Learning Theories: Group Assignment Group B: Social Activism

Each group should do reading and research about their assigned theory, including the following sections in their wiki-based report:

Overview of the Theory

Here are a few of the underlying ideas about learning
for the Social Activism Theory:

John Dewey’s Social Activism theory is often times also referred to as Progressive Education. This theory presents the idea that students should be able to understand actual experiences and be a part of hands-on experimental education. Dewey’s idea was that children came to school to do things and live in a community which gave them real, guided experiences which fostered their capacity to contribute to society. Social Activism was based off of Dewey’s thoughts that learning is active and schooling is unnecessarily long and restrictive.
Cognitivism vs. Social Activism
The cognitivist paradigm essentially argues that the “black box” of the mind should be opened and understood. The learner is viewed as an information processor (like a computer). Cognitivism focuses on the inner mental activities – opening the “black box” of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn. Mental processes such as thinking, memory, knowing, and problem-solving need to be explored. Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions. Learning is defined as change in a learner’s schemata. People are rational beings that require active participation in order to learn, and whose actions are a consequence of thinking. Social Activism believes education occurs through its connection with life, rather than through participation in curriculum. Learning should be hands on and experience based rather than abstract.

Social Activism vs. Social Learning Theory
Social Activism believes curriculum should arise from the student’s interests. The curriculum topics should be integrated, rather than isolated from each other. Social Activists believe that education is a growth, rather than an end in itself which is similar to Social Learning Theory. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory argues that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. This theory encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors. Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action. Social learning theory explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences.

Here is a picture of the mastermind behind the Social Activism Theory, John Dewey

external image uewb_04_img0233.jpg

Below is a Slide Show that gives you an introduction of who John Dewey was, what Education Progressivism means, and what the purpose of education was.

The link below is a YouTube Video of what Progressive Education was like for students in the 1940's.

Progressive Education in the 1940's

Educational Implications-Megan Stoa

  • Students are motivated to learn about things they are passionate about.
  • Teachers strive to make a difference among their students.
  • Students strive to make a difference after learning about issues in our world.
  • Learning is truly meaningful.
  • Students are taught to stand up for what they believe.
  • Students learn through hands on experience.

Technology Implications-Megan Stoa

There are many ways to incorporate technology in with the social activism theory; a few are listed below.

  • Students or teachers could use Wikimedia to get their ideas and feelings across the globe and make a change they believe in.
  • Students and teachers can use any new search engine (wonder wheel, searc-cube, etc.) to research about their concerns and questions.
  • Students can also use video cameras to record a meeting or interview and upload it for others to see.

Listed below are two journal articles on John Dewey and Progressive Education.

Article #1:
Hayes, W. (2007). The Progressive Education Movement: Is it still a Factor in Today’s Schools?, 153-159

This article is about the 21st century education, focusing more on the curricular standards that enforce high-stakes test and less on using class time doing more hands on education like projects, debates or field trips. Teachers today are concentrating on the type of instruction that traditionalists believe will be the most effective in raising these standardized test scores. The article also talked about how President Bush wanted to extend the mandatory testing beyond 8th grade and into high school. This is showing that Progressive Education is becoming less and less known. With exception of some preschools that offer Montesorri and Progressive learning schools but is used by little of the population mostly white upper class liberals.

John Dewey’s Social Activism/Progressive Education theory is about students learning through actual experiences and hands-on experimental education. This article talks about students’ lack of hands-on learning. I think that students would benefit much more if they could do hands-on experiments and learning. I think it’s sad that all of these mandatory standardized tests are keeping the students from projects, field trips, debates, group activities, etc. Some students learn best through these different types of instruction and if all teachers are doing is teaching to meet standards, it makes me wonder how many of the student’s needs are actually being met. Of course it is important that we know where our schools are at in some subjects but I think that the testing could be minimized so a more Progressive Learning approach could be utilized.

Article #2:
Sherman, S. (2009). Haven’t We Seen This Before? Sustaining a Vision in Teacher Education for Progressive Teaching Practice, 41-60

This article talks about why progressive practices can foster a student’s growth in ways that aren’t achieved easily through one-size-fits all (standardized) curriculum. The article highlights differentiation in progressive learning. Differentiation focuses on every student and is characterized as “an approach to teaching in which teachers proactively modify curricula, teaching methods, resources, learning activities, and student products to address the diverse needs of individual students and small groups of students to maximize learning opportunity for each student in a classroom.” The article also talks about Dewey’s influence and his vision for schools on the principles of differentiation and open education. As well as Dewey’s thoughts on how personal relevancy is important for students, how we should be recognizing the uniqueness of every child, how school is preparation for life and how it is important to have an engaged quality in students learning environments.

I thought this was a very beneficial article on showing why having Progressive schools is important. I think that student’s needs should come first and as teachers we need to realize that students learn differently and they are all unique. This is highlighted wonderfully in the article.

Below is a Presentation about the theoretician John Dewey and his Progessive Education/Social Activism theory.

Below is a video that features some of John Dewey's famous quotations:

Concept Map

  • Provide a concept map that integrates the information you've located into a visual drawing using one of the Concept Mapping applications that will be demonstrated in class.
  • Your map must include at least 2 hyperlinks to relevant textual resources, 1 hyperlink to a relevant video, cli part/images to make the concept map visually attractive, and appropriate coloring/organization to clearly showcase the ideas.