Archive for November 20th, 2012


Understanding How Human Beings Learn

November 20, 2012

Take a magical mystery tour

Recently I had a conversation with a music colleague who replied, when asked how things were going at school, “great!” He reminded me that teaching was his focus this year and that he had put changes into place to ensure each student’s success. I recalled a similar year while in the classroom that my goal was to reach every student. It was a transition year that moved me away from “me” and what I was doing, and to the student and their engagement in “their” learning.

So much of good teaching relies on communication and how much I understood about how students learn. While thinking about a blog post for today I went back into my blog drafts, of which I have several, and found one that I had titled Research-Based Principles of Learning: Understanding How Human Beings Learn and the Conditions under Which Human Beings Learn Best. Unfortunately, when I started this draft I saved the title and a list of points (below) and did not include the source. When I googled the title it led me to interesting links and pdfs. As I am sure you know it is easy to meander and go in different directions; I call these “magical web mystery tours”.

What I found was research, websites, and pdfs that had similar lists to what I had found in my earlier draft. The titles included communicating with children, principles of learning, constructivism, strategies for effective teaching, and others. A UNICEF website called Communicating with Children was one of my finds on my tour. It has plenty of resources and a report that focuses on communicating with children through the adolescent period. As I write this post I find myself asking a question that I’ve asked more than once; how does a teacher reach every student, and put what they learn and know best into practice?

For now, I will leave you with this list that comes under the title Research-Based Principles of Learning: Understanding How Human Beings Learn and the Conditions under Which Human Beings Learn Best. I find that it pertains to learners of all ages. And, I invite you to take a few minutes this week and go on a magical mystery tour to see where it leads, and what you might learn.

  • Learning rates vary and prior knowledge is significant to learning new knowledge.
  • Motivation spikes with learner interest.
  • Learning styles differ and intelligence is multi-dimensional.
  • Success breeds success and influences esteem, attitude, and motivation.
  • Mistakes are inherent in the learning process and specific feedback enhances learning.
  • Requisite complex reasoning skills can be taught and learned.
  • Real world contexts/problems enhance learning for the learner.
  • Learning is social.
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