What’s in a theory? Should I subscribe to just one? Is everything really so black and white?
Hopefully this isn’t overwhelming or scary to anyone, but really- what’s the ‘best’ theory? Which one ‘best’ meets the needs of our learners? How do we establish the one, clear winner? — Or is there one, clear ‘winner’?
Today’s classroom is vastly different then the classroom of years past. Classrooms and learning look completely different now than they did when I was a student in Elementary school – and they should!
Classrooms of today have diversified and changed drastically in recent history. We have a more individualistic approach, we work to meet the needs of each learner (which is far from homogeneous when we considered things like: behaviors, learning levels, background knowledge, language learners, among countless other factors that influence the plethora of needs within our rooms).
In addition to the diversification of learners needs, we have budgetary constraints, in recent history the amount of support staff allotted to schools changed, while we’ve seen (in many cases) enrollments climb.
Finally, the classroom has evolved because society has evolved, and technology has emerged to the forefront, and as such, technology has become imperative in the education of our children.
So can we afford to have a one-size fits all mentality, when our classrooms are anything but?
I personally think that in order for the brain to develop the capacity for higher level thinking, neuron paths need to be established in order to facilitate those ideas. This means I think we need to follow a combination of theories in order to best meet the needs of all of our students. Additionally, we need to use a combination of theories to drive our practice, in order to move from ‘lower levels’ to ‘higher levels’ of thinking. There needs to be a ‘baseline’ developed in order to allow for independent problem solving and rationalization to occur (in my opinion).
I’ve often considered myself a social constructivist – and I would also say that there’s also value in connectivism and the half-life of our current knowledge, that being said – on a stand alone basis- I’m not convinced any one theory is enough!