Introduction: Understanding Educational Theory
Episode #1 of the course The theory of education: Effective learning and teaching by K.C. Finn
Welcome to the course!
I’m K.C. Finn, multi-award-winning, and best-selling author of Young Adult, Fantasy, and Horror fiction. I have also been a teacher and educator for most of my life, and am currently a doctoral student researching Education at the Ph.D. level. As I work towards my doctorate, I learn more and more about the many different facets of teaching and learning. I can tell you from professional experience that such practical applications do work once you have a fully rounded philosophical understanding of how they work.
And that’s where this course comes in. Over the next ten lessons, we’ll explore how many different theories of education have evolved over the years, and how these theories influence traditional teaching today. From there, we expand on different philosophies and ideas which educational research shows could be highly beneficial to different types of learners, which will enable you to decipher your learning style, and also tailor-make teaching and learning experiences for yourself and others.
So, onto the first lesson. In lesson one, we’ll explore the different approaches to learning, which involve core values like motivation, external/internal factors, and various types of people who may benefit from the course. This will enable you to set your own goals moving forward and access the course material in a highly personalized way. So let’s get straight into it.
Why Do We Want to Learn?
The issue of motivation can be a tricky business because many of us choose to learn for different reasons. Sometimes we are obligated to attain specific qualifications for our jobs. In contrast, at other times, learning becomes a fun way to spend our time and engage in skills we are already interested in. Interest in the subject matter is undoubtedly a great aid to motivation. Still, it doesn’t mean that we can’t switch our brains onto higher levels of learning and engagement even when the topic is difficult or seemingly dull to us. During the course, we’ll explore different ways that learners can connect their learning to their wider world and the motivations they may have for wanting to achieve new skills and information.
Action point: As you move through the lessons of the course, be sure to examine where the motivation for the learner is going to come from in each scenario, and ask yourself why you would want to learn in that situation.
Outside vs. Inside Influence
Educational theories often explore the intrinsic factors (internal motivations, thoughts, beliefs, and interests) that we have, as well as the extrinsic factors (money, job success, requirements, and demands) that life presents us with when we want to learn and improve our skills. Both of these factors will have positive effects on our learning as well as barriers that may need to be overcome. As a teacher, it can be essential to identify barriers in your students. As a learner, you need to know what drives you, but also what might hold you back to overcome it and be successful on your educational journey.
Action point: As the course progresses, remember these keywords intrinsic and extrinsic, and try to identify the different moments when different factors may affect the teaching and learning of a given situation.
We Are All Learners, and We Are All Teachers
It may surprise you to think of yourself as a teacher if it’s not your current profession, but we do all teach others within our lives. Whether it’s explaining or training other people who are less experienced in our chosen career path, imparting knowledge to children and younger relatives, or simply explain our perspective on an issue to a friend, all of these are valid moments where we assume the role of teacher. No matter where we come from and what our experiences are in life, we have all been through learning, whether it is from our community and friends or in more formal institutions. This gives us all a great foundation to share these experiences and learn from one another through research and interaction.
Action point: Understanding teaching helps us to be better learners, and vice versa, so as you progress through the course, try to look at each exercise from both sides of the experience.
In lesson two, we take a look at the traditional classroom learning techniques that many of us will already be familiar with, particularly the idea of ‘teacher talk.’ Known technically as the Socratic Method, we’ll explore how this idea is still useful today, but also some essential modernizations we can make to improve our learning and teaching.
This course covers an essential foundation in learning theories, but there are many more. To get the full scoop on how we learn from many different experts, check out this great list.
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