Integrating Theory and Practice
What we saw that realated to these theories in our teaching placements.
  • Scaffolding - Intoduction of the question mark and the concept of what a question is. This idea was scaffolded to the children through varied literacies. For example group reading and modelled writing development.
  • Catering lessons to disabilities - such as ICT tools to increase development.
  • Indepenent reading - at their own abilities.
  • Lessons based on meaning of their own world - Literacies were used to help Prep students to grow their own seeds. The Big Book was on How seeds grow. The produced written steps on what their seeds needed to grow.
  • Development of visual literacies - Examples are Indigenous art in a special skilled classes such as Art.

Lev Vytosky
Lev Semionovich Vygoysky (1896 - 1934) was a Russian pychologist who was interested in the symbolic processes of language, and how word meanings change from emotive to concrete to concrete to abstract. He beleived that higher cognitive proceses are socially developed.

  • children consruct knowledge
  • learning leads developent
  • learning occurs in social context
  • language plays a central role in intellectual development
  • the zone of proximal development

John Dewey
Theories surrounding education promote a children centred approach through constructivism including Les Vygotsky, Jean Piaget and John Dewey. The constructivist approach to teaching believes that teachers must not simply dispense their own knowledge, but rather engage their students through experiences so they construct their own knowledge. (Tompkins, 2010 p.8)
John Dewey took a practical approach to social constructivist theory believing the classroom should replicate the child’s community to allow them to engage in ‘authentic learning’ (Hill, 2006 p.3). He noticed as a school headmaster that children’s minds were treated ‘as a passive and reluctantly receptive organs’ (Egan 1980, p.38) and attempted to contrast this. He believed the child’s mind was naturally active and should be utilised to ‘explore the world’ (Egan 1980, p.38). Dewey supports the idea that children undertake a process of inquiry and must explore how they learn and how their knowledge develops by asking questions. (Hill, 2006 p.3)
What does this mean for teachers?
  • Teachers must listen to their students
  • Give clear directions through activities
  • Encourage thinking
  • Allow children to think about how they learn
  • Teachers must not merely ‘dump’ their own knowledge into the heads of students
  • Provide cultural resources which will guide inquiry

Placement Example:
Whilst on placement at one of our schools, a teacher of a Grade ¾ class ensured her students were always thinking about what the topic was and encouraged them to ask questions to facilitate their own learning. A blog was used regularly and students were to write two sentences; one explaining what they liked about the topic they started and the other about what they want to know more about. Dinosaurs were the topic and children created their blogs with questions and the teacher used this information to direct learning in other lessons. Children’s questions were answered by themselves as they did not rely on the teacher to tell them what the answers were but were encouraged to locate the information they needed.