Teaching makes it possible for the teacher to find out what one thinks about the subject being taught thereby boosting student success. Learning science includes understanding learning processes, learning environments, teaching, socio-cultural processes, and the many other factors that contribute to learning. Developmental processes therefore involve interactions between early skills of children and their environmental and interpersonal supports. These supports serve to reinforce the capabilities relevant to the environment of a child and to prune those that are not. The biology of children and their environments promote and regulate learning.
A developing child’s brain is a product of interaction between biological and ecological factors at the molecular level. In this process, mind is created. The ability of students to transfer what they have learned to new situations provides a significant index of adaptive, flexible learning; seeing how well they do this can help educators evaluate and enhance their education. Many approaches to instruction look equivalent when memory for specifically presented facts is the only measure of learning. When evaluated from the perspective of how well learning transfers to new issues and settings, instructional differences become more apparent. Transfer can be explored at a variety of levels, including transferring from one set of concepts to another, from one school to another, from one school year to another, and from school to non-school activities throughout the school and everyday.
There are many different learning methods; teaching is just one of them. We learn a lot on our own, in studying or playing independently. We learn a lot about informally interacting with others— sharing with others what we are learning and vice versa. Through trial and error, we learn a lot. There was apprenticeship long before schools as we know them — learning how to do something by trying it under the guidance of someone who knows how. For example, by designing and building one’s own house, one can learn more about architecture than by taking any number of courses on the subject.
When doctors are asked if they leaned more in classes or during their internship, they answer, “Internship,” without exception. In the educational process, students should be offered a wide variety of ways to learn, among which they can choose or experiment with. They don’t have to learn the same way different things. In boosting student success at a very early stage of “schooling,” they should learn that learning how to learn is largely their responsibility— with the help they seek, but not imposed on them.
The educational goal is to learn, not to teach.
There are two ways in which teaching is a powerful learning tool in boosting student success. One aspect of explaining something is getting up to snuff on anything you’re trying to explain. This is an issue that we all face all the time when something is expected to explain. (Wife asks, “How do we get to Valley Forge from home?” And husband, who doesn’t want to admit that he has no idea at all, excuses himself to go to the bathroom.) This is one sense in which the one who explains learns the most, because in most cases the person to whom the explanation is given can afford to forget the explanation promptly; but the explanators will do so.
The second aspect of explaining something that leaves the explainer enriched, and with a much deeper understanding of the subject, is to satisfy the person being addressed, to the point where that person can nod his head and say, “Ah, yes, I now understand! “Explanators must not only fit the matter comfortably into their own worldview, into their own personal frame of reference for understanding the world around them, but they must also find out how to link their frame of reference to the worldview of the person who receives the explanation, so that the explanation can also make sense to that person.
This involves an intense effort on the part of the explainer, so to speak, to get into the mind of the other person, and this exercise is at the core of learning in general. By repeatedly practicing how to create connections between your mind and that of another, you reach the very heart of the art of learning from the culture of the environment and can learn from the entire world’s experience, also advance your ability to learn from others.
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