The Three Learning Theories

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This essay will discuss the different perspectives and emphasis each learning theory, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural, place on the individual, their environment and their behaviour; as well as which would be best suited to use for phonics lessons in the early childhood education classroom.
The three learning theories, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural all place a different emphasis on the relationship between learning and the individual. As O’Donnell et al., (2016) defines, learning is “a relatively permanent change in behaviour or knowledge that occurs as a result of experience” (p.235, 2016). Behavioural learning theorists place little emphasis on the individual and their role in learning, claiming that learning is a reaction
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Behavioural learning theorists place strong emphasis on the effect changes in the environment has on behaviour, they believe that all students can arrive at the same learning when the environment is perfectly presented (Ertmer & Newby, 2013).. Behaviourists believe that the environment is one of the most important factors claiming it has a significant impact on the individual’s behaviour. Cognitive and Behaviourists are similar in the way they both design learning goals with a clear objective in mind. However behaviourists believe in a teacher centred classroom and cognitive believes in the impact the environment can have on learning opting for a more student focused style of teaching (Yilmaz, 2011). The sociocultural learning theory is unique in this perspective as it opposes teacher instruction that interjects and leads learning towards a predetermined outcome. Instead sociocultural believe learning occurs when the learner is actively and socially involved in their environment and therefore the environment needs to be student centred and foster learning with the goal of deep meaning making (Richardson, 2003). As a result there is a stark contrast between behavioural and sociocultural learning theory and their view on the impact of…show more content…
Behavioural learning theory believe that behaviour is predictable, and because it is predictable it can and should be corrected, encouraged using techniques such as rewards, punishments, and behaviour ques to achieve desired behavioural responses from students (Weegar & Pacis, 2012). Is contrast, cognitive theorists place emphasis on the relationship between the individual and behaviour claiming that each individual will interpret the same event or situation differently and their behaviour will reflect this difference, meaning that no two children will react the same way to a certain punishment or reward an therefore behaviour cannot be predicted and behaviour management needs a more individually tailored approach (O’Donnell et, al., 2016). Socioculturliasts believe behaviour is learnt from socially observing peers and then imitating their behaviour, they also value intrinsic motivation, believing that if a lesson is student centred the student will be motivated to stay on task and create deep meaning (Richardson, 2003). Consequently there is no absolute solution to perfecting a learner’s behaviour and a combination of all three theories in the classroom would likely produce best

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