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by: Alecia Notetaker
Alecia Notetaker
Western Oregon University

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HST 201D
Professor Rector
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alecia Notetaker on Monday August 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 10333 at Western Oregon University taught by Professor Rector in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see HST 201D in HST at Western Oregon University.

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Date Created: 08/22/16
Alecia Falck ED 342 Assignment 4 Many theorists have different thoughts on a multitude of different concepts. When looking at Piaget and Vygotsky, their theories involve the cognitive development, and in our case we focus on elementary aged students. Both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories on cognitive development have commonalities and differences. Each of their theories has important implications in the classroom that teachers could benefit in using. Piaget’s and Vygostsky’s theories have an end goal of allowing each student to actively construct an understanding of different concepts by themselves. Along with this, both theorists express their beliefs on reducing the amount of time a teacher lectures to the class. If teachers can minimize this time, it gives the students a greater opportunity to explore and reach their own understandings of the concepts being taught. Giving students a great deal of time to discover and realize things on their own allows them to retain much more of the information because they have connected the concepts to their own experiences. With this, both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories explain how important social interactions in the classroom benefit all students. By giving students time to discuss their discoveries with each other, it allows them to comprehend ideas that might not be as clear. This permits the students to reach proficiency of a concept at a quicker rate. With Piaget and Vygostsky’s theories having similarities, there does come a few differences. Piaget’s theory revolves around getting each student to find his or her own cognitive equilibrium. He sees each and every individual student as being self-motivated to discover and learn new things. If teachers can give the students the tools they need, Piaget believes they will find ways that work best for them to understand the new concepts. Since Piaget believes students construct their own paths to understanding new knowledge, he finds that too much social interaction can cause distractions to find their equilibriums. Even though this is the case, Piaget still finds some benefit for implementing social interaction into learning. Occasionally utilizing social interactions when necessary, gives the teacher time to assess where the students stand in their level of cognitive development. On top of this, social interactions give students the opportunity to compare ideas they have come up with. An example of this would be to give the students a word problem giving them time to individually try and apply new concepts. Once they have worked through it, the teacher can give students a short amount of time to discuss how they got their answers with the other students in class. This with give students time to see different ways of finding the answer, finding out if they answered it incorrectly, and gives the teacher time to assess where each student stands with understanding. Implementing Piaget’s theory inside the classroom involves giving the students concrete and simple examples. By starting with this, the students see the path they need to head in, but not how to get there. Along with this, the teacher needs to give students solid experiences with learning new concepts to lead them into more abstract ideas. An example of this could be when a teacher teaches about 3-D shapes and volume. You can give students a chance to experience how volume changes or doesn’t change between different 3-D shapes. Once the students develop new skills the teacher can encourage them to take a step further in their cognitive develop. With the 3-D shape example, once the students have physically manipulated volume themselves, the teacher can ask the question of “why?” the volume may or may not change between the different 3-D shapes and sizes. This begins to lead the students into more abstract thinking. Lastly, Piaget’s theory guides the students in the classroom to developing new skills, finding their equilibrium, and having their cognitive development build off a previously concept to advance their learning development overall. Vygotsky’s theory is based off of a path where knowledge is constructed. He believes that when students are constructing new knowledge it occurs first when discussing concepts socially, and then the students begin to individualize each idea. This is different from Piaget’s theory, because he didn’t believe the social aspect had as great of an impact on knowledge construction. When a student is able to discuss ideas with other students they begin to understand the concepts more, and make individual connections to reach equilibrium at a quicker rate. Along with this, when students talk amongst themselves they learn different students view points. It is the variety of view points that lead the students into understanding the concepts being discussed, as well as learning how different cultures frames individuals views on select concepts. Vygostsky’s theory also suggests incorporating cultural contexts within the student’s daily learning. This will not only open the student’s minds to a diverse world, but they will have a deeper meaning into all their learning. Again, Piaget doesn’t focus on this aspect within his theory, which sets Vygostsky’s theory apart. Furthermore, a few ideas in Vygotsky’s theory deal with scaffolding. Scaffolding is when a teacher starts supporting the students more in their activities and instruction. Once the students begin to understand the concepts being taught, the teacher starts to reduce his or her support. This idea of teaching allows the students to move through the zones of development at a quicker, more effective rate. To implement Vygotsky’s theory into the classroom, teachers can scaffold their teaching. An example of this could be working along with the students to find key ideas in a research paper, to then write a research paper about. Ideally the teacher would lead the student’s do a good deal of the work, and slowly reduce their responsibilities to the students. This will allow the students to understand the skill they are being taught, and feel more confident in doing it. When looking to utilize social interactions into the classroom, the teacher can imbed them within classroom activities. For example, a teacher could give students a small cup of M&M’s. Then, he or she would have the students count how many of each color the student had. As a class they would begin to build different graphs of how many of each color M&M’s they had. In this activity, new concepts of graphing would be taught as well as social interaction being implemented. In many cases, when a teacher has full classroom activities there will be a small aspect of social interactions that will benefit the students. Following Vygosky’s theory, the teacher can ask for students to explain their thinking in any activity they do. For instance, if the teacher is reading with a small group and asks about aspects of the story they just read, she is asking the students to use their words to describe their understanding with evidence. Lastly, to incorporate cultural contexts the teacher could simply just read a book with the class that has a different variety of cultures. Once the story has been read the teacher can have more background information of that select culture and allow the students to discuss amongst themselves. Additionally, as earlier stated, incorporating a cultural aspect can be as simple as letting the students talk to one another and see how their different cultural background influence their thinking. By incorporating a cultural aspect into the student’s daily lessons allows them to have a wider range of understanding and diversity. Overall, both Piaget’s and Vygosky’s theories have some similarities and differences. Piaget and Vygosky’s focus is having the students go down a path to construct knowledge and reach their cognitive equilibrium. Although both theorists’ may have different ways of going about constructing knowledge, they both focus on the benefit of the student. When comparing and contrasting each theory I believe incorporating aspects of each theory, depending on the situation, will be in the best interest of the students. Classroom Community of Learners I have not only seen this implemented in every classroom I have volunteered in, but I have used it myself in my summer job. I never knew this concept had an official name, but I believe it is such an amazing and important idea to constantly try and achieve in the classroom. Having a learning environment where everyone is working together like a team is so positive. I have used this technique in my summer job teaching kids different sports. Even though I have a wide age range of kids from 5-12, I have found that if I use this technique it’s not only positive but everyone improves from it. Using the community of learners gives everyone the motivation to work hard, so they can continue to move on together. On the other hand, if someone is falling behind students are open to working together to get on the same page. I will constantly stay mindful to utilize this into my own classroom. Cognitive Apprenticeship I have seen and used both teacher- student apprenticeship, as well as student- student. I never knew this concept had a particular name, but after reading about it I thought of a handful of times I have used or seen this implemented. More often than not cognitive apprenticeship is used in the everyday classroom. I personally enjoy seeing it used between student- student because the students both enjoy it, and concepts are taught in “kid language” where they understand it to a greater effect. In my own experiences with tutoring, I found when one student is the apprentice to the other the student who does not understand the concept he or she doesn’t feel as behind. All in all, I believe cognitive apprenticeship is a vital concept that should be put to use in our every day classrooms. Social Constructivism New learning depends on current understanding. I thought it was so interesting when the author gave the example of two people talking over a topic they don't have complete understanding over, but after they talk with each other, they both end up having a deeper understanding. I believe that this concept is how most people end up truly understanding and learning new ideas. I have experienced this multiple times just last term in each of my classes. When learning a new topic, I would not completely understood at first, but when I talked with another student in the class we would bounce each other's thoughts off one another until we both had a deeper understanding of the concept. I think the idea of social constructivism so important because it allows the students to take what the teacher says and compare their understandings amongst themselves to get on the same page. Social constructivism quickens all students understanding to allow them to build off that knowledge and continue. New Learning Depends on Current Understanding Learning and gaining knowledge is like building a building. You have to start with one block at a time and build up from there. The concept of new learning being dependent on current understanding works the same way. We gain knowledge on what we have previous learned. When volunteering in the second grade class I always found it interesting to look at student’s pre and post math tests and see how they came up with their answers. By looking at the different ways a student answers the questions shows how much they know, the prior knowledge the students used to get to their answers, and how they comprehended the new concepts. From looking at theses tests, a teacher can see where each student is in their "building" process, and allow them to grow and learn from there. Experience With the Physical World It is easy as teachers to just give our students formulas to questions, or just tell them the way something is. When we do this, our students end up getting the answer, but don't understand the reasoning behind it. As the author gave the density example in the reading, the students didn’t understand what density was until they could physically manipulate it for themselves. By allowing our students to manipulate and physically try things for themselves we give them the tools to comprehend what we are trying to teach them, instead of them just memorizing the answer to get it correct. I have had my own experiences with this, and when a teacher lets me experience things, and manipulate objects for myself it's the experiences I remember. In the education math courses at WOU, having to use manipulative to show a concept allowed me to finally understand what formulas actually meant that I was given back in high school. As the author mentioned, having experience with the physical world becomes key to their cognitive development.


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