In the first few weeks of a Teaching degree one is introduced to the fundamentals of learning theory and there are plenty of them (https://teacherofsci.com/learning-theories-in-education/ ). Every teacher knows that the simplistic nonsense of behaviourism – in and out, reward and punishment, black and white doesn’t explain even the basics of motivation and learning. It’s only in Safety training where you hear this nonsense, BBS is Behaviourism BS!
One of the foundational theories Teachers learn is Social Constructivism, a simple way of understanding that learning is dependent on understanding people socially. A good educator knows how to assess the educational development of a person and then design a structured curriculum and social process for learning suitable for that person.
The founder of Social Constructivism is Lev Vygotsky (1934) who developed three crucial ideas for learning, these are:
· Readiness: The stage of knowledge and skill readiness for a new stage of learning. Eg. when a person is ‘ready’ to ride a bike is dependent on skills in balance, coordination, motivation and observation.
· Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): This zone is the middle point, the dialectical point where one can either go backwards in defeat or forwards in learning success. Often this is that trial and error point where mistakes are made in learning. Of course if you are in the zero cult, then humans are perfect and don’t make mistakes, which of course is the denial of learning.
· Scaffolding: This is the required structure (social, cognitive and physical) constructed for the learner in chunk size bites so that success can be gained from moving up from one skill or knowledge step to the next. Each stage of scaffolding depends on the Educator knowing what each chunk size bite is.
This is just one small element of what a Teacher learns about learning in the first few weeks. Social Constructivism is founded on the assumption of fallibility and the impossibility of zero and so is the beginning of becoming professional. The denial of fallibility is the foundation of unethical unprofessional practice (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/ ).
I often look at what people develop in inductions and training for safety and it is clear that the designer had no clue of the fundamentals of learning theory even less of Social Constructivism. Then, when people don’t learn and comprehend, who gets blamed? In behaviourism its blame the learner not the designer.
Nothing is more certain that anything in safety when it comes to learning:
If you are a believer in zero then you are anti-learning.
If you are a believer in behaviourism then your learning theory will only work well with machines.
If you want to better understand how people learn you can read Tackling Risk, A Field Guide to Risk and Learning (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/tackling-risk/) or do one of the online CLLR modules at: https://cllr.com.au/register-to-study/
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