RUNNING HEAD: READING PHILOSOPHIES Reading Philosophies ? Reading Philosophies Leaning is a process is which knowledge is gained. How it is obtained, has lead educational theorist to debate which style of learning is best for literacy. From Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Lev S. Vygotsky, people have searched for a universal approach that all children may benefit from their expertise. Two such concepts, constructivism and explicit instruction have been discussed throughout the years. Each has its benefits and depending on what type an educator feels is prevalent in their class, the choice is primarily theirs.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) popularized the theory of constructivism. Constructivism style of learning allows a child use exploration as part of their learning process. The students have the opportunity to use prior knowledge to apply to new applications being learned. Whether the prior knowledge is accurate or not, constructivism gives them the chance to reinforce what they knew to be true or change the former way of thinking to achieve a new outcome. The ordinary reading and listening in a classroom does not exist but a more hand on approach. This permits the students to have an active learning experience.

It is thought, that while attempting to figure out a problem or question, if a student is permitted to explore, they retain the information since it is self-taught. It is the teacher’s responsibility to create an environment that promotes student investigation as well as making the classroom as engaging as possible. “Constructivists rely on teaching practices that are rich in conversation” (Draper, 2002). It is through dialogue that the teacher is able to hear what the students have learned. As they speak amongst one another for a project or schoolwork in general, a constant flow of ideas is exchanged amongst them. Explicit instruction is a systematic instructional approach that includes a set of delivery and design procedures” (Pollard-Durodola, 2009) that is structured based. This style is teacher lead instruction that the students adhere to. The instructor is responsible for the students to learn a focused and carefully planned out lesson. The children learn by listening and watching as the teacher speaks. Students learn the same way and are given the information they need to form a belief. They are given steps and goals while the teacher guides them.

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Students will repeat a skill repetitively, which helps reinforces what is being taught, until it is mastered before moving on. Each subject is broken down into smaller units and taught separately. The teacher speaks aloud and the students repeat and follow what is taught. This style of learning is good for emergent readers. As students begin to put sounds and letters together, correction is needed to guide them on the right path. Even with computer-oriented work, students would participate in skills such as drills and practices. Once again, reinforcement is key. This method is direct and guide throughout. Teachers are providing repeated demonstrations of the skills, understandings, and know-how for their students” (Cambourne, 1999) to follow. Of these two learning techniques, I prefer the constructivist style of learning/teaching. It gives students the opportunity to examine and explore on their own. I believe that if a student has the chance to be in control of their education they will apply themselves. Since the children would use knowledge gained from experience, they will apply it to the new information. As each grade progresses, a child bring with them thought processing skills that they have acquired.

That information then is added to. This can be especially useful in subjects where exploration and observation is involved, such as science and math. When science experiments are being taught, students are allowed to draw conclusions from the information they have observed. It gives them the ability to make decisions based on their findings. There is no right or wrong answer to the conclusion that they come to but only an explanation of how they came to it. Students enjoy discovery and it allows them to “share the ownership of knowing” (Oldfather, 1992) what they have learned was attained by what they have done.

Since this style of teaching is “is a collaborative process” (Muth & Kiser, 2008), so it is best if the students work with a partner or within small groups. This way, they will have someone to share their hypothesis or theories with. Even though I chose a constructivist view as my choice, I think it is important to maintain a classroom where everyone is able to grasp the lesson that is being learned. This method of teaching may not work for all students since not all students learn the same. There may be instances where a more explicit style may be needed for those who need more guidance and structure.

As an educator, it is my duty to ensure that all children in my charge learn what is necessary for them to be successful. Therefore, a classroom that can balance both styles of learning would be more conducive that trying to attempt to only implement one. ? References: Pollard-Durodola, S. D. , & Simmons, D. C. (2009). The Role of Explicit Instruction and Instructional Design in Promoting Phonemic Awareness Development and Transfer from Spanish to English. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 25(2-3), 139-161. Cambourne, B. (1999). Explicit and Systematic Teaching of Reading–A New Slogan?.

Reading Teacher, 53(2), 126-27. Oldfather, P. (1992). Sharing the Ownership of Knowing: A Constructivist Concept of Motivation for Literacy Learning. Draper, R. (2002). School Mathematics Reform, Constructivism, and Literacy: A Case for Literacy Instruction in the Reform-Oriented Math Classroom. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45(6), 520-29. Muth, B. , & Kiser, M. (2008). Radical Conversations: Part Two–Cultivating Social-Constructivist Learning Methods in ABE Classrooms. Journal Of Correctional Education, 59(4), 349-366. ?


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