One of the final projects for my second year in the MAET program was to showcase a reflection on how we believe learning happens. We focused on four practices: behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, and connectivism. In my classroom, I practice behaviorism through Class Dojo. My students learn how to act in my classroom through earning or losing points, and the sound that is associated with each. I believe constructivism is a very practical way of learning, through hands on active engagement. I would love to incorporate more PBL (project based learning) and makerspace activities in my classroom. This upcoming school year, I plan to implement connectivism by having my students use Khan Academy to fill in the gaps of knowledge they are missing, at their own pace. I believe these three theories are important and play a role in learning. However, in my content, I believe cognitivism is the best approach.
Cognitivism is how information is received by the learner, organized and stored in the brain, and then later retrieved. This is very important in math because math skills build upon each other; we take skill and add to them. Education has pushed for students to be able to problem solve and critical thinking. That requires that students know the basics and can recall them to apply to more challenging problems. This type of learning is required for students to be able to do this. Creativity happens when the learner can take all of the pieces of knowledge they know, put it together, and transform it into something new and different.
I believe for constructivism and connectivism to happen, you need cognitivism to apply the skills from that learning theory. In order to take what is found on the internet, the learner must be able to comprehend and process the knowledge. The learner must also be able to sort thought everything on the Internet to decipher what information should be consumed and what should be taken with a grain of salt. The learner must also be able to recall the basics to apply them. For example, in PBL, students are using their knowledge cross curricular to solve a problem or to create a final product of a project. As stated earlier, this is where creativity happens. The learner takes knowledge from different disciplines and combines them to create a masterpiece of learned knowledge.
For this project, I wanted to create something that my students could refer back to. I believe they struggle to learn in math because they are unsure of how the process works.
Below is a rough draft of the poster I had in mind.
I then drafted the poster in Cricut Design Space, since I plan to use my Cricut to cut the letters and images to apply to a poster board.
Below is the final product!
My views on this learning style isn't necessarily connected to my research project or my leadership style. I chose this learning style because I believe it will best benefit my students. My students think that learning math is to be able to memorize facts and example, then repeat these facts and examples back to me on a test or quiz. I want my students to be able to take in the content, process it, and then apply it. To take a day to explain to students how to learn in math class will be beneficial. Although I teach sophomores, Algebra 1 is the beginning of their high school math career. Algebra 1 is the building blocks to the rest of the high school, and post high school, math career. Not only that, but this class can teach a lot of students how to push through and study for a class they do not enjoy. It is easy to set up roadblocks and refuse to spend time with a subject that is not liked. This class is vital for the lifelong learner as well. It teaches the learner the basics of problem solving by taking everything you know and using it to find a solution.
My teaching style is closely aligned with cognitivism. I believe that in math you need to go through the computer-like process to learn the basics. Once the basics are conquered, the learner can then build upon those skills and apply them in complex ways. My favorite math class to learn was Algebra 1. My favorite class to teach is Geometry. Both of those classes are what I think of as "stepping stones." To build upon them, you need the basics. To apply them to higher level math or solve complex math problems, you need the basics. To get better at problem solving and critical thinking, you need the basics. I teach these basics and believe in order to apply them in the future, the best way to learn them is by understanding, retaining, and then recalling the knowledge.
I included that a growth mindset is necessary because in order to learn math, a subject that most students hate, you have to be positive. (Otherwise, the knowledge won't go into the brain because of the mental roadblocks, stopping the brain from allowing it to enter.)