Personal Learning Theory

If I had to choose one learning theory, I feel that constructivism probably best matches my personal beliefs about learning.  Constructivism suggest that everyone learns in their own way at their own pace, and that their personal experiences can affect their worldview (and thus learning process).  Also, there is an emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ — and I’ve always found that new information sticks and has more meaning with my students when I make them go through the process of discovery rather than talk at them with a power point. 

Now, does this always work, every time, for every student?  Definitely no.  Also, I think it’s interesting what Leidner and Jardenpaa say about constructivism in theory vs. in practice —  how in today’s classroom of You-Must-Learn-This-Or-Else Standards teachers try to create discovery lessons that guide students to a specific point they ought to learn… when really the theory promotes open-ended learning, with enriching experiences that encourage abstract thought but don’t define where the learning should be taken.  I really wish that society would learn to trust our kids’ natural curiosity and let it bloom once again, because I feel (especially with more frequent, critical standardized testing, starting earlier and earlier, with more strings [$$$/job security/graduation/etc.] attached to results) we have all but completely crushed that innate capacity and want of discovery-lead learning, and without curiosity we’ve become a society of apathy and/or dependency vs. wonder and innovation (at least within the high school classroom, which is all I consider myself much of an expert in :). 

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