Teaching Theories An Annotated Bibliography Research Proposal

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First, he states that teachers can learn, from their students, how to best affect their classes. Through talking with their students, teachers can learn in what those students are interested. Teachers can learn what teaching styles best affect them, what can engage them. This can help them better relate to their students as teachers, portraying their subjects in a way that students can understand. In addition, Corbett argues that teachers can learn from their students by re-learning what it is like to be a beginning learner. They can do this by taking a class themselves or by writing the papers that they assign to their students. Thus, they learn the pain and suffering that many students have to go through in order to learn. Thus, Corbett's major theory is that both students and teachers exist in a symbiotic relationship in which they learn from one another.

At first, many teachers may react to Corbett's piece without surprise. They may think that what he is theorizing is not revolutionary, but on closer look, it is actually both revolutionary and important. Corbett argues not that teachers need to find a way to affect their students, but that they need to view the learning process as reciprocal -- two sources of instruction and two benefactors. If teachers view their classrooms this way, it is likely that they and their students will find learning a much more beneficial and easy process. Students and teachers who are not caught in a power play can better learn for the sake of learning, instead of for the sake of setting up a hierarchy. On the other hand, Corbett's article raises questions of authority. Classrooms must still have an authority figure, and in the modern system of education, they must be geared toward some type of completion. The class that looses itself in discussion may not prepare the students adequately for the vocation into which they will enter. Thus, Corbett's piece has positive implications for the classroom, but teachers must use them with caution in order to avoid problematic situations.

Elbow, Peter. (1994). Writing for Learning -- Not Just for Demonstrating Learning.

Accessed June 28, 2005, at http://www.ntlf.com/html/lib/bib/writing.htm.

In his article, "Writing for Learning Not Just for Demonstrating Learning," Peter Elbow discusses theorizes that writing can be a useful tool that teachers can use to impart learning. In this article, Elbow argues that two types of writing exist, high stakes and low stakes. While high stakes writing is the kind that is used to "demonstrate learning" (1). This is the type of writing that many students do on tests and in-class essays. On the other hand, "low-stakes" writing is writing "to learn, understand, remember, and figure out what you don't yet know" (1). Elbow argues that this might not be considered "good writing," but it is an effective tool for getting students to learn concepts, in addition to being a good way for teachers to gauge whether or not the students have learned the concepts that they have been teaching. Elbow lists several types of writing exercises that the teacher may have his or students complete in order to teach them. In class writing can fall into the categories of journal writing and think pieces. In journal writings, the students "connect what they are studying with the rest of their experience, thoughts, and feelings." In this way, students engage with the material, understanding its importance, in addition to its applicability in the classroom. In addition to journal pieces, Elbow proposes that teachers use think pieces in order to encourage their students to think about the novel. Still not a formal essay, think pieces are structured like "thoughtful letters to an interested friend." Not only do these pieces encourage students to think about the course material, but they also encourage students to come to class with their reading already completed, ready to engage in learning. The final type of writing that Elbow discusses is writing to demonstrate learning. These formal essays can be based on the previous journal entries and think pieces, but they are an exploration of the learning they have managed to complete.

Peter Elbow's piece theorizes that teachers can use writing to encourage students to learn and be responsible, in addition to simply assessing that learning. By using these strategies, teachers can really grasp what material the students have learned, and what they still need to understand. This takes some of the guesswork out of teaching, and allows students to target just the materials that students are having a hard time grasping. This practice writing is also important because it encourages students to become familiar with the writing that they will need to use to demonstrating their learning in many courses. On the other hand, teachers who focus on this method of learning may overwhelm their students. With large amounts of writing, students may lack learning simply because of their exhaustion. Thus, Elbow's theory is valid, but must be used in moderation.

Dahms et al. (2008, November 8). The Educational Theory of Lev Vygotsky: an analysis.

Retrieved December 9, 2008, at http://www.newfoundations.com/GALLERY/Vygotsky.html

In their article, "The Educational Theory of Lev Vygotsky: an analysis," Dahms et al. discuss the life and educational theory of one of Russia's greatest educational philosophers. The authors do this by giving an introduction to Vygotsky's life, as well as describing eight of his teaching theories. They begin by introducing the educational philosopher, who died at the age of 38 after living though some monumental moments in history. He was born in Czarist Russia a Jew, and was one of only 5% of Jews allowed to seek higher education. Though he was not permitted to enter the field of teaching, he jumped at the chance to do so after the Communist revolution, though Stalin's rule repressed much of his work. Himself a Marxist, Vygotsky's theories on child development and educational psychology were impacted by issues of society and production.

Vygotsky's ten theories, as addressed in Dahmas et al.'s article are the theory of value, the theory of knowledge, the theory of human nature, the theory of learning, the theory of transmission, the theory of society, the theory of opportunity, and the theory of consensus. First, Vygotsky's theory of value considers what is important for one to learn. For Vygotsky, that question could be answered by looking at the individual student, who is the motivator of education and has a unique set of educational goals. In addition, Vygotsky states that the goal of education is to increase development, with special regards to one's culture and society. Language and problem solving skills were of utmost importance to Vygotsky. Next, his theory of knowledge considers what is to be learned, and distinguishes knowledge as that which is gained through past experiences, social situations, and the environment. His theory of human nature asserts that humans can only be understood in the culture that they find themselves in; and his theory of learning suggests that this process is necessary for cultural development. As a Marxist, Vygotsky's theory of society can be interpreted as one of his most influential. Vygotsky saw society as "the bearer of cultural heritage." It is society, according to Vygotsky, that gives a child the language he or she needs to communicate. Furthermore, Vygotsky suggests that society "happens in schools," meaning that the school is the creator of society, which is then "incorporated into the larger society." This view of society colors Vygotsky's theory of opportunity. Because society does the education, all in society are being educated, he suggests. Finally, Vygotsky's theory of consensus cites class struggle as the primary focus of disagreement and conflict in society. As Vygotsky was a Marxist, and this is the central tenant of Marxism, this theory makes sense.

Thus, "The Educational Theory of Lev Vygotsky: analysis" suggests several key educational theories developed by the Russian theorist Lev Vygotsky. Because of his background, his position as a Marxist, and his innovative ideals, this theorist made many contributions to the field of education. The theories contained in this piece outline a basic understand of Vygotsky's perspective on education, in addition to informing the reader about different educational theories that could be applied to their classroom. Many of Vygotsky's educational theories, like the theory of society, have immense applicability to today's classroom. Teachers should ask themselves: Do schools still make up the society? How do our theories of education shape society? While some of Vygotsky's theories, such as the theory of consensus, may be hard to apply to non-Marxist situation, his overall understanding of education, which includes the importance of cultural background, society, and class struggle, is an important lens through which educators can still view their classrooms for questioning and analysis.

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