Learning Theory (Social Constructivism) ELT

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    29-Sep-2015

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Report on ActivityThe lesson that I observed during the School Based Experience was an English Lesson of year 4. In this class, the level of proficiency is low because when the teacher interacted with them using the English language and they replied using their first languange. She would have to explain in simpler words using English Language to make them understand what she was saying. Based on my observation I found out that the school is listed under rural areas as there are limited facilities and amenities that can be found at the school.The theme that the teacher taught the students during the lesson was World of Knowledge and the topic was on Moving Around. There were three objectives in this topic that the pupils should be able to achieved which are to state at least 7 words to pertaining to subjectverb agreement. Other than that, pupils also should be able to read and identify errors pertaining to subject-verb agreement and lastly is the students should be able to write three simple sentences pertaining to the picture given.The teachers focus in the class was on language skills because there was a group work in the class. Group work requires social interaction between the students which can make the pupils able to exchange ideas on learning and answering questions when there is more people involve in their discussion. The students will learn to adapt and create new knowledge from their friends ideas. Then they will soon apply it in their learning process which can bring more impact on their way of understanding.The teacher used the text book and some reference books for this topic. Besides that, she also surf the internet to get more information for the topic that she was going to present. For the group activities, she gave each of the students some handouts to do together with their group members.The next part is about the activities that the teacher did with the students. The first thing she did was sings song entitled The Wheels of the Bus together. The students really enjoyed the song and they had fun while learning. Then the students were given exercises in which they had to state words pertaining to the picture given. The next activity was constructing the sentences orally. Each of the pupils was given a word, they have to construct it and say the sentences to the whole class. After that, the students were asked to write out the sentences on the board. The next part was the reading part which the students had to read and identify the errors. When they had identified the errors, they had to read aloud the sentences. Lastly they were given some writing exercises. They were asked to write an essay and a mind map.In conclusion, the activity was successfully done.

Learning theoriesareconceptual frameworksthat describe how information is absorbed, processed, and retained duringlearning (Allen, 2012). Learning brings together cognitive, emotional, and environmental influences and experiences for acquiring, enhancing, or making changes in one's knowledge, skills, values, and world views (Illeris, 2004; Ormrod, 1995 as cited in Surgenor, 2010). There are four branches of learning theories that are behaviourism, cognitivism, social constructivism and humanism. In this paper, I will be discussing the social constructivism and behaviourism theory that I observed in a lesson during my School Based Experience (SBE).What is social constructivism? Social constructivism is the way people create meaning of the world through a series of individual constructs. In simpler words, social constructivism emphasizes on the role of modelling. It happens when a child imitates the language skills of adults and repeats it when there is reinforcement. This theory is developed by Lev Vygotsky where he perceived language is central in social interaction, transmission of culture and internal regulation of thinking (Haliza Hamzah, Samuel & Rafidah Kastawi, 2008). Based on my observation at the school I went to during my SBE, SK Simpor, the year two English teacher applied social interaction in his lesson in accordance with the social constructivism theory. In his lesson, the students were set up in groups of four. However, that was not done before he gave the task to the students. The students were first had to listen to his instructions and soon after that they moved into their own groups. The discussion happened in the groups where the teacher acts as a facilitator. He moved from group by group and occasionally asked questions after seeing their answer during the discussion. In a way, the act of asking questions is a way the teacher scaffolds the students. During the teaching session, a more skilled person adjusts the amount of guidance to fit the child current performance (Santrock, 2007 as cited in Haliza Hamzah, Samuel & Rafidah Kastawi, 2008). It will eventually trigger the students to think of why they give such an answer and come up with their reasons.According to Vygotsky, when the students are able to benefit from the experience of interacting with a more knowledgeable person, they are in the zone of proximal development. As cited in the Child Development for Program Pengajian Pendidikan Rendah Pengajian Empat Tahun, Zone of Proximal Development consists of a range of tasks that an individual cannot yet do alone but can accomplish when assisted by a more skilled partner (Goes, 2004; Gray & Feldman, 2004). This is represented in the class in which the teacher involves in questioning the students to promote learning and development.In the group discussion that was held in the class, the students were actively involved in the discussion. They were able to exchange ideas based on the questions asked by the teacher and participated in creating new knowledge from it. This shows that the teacher promoted a quality learning where the students are able to interact with each other and also with the teacher.Since it is almost impossible to use only one theory in a lesson; the teacher also applied behaviourism theory in his lesson. What is behaviourism theory? Behaviourism theory as founded by B. F. Skinner said that punishment or reward has an effect on the possibility of a behaviour being repeated or removed (Mary Wong Siew Lian, 2012) Therefore, this theory is applied to bring about behaviour modification. This behaviourism theory by Skinner is known as Operant Conditioning Theory. There are two consequences listed under the operant conditioning theory which are reinforcement and punishment. In this paper, I will only focus on reinforcement as this was observed in the lesson I observed during SBE. According to Mary Wong Siew Lian, reinforcement can be divided into two; positive and negative reinforcement. In addition, positive reinforcement can be expanded into continuous and intermittent. In the lesson that I observed, the teachers used both positive and negative reinforcement in his class. Firstly, the teacher practiced a continuous reinforcement in his lesson. This is whereby the students who did not focus or contribute during the discussion were scolded. They resulted in being more attentive and actively participated in the discussion. The teacher also had an eye on them and asked them questions to keep them on track. On the other hand, the teacher praised the students for giving good points during the presentation. Besides, the teacher also complimented the students during the discussion whenever he sees or hear good opinions from the students. The students became more motivated and occasionally asked the teacher if they were on the right track. Secondly, the teacher practiced an intermittent reinforcement which is the fixed ratio. The teacher carried out a Star Program with the students where each group will get a star stamped on their note book and the highest total number of star counts will get a mystery gift by the end of the year. The students were seen to be excited to be given a stamp on their notebook soon after the presented their work. The number of stamps was given based on group work. This, in a way, has taught them the value of teamwork and achieving good result together.The positive reinforcement practiced by the teacher can be seen as an effective reinforcement. This is because it has kept his students motivated in doing a good job in his class. The good behaviour will become extinct without the positive reinforcement as the students will continue to modify their behaviour until they get a positive reinforcement (Teaching Guide for GSIs, n.d.). Hence, the teacher must continue the reinforcement to maintain the behaviour of the students.In conclusion, teachers should be able to determine the right learning theory to be used in his or her teaching and learning process. The two learning theories; social constructivism and behaviourism can be applied in class in order to create an effective learning environment in SK Simpor, Kedah. It is believed that if the right theories are used in class, students will perform better and will eventually attain higher achievement and are more motivated to reach a good performance.

ReferencesAllen. (2012). Match shapes. Retrieved from http://jazzpresentation.com/store/ products/match-shapes/Graduate Student Instructor Teaching & Resource Center Home. (n.d.) Teaching guide for GSIs. Retrieved from http://gsi.berkeley.edu/teachingguide/theories/ behaviorism.htmlHaliza Hamzah, Samuel J. N., & Rafidah Kastawi. (2008).Child development for program pengajian pendidikan rendah pengajian empat tahun. Kuala Lumpur: Kumpulan Budiman Sdn. Bhd.Mary Wong Siew Lian. (2012).Learning theories: Behaviorist learning theories[PowerPoint slides]. Unpublished manuscript, Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.Surgenor, P. (2010).Teaching toolkit. Retrieved from http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms /ucdtlt0016.pdf

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