Critically Evaluate Current Theories of Learning

Selecting either a secondary or 14 -19 context, critically evaluate current theories of learning which underpin pedagogical approaches to your specialist subject, and examine ways in which the current curriculum supports and enables these theories to be applied in practice.

“The teacher must orient his work not on yesterdays
development in the child but on tomorrow’s”
(Lev Vygotsky)

For a teacher to be effective they surely must need to understand why they are doing something, and their effect on the children they are teaching. There have been many theories of teaching and learning across the years, many revised, many rejected, but all containing things teachers should be aware of. There are three core areas of child development which link to learning in children, these are the behavioural approach, which seeks to understand learning in terms of a conditioned response to a stimulus, these must be linked over a period of time, and can be seen in the merit mark systems of many of our schools.
The cognitive approach, which dictates children should fully understand their learning and be able to relate and build on personal experiences, and the humanistic approach which sees learners as having more control over their environment and responsibility for their learning, and the motivational approach which hopes to gain interest in its learners, satisfying their basic needs and sowing a seed of inspiration.
To understand these theories gives a clearer knowledge of why strategies work, and how learning can be maximised. Within a health and Social care classroom, many of these theories of learning and development are taught within the curriculum, and as students are more aware of the aspects of the approaches they can benefit more from the teaching and learning strategies used.

Behaviourist approaches contain the belief that by reinforcing certain behaviour we can ensure it is repeated. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist studied reflexes in animals, he...