Three Days to See by Helen Keller

10 October 2016

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Blending the world of Special Education with General Education Constructivism vs Behaviorism In Behaviorism, it focuses in one particular view of learning: a change in external behavior achieved through a large amount of repetition of desired actions, the reward of good habits and the discouragement of bad habits. In the classroom this view of learning led to a great deal of repetitive actions, praise for correct outcomes and immediate correction of mistakes.

In the field of language learning this type of teaching was called the audio-lingual method, characterized by the whole class using choral chanting of key phrases, dialogues and immediate correction. Within the Problem Based Learning (PBL) environment, students may be encouraged to engage with the learning process and their peers within the group by positive reinforcement from a skilled facilitator to increase positive actions of engagement, contributions and questioning.

Negative behaviors e. g. lack of engagement, negative contributions, could be minimized by the facilitator using negative reinforcement. Within the behaviorist view of learning, the “teacher” is the dominant person in the classroom and takes complete control, evaluation of learning comes from the teacher who decides what is right or wrong. The learner does not have any opportunity for evaluation or reflection within the learning process, they are simply told what is right or wrong.

The conceptualization of learning using this approach could be considered “superficial” as the focus is on external changes in behavior i. e. not interested in the internal processes of learning leading to behavior change and has no place for the emotions  In Constructivism, it explains how knowledge is constructed in the human being when information comes into contact with existing knowledge that had been developed by experiences. It has its roots in cognitive psychology and biology and an approach to education that lays emphasis on the ways knowledge is created in order to adapt to the world.

Constructs are the different types of filters we choose to place over our realities to change our reality from chaos to order. Von Glasersfeld describes constructivism as “a theory of knowledge with roots in philosophy, psychology, and cybernetics” Constructivism has implications for the theory of instruction. Discovery learning, hands-on, experiential, collaborate, project-based, tasked-based are a number of applications that base teaching and learning on constructivism. Bruner (Kearsley, 1999) provides the following Summary of the principles of constructivist learning: . Readiness—the child must have the skills needed to complete a task and instruction must be concerned with the experiences and contexts that the child needs to be able to learn. 2. If the task or activity is too difficult or if the child does not have the past experiences to help her process what she needs to do to complete the task, it can essentially set the child up to fail and discourage future exploration of new activities. 3. Past knowledge and problem-solving skills help the child solve new problems that are more complex.

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