Understanding the Elements of Learning (Part 2)

Manila Bulletin, May 10, 2013 | Go to article overview

Understanding the Elements of Learning (Part 2)


Under the element of design, an effective and low-cost redesign of the learning environment involves using what is available and setting them up in new patterns. Desk, chairs, tables and other furniture can be moved around to suit the learning styles of children. Constant evaluation of how well a new design meets learning objectives should be undertaken.

Many teachers change seating assignments in response to disciplinary problems. Transferring an individual to another seat without changing his or her total learning environment is a little like playing Russian roulette - one never knows what will happen.

Moving the furniture and enhancing the physical environment should be done with the consent and participation of children. They should be made aware of what is going to be created and why, and of the fact that it will take time for them to change. Introducing throw pillows, beanbags and couches may seem revolutionary, but can actually enhance the learning process.

Some children think best in a formal environment, with tables and chairs like in the library or in an auditorium. Others can concentrate better in an informal environment - comfortably sitting on a soft chair, the floor, the carpet or on pillows.

ELEMENT OF EMOTIONS

Life, like learning, has its own developmental stages and situational experiences that may accelerate or hinder growth, and may shape or influence it at work, in school or at home. The flavor they bear, whether pleasant or unpleasant, spices up life in a positive or negative manner.

The more emotionally stimulated individuals are, the better their memory and retention because the experience directly relates to their lives.

Where learning development is concerned, the methods and strategies that children are exposed to may be productive or counterproductive. Emotional stimuli provide a different perspective on how and why they accomplish what they accomplish, what they do, and how.

Children have specific preferences on how to organize and pursue their goals and tasks. They are capable of being motivated even without external factors. Influential factors, like feedback, structures, and tasks, all interrelate with how children want their tasks done.

ELEMENT OF MOTIVATION

When given control and choices, learners are allowed to express themselves creatively and feel affirmed. In using multi-modal strategies, children are motivated to achieve in their specific areas of interest.

It is more important to provide frequent feedback, especially those that elicit feelings of motivation, encouragement and self-affirmation, than to discourage or embarrass students.

The joy of learning should be a cause for constant celebration. Children excel in great feats if highly motivated. This driving force is kept alive when they enjoy day-to-day activities. …

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