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My description of a simple instruction using Bruner’s 3 modes of cognitive representation would include engaging the learner at the enactive stage where learners learn through movement and actions (McLeod). A good way to demonstrate this representation would be to ask the learner to pick up a book and turn the pages. Knowledge is stored through muscle memory teaching the learner how to identify a book because of its physical structure. By picking up and opening the book the learner is learning that a book must be opened, the pages must be turned to get to the next page, and so on, hence they will recognize a book when they see one.
The iconic stage is when information is stored as sensory images (icons), usually visual ones, like pictures in the mind (McLeod). To include this mode of representation in my my instructions, I would ask the learner to look at the pictures on the outside and inside the book. This way the learner will remember and understand that books may have pictures in them and will later learn to associate the pictures to the messages in the books. Symbolic representation is where information is stored in the form of a code or symbol, such as language (McLeod). In the symbolic stage, knowledge is stored primarily as words, mathematical symbols, or in other symbol systems, such as music. Symbols are flexible in that they can be manipulated, ordered, classified etc., so the user isn’t constrained by actions or images (which have a fixed relation to that which they represent) (McLeod). To include this mode in my instruction, I would ask the learner to read the book and then write an essay on the subject matter. This way the learner would be able to demonstrate the ability to exercise language skills, learning comprehension, and writing skills.
If I were to design the same instruction for someone of a different culture, I would have to consider their culture to ensure learning. The task of reading a book is universal across the globe, but the meaning of pictures and the use of language could easily differ because of culture. For example, A book written and published in Africa may contain African language that is native to Africa and their culture, or may contain English influenced by the British, where some English words are used in different contexts then American English. To make instructions according to such differences, one would have to research the audience and make material they can understand according to how they learn.
Vygotsky’s concept of the zone of proximal development is based on the idea that development can be defined on what a child can do independently and what they can do when assisted by an adult or an instructor. Comprehending all the stages or levels of Vygotsky’s is essential for teachers because they indicate where the child is at a given moment and where they are likely to go. A hypothetical example of an instructional program that makes use of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development is an event where a student is able to understand current philosophy being taught during a class discussion with the instructor but struggles on her own. The instructor works with the student to help them learn how to approach the philosophy book and how to consider the right questions to ask herself when studying alone. The instructor is teaching the student how to comprehend what they are learning alone by strategically teaching them to approach the book and ask themselves the right questions to help achieve their learning outcome. Through planning activities, instructors are able to encompass what the learners are to do own their own and what they can comprehend with the help of others. Through the application of Vygotsky’s theory levels, the instructor can significantly impact the learners learning the outcome. The instructor can use the levels of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development in organizing classroom activities in a number of ways. For instance, the teachers can plan on whether to provide practice in the zone of proximal development for individual students or for a group of students. Consequently, the instructor can plan corporative learning activities at different levels with a group of children who can assist each other in learning. A teacher can also identify areas that require a scaffold to improve learning. Scaffolding is a learning tactic that assists children in their zone of proximal development whereby an adult provides hints or prompts at different levels. However, the instructor’s role is to not simplify the learner’s task but to simplify the role of the learner through graduated innervations.
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The learning process is viewed as a cognitive process that includes the acquisition of skills, knowledge, values, preferences, behaviors, and understanding how to synthesis different forms of information. Several theories of learning and development have been used to influence discussion regarding learner’s readiness. The theories include environmental, cognitive and maturationist theories. Cognitive and maturationist theories are biological theories that contribute to the discussion of learning and development. The cognitive theory states that a learner’s mind works and develops enormously thus impacting the educational theory through assimilation and accommodation aspects. According to the theory, learner’s mind grows up and its capacity increases their capability to understand their learning world. The learners cannot undertake a certain task until they are psychologically mature enough to do so. The development process is not considered smooth because at certain points their thinking takes off and moves off into new areas and capability as they grow. Maturationist theory assumes that development is a biological process that occurs automatically in predictable, and sequential stages over time. This means that learns will acquire knowledge naturally and automatically as they grow physically and become older as long as they are healthy. Both theories support the position that growth and development support the learning process.
If learning and developed turn out to be mutually interactive there would be significant implications on the instruction offering process. For instance, if the outcome of learning and development were mutually exclusive the instruction processes will have to be aligned to favor the learn outing at a given developmental stage. This means that instructional procedures will be designed depending on the development stage of each person and not based on a specific age gap.
Nature refers to all genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are. Nature defines our physical appearance and personality characteristics. Nurture is the environmental variables that impact who we are such as past childhood experiences, how it was brought up, our surrounding culture and relationships. Nature and nurture debate tries to determine whether environmental surroundings, past experiences or inherited life traits and genetics play a greater role in human development and shaping of their personality. Nature stipulates that some things are inborn and occur naturally regardless of the environment they are brought up in. Nature advocates that all our characteristics and behaviors are a result of evolution. Nature believes that people inherit genetic characteristics and behaviors from their parents and this influences each individual’s uniqueness. On the other hand, nurture stipulates that people begin from a blank slate. Everything a person becomes is determined by our experience. Nurture takes the position that all or most behaviors and characteristics are learned. A good illustration of nurture as a concept is elaborated through the empirical behaviorism theory which states that behaviors are as results of conditioning and people can be trained to do or become anything regardless of their genetic background. Based on the above arguments nurture seems to have more weight based on evidence from empirical and conditioning theories explained.
Nurture can be positively applied to educating minority ethnic minorities and other special populations. Ethnic minorities and other special groups have the opportunity to learn based on their past experiences and the surrounding environment. This because nurture empirical and conditioning gives people a blank slate to learn what is beneficial to them. To ensure that Ethnic minorities and other special groups have the opportunity to learn based on their past experiences and surrounding environment their learning environment must be conducive so that the acquire behaviors and characteristics that are acceptable in a diverse society.