Those who teach must know how to influence learning processes of others. They must also be concerned with the abilities that human beings can demonstrate with good instruction, whatever their present innate and acquired characteristics. Understanding and nurturing the range and variety of emergent abilities of children and youth-nursery through graduate school -- is a dramatic challenge facing us today. Increasingly, it is recognized that the greatest opportunity for stimulating learning under desirable conditions is in school settings, mainly classrooms.
My purpose in this book is to set forth a theory of classroom learning and to bring together research findings that deal with efficiency of learning. Recognizing that the effects of maturation and learning and of biological and cultural factors are closely related in achieving learning outcomes efficiently, I have tried to bridge the gap between growth and learning as separate entities through use of the concept of human abilities.
Chapter 1 serves as the introduction in which the nature of human abilities and of teaching-learning processes is treated. Specific attention is given in Chapters 2-5 to describing the main components in an educational setting and their relationship to efficiency of learning. The objectives sought, the types and range in abilities and other characteristics of the students, the types and range of abilities and other characteristics of the teacher, and the interactions among the teacher and students are discussed. The treatment of each of these within a chapter is necessarily concise. The References and Suggestions for Further Readings at the end of these and all other chapters are intended to help the instructor and student locate more information readily. Heavy use was made of six books of readings in the Suggestions for Further Readings; these books are more readily available in libraries than are bound periodicals containing reports of original research.
In Chapters 6-10, outcomes of learning are organized and discussed under three headings: Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Affective. In each chapter the nature of the outcomes and underlying processes are treated first; then the developmental trends in acquiring the outcomes are given; and finally the principles for improving efficiency of learning are identified and explained. The principles in these and other chapters are stated as instructional principles, beginning with a verb form; the teacher or other person who guides the learners in informal or more formal settings is the assumed subject.