biological changes and the envioroment keeps going

2 of 14

Theories of Knowledge Acquisition (Vygotsky)

Social construction theory (Vygotsky)

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.

3 of 14

Knowledge Acquisition (Piaget & Vygotsky)

Piaget Vs. Vygotsky

Piaget claimed that children do not need to be taught. they learn because they are drwan ito experiances if a child is taught somehing prematurely that they would have discovered for themselves, this prevents them from completely understanding it. This is a child centered approach.


Vygotsky suggested that the desire to learn is an oucome of learning rather thatn being a prerequisite for learning he also felt that expert guidece is needed to move the child through ZPD, and that without active intervention the child learns less. This is a more teacher centered approach. 

4 of 14

Knowledge Acquisition (Watson & Skinner)

Behaviourist: Watson & Skinner

We acquire knowledge (learning) through interacting with our environment, through a process of trial & error; if a particular behaviour is rewarded (positive), then we will repeat it, if the behaviour is punished, then we will avoid it.  Negative reinforcement involves removing the threat of something – e.g., allowing a child to leave detention early because she has been good.

Operant Conditioning: Behaviourists theory which explains that learning is shaped as a result of reinforcement or punishment.

Positive Reinforcement: this increases the likelihood of a behaviour occurring again by using a plesent consequence after the behaviour has occurred.

Negative Reinforcement: this decreases the likelihood of a behaviour occurring againby removing the stimuli after the behaviour has occurred.

Punishment: This changes behaviour for a temporary period of time.

5 of 14

Personal approaches L (Curry's onion model)

Outer Layer: 

  • Students preferred learning enviroment
  • Most unstable layer
  • Measurement example: LPI

Middle Layer:

  • Students interllectual approach to processing information
  • Relatively stable
  • Measurement example: VAK

Core Layer:

  • Students personality and how it affects learning 
  • Most fixed layer
  • Measurement example: Briggs Questionaire

* LPI: Learning Preference Inventory *VAK: Visual, Auditory, Kenisthetic

6 of 14

Personal approaches L (Curry's onion model)



Validity: has face validity as it does what it says when looking at childrens education 


Nature vs. Nurture Debate: takes in both approaches when explaining different learning strategies 

7 of 14

Personal approaches to L (Riding & Cheema)

Differences in Cognitive styles: Riding and Cheema (1991) conduted a review article on cognitve styles and identified two main cognitive style approaches: Wholist-analytic and Verbaliser-imager

Dimension 1 - ways of organsing information: Either as holist who would read a poem and understand the general message, or as an analyst who would focus on the structures within the poem.

Dimension 2 - ways of representing information: Either as a verbaliser, who likes to use words & language. Or as an imager, who prefers to use visual representations.

8 of 14

Personal approaches to L (Gardener)

Multiple Intelligences: Gardener

  1. Linguistic- ability to use language
  2. Logical- mathematical skills
  3. Spatial- ability to read map
  4. Bodily- ability to move
  5. Musical
  6. Interpersonal- communicate with others
  7. Intrapersonal- understand others.
  8. (added in 1997) Natural intelligence - Understand the environment.
  • MI can improve learning as it can be taught from different aspects
  • Usefulness: this is useful for teachers as it can help children learn in different ways so it stops lessons from getting boring
  • can be unreliable as there is not much evidence to prove this theory works
  • has low validity as there is no clear defintition of measuring and defining MI
9 of 14

Personal approaches L Evaluation

Personal approaches to Learning examines a number of theories about learning styles.

Curry's onion model: A simple design but works well when explaining the relationship between dispositional factors and enviromental factors in shaping learning strategies. in terms of learning style there are competing theories, but the evidence and educational practice are divergent. This is also the case with theories of intelligence, where the research is focusing increasingly on the reductionist model while educational practice has embraced a more holistic appraoach, if one has not received much empirical support.  

10 of 14

Personal approaches to Teaching (Ausubel)

Behaviouist use of objectives and monitoring tasks: Ausubel

  • Ausubel conducted research with advanced organisers, he believed that children learn more when they set their own objective and use something called an advanced organiser to set their own objectives.

Laboratory experiment 

Aim: to test the idea that introducing organisers with new iinformation can improve retention and learning.


Validity: low because it is a lab experiment so not true to life

Control: high because he could control the variables and factors

Reliability: low due to social desirability 

11 of 14

Personal approaches to Teaching (Ausubel)


Ausubel said that his results were nearly significant rather than significant, this then questions the usefulness of the study, and suggests that the particulars in this study may need improving.

12 of 14

Personal approaches to Teaching (Klahr & Nigam)

Cognitive approaches to discovery learning: 


Made the spiral curriculum and discovery learning. Discovery learning is a child-centered apporach, which regards children as active independent learners, this approach suggests that children learn from experiances and which lead them to find key concepts for themselves. The spiral curriculum suggests that children need to first learn the basics and then gradually get on to the more complex stuff.

Klahr & Nigam:

Conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of discovery learning and direct teaching.

Evaluation: appears to be well-constructed and well-controlled test, however we cannot generalise their results to other areas of knowledge or other educational settings. 

Cognitive Approach

13 of 14

Personal approaches to Teaching (Rittschof & Griff

Social constructionist 'co-operative learning': Rittschof & Griffin

Scaffolding: where children are encouraged to work together instead of competing with each other.

14 of 14


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »