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Learning can be defined in many different ways. Wikipedia defines 'Learning' as acquiring new knowledge, behaviours, skills, values or preferences. Each individual learns in distinctively different ways. Answering the above question depends on the way you define the nature of which one learns. Cognitive psychologists might claim that learning is the study of how information is sensed, stored, elaborated and retrieved. However, Behaviourists think differently. The might argue that learning is the modification of behaviour brought about by experience. Others would stress the importance of learning to learn, or learning as a reflection on experience. Constructivists argue that learning is primarily concerned with how people develop different conceptions and constructions of reality, while Humanistic psychologists believe that personal growth and development are at the heart of learning. Bransford et al (2006) illustrious three major strands in research on learning; implicit learning as information is acquired effortlessly; informal learning takes place at home and among other surroundings and Design for formal learning and beyond referring to learning from educational institutions. Some Educators argue that learning is inherently active and therefore students must do more than just listing (Chickering and Gamson 1987). Engaging in such higher-order thinking tasks such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation will help students in this regard. This suggests that strategies promoting active learning may be defined as instructional activities involving a student doing certain tasks and thinking about what they are doing.
Students learn, with varying degrees of success, through reading, memorising, thinking, writing, note-taking in lectures, observing and listening to and talking with others. By doing these things they may learn in structured situations such as lectures, courses or learning packages; in informal situations, such as browsing through books or on the Net; and through casual conversations with peers.
However, these above descriptions of how students learn do not explain how students learn, nor do they account for why students learn.
These different views of learning bring implications for course design, tasks from the teacher, methods of teaching, the construction of learning opportunities and methods of assessment. Hence it is important for teachers to have knowledge and understanding of how different students learn.
Therefore, a thoughtful and scholarly approach to skilful teaching requires that the teacher becomes knowledgeable about the many strategies promoting active learning; all having been successfully used.
Section 2 - Theories of learning (500 words)
Provide a concise outline of at least two different theories of learning.
There are three sets of learning theories generally used in educational circles, under the headings of behaviourism, cognitive psychology and constructivism.
The most important behaviourists were Thorndike and Skinner. Other learning theorists such as Pavlov, Watson, Guthrie, Hull, and Tolman had the similar views for learning. This consists of change in behaviour based on the acquisition, strengthening and application of associations between stimuli in external environment and observable responses of the individual connections.
Behaviourism is concerned with observable, measurable behaviour. For behaviourists, learning is the modification of behaviour brought about by experience. Its roots are found in early twentieth-century American psychology and time-motion studies in industries. Its first strong advocate was Watson (1913) and its next great advocate was Skinner (1973). Both held the view that inner processes such as memory, thinking and feelings had no place in a scientific psychology. Concern with introspection, the brain and the nature of knowledge were eschewed. To understand learning, all that was required was a careful analysis of the inputs (stimuli) and outputs (responses). All behaviour was learnt and anyone could learn anything provided the right conditions were created and they were not handicapped ('disadvantaged' or 'challenged'. The 'American Dream' was woven under these conditions.
Thorndike's variant of behaviourism is usually called "connectionism". For Thorndike the connections between stimuli and responses are controlled by different law of learning, the most important being "law of effect" and "law of exercise". For example, the presentation of 2 + 5 would bring upon an individual response of 7; this is called a stimuli-respond bond or connection. A response to a stimulus is strengthened or reinforced when it is followed by a positive rewarding effect, and this occurs automatically without the intervention of any conscious activity. When a teacher gives positive feedback, for example: "that's correct" strengthened the stimulus. Furthermore connections become stronger by exercise and repetition.
In contrast to Thorndike, Skinner described human nature as being the product of one's environment. Change the environment to change the behaviour. Reinforce good behaviour, punish bad behaviour.
Skinner (1953) developed his variant behaviourism known as "operant conditioning". Skinner argued that his operant conditioning was immediately applicable to classroom learning even though it was based on experiments with pigeons and other animals. Learning is considered as the stepwise or successive approximation of the intended complex behaviour.
Behaviourism is about the understanding of learning. This theory originated in the US in the early 1900s and was an exciting adventure for experimental psychology up until the mid-1950s when it became apparent that it could not succeed. Cognitive revolution was the result of the shift from behaviourism to cognitive psychology (Gardner, 1985). As Chomsky remarked, defining psychology as the science of behaviour was like defining physics as the science of meter reading. If scientific psychology were to succeed, mentalist concepts would have to integrate and explain the behavioural data. Learning is seen as the acquisition of knowledge. The 'learner' is an information-processor who absorbs information, performs cognitive operations on it and stores it in memory. The learner is the passive recipient of knowledge seen as a commodity dispensed by the teacher (Sfard, 1998). The most important cognitivist were Koffka, Kohler, Lewin, Piaget, Ausubel, Bruner and Gagne who view the learning process as an internal mental process including insight, information processing, memory, perception.
The teachers' responsibility would be to structure the content of the learning activity. Teachers may use Cognitive development, intelligence, learning or memory as a function of age.
Constructivism is an educational methodology which asserts that learners should be taught in a way that allows them to construct their own understandings about a subject. The purpose of the teacher is not to cover material but to help the child "uncover" the facts and ideas in a subject area and to help them to 'construct' new ideas.
Section 3 - Evaluation of Theories (500 words)
Describe the strengths and limitations of each theory of learning
Evaluates the strengths and limitations of each of the theories of learning
One of the main strengths of the behaviourist approach is that it focuses only on behaviour that can be observed and manipulated. Therefore, this approach has proved very useful in experiments under laboratory conditions where behaviour can be observed and manipulated, especially in relation to the IV (independent variable) and the DV (dependent variable). The behaviourist principles of learning have been, and continue to be, tested in the laboratory where learning can be objectively measured.
The strength of instructional design grounded in behaviourism is that when there are specific goals to be met, the learner is focused clearly upon achieving those goals whenever there are cues to prompt the learner's behaviour. Kuchinke (1999, p. 51) succinctly states, "The strength of this framework lies in its ability to find quick responses to well-defined problems." However, since behaviourism is stimulus - response based, instructional design is dependent on the workplace or classroom having and maintaining the appropriate stimuli to continue the intended behaviour. Thus, if a certain incentive is not present or does not occur, then the expected and desired performance may not take place.
A weakness that comes to mind is that the approach ignores human beings' complex thought processes (cognition) and emotions. In Social Learning Theory, Bandura (1977) has revealed that cognitive factors cannot be ignored if learning is to be understood. Bandura has pointed out that it is knowing, having the information, that certain behaviours will be rewarded or punished that shapes behaviour just as much as the rewards or punishments themselves. For example, Little Johnny knows he will be smacked for touching the electric fire, and that is why he does not touch it.
Cognitive-focused instruction has the potential to provide more meaningful learning to the learner with a longer impact. Merriam and Caffarella (1999, p. 254-255) conclude from the work of the cognitivist, Ausubel, that "learning is meaningful only when it can be related to concepts that already exist in a person's cognitive structure. Rote learning (behaviourism-based), on the other hand, does not become linked to a person's cognitive structure and hence is easily forgotten". Further, Ausubel also stated that "cognitive objectives are well suited for describing higher levels of learning."
A major weakness of cognitive psychology lies in its strength. Whereas schemas help to make learning more meaningful, a learner is markedly at a disadvantage whenever relevant schemas or prerequisite knowledge do not exist. To account for this, a designer will need to ensure that the instruction is appropriate for all skill levels and experiences. Designing such instruction could be costly and time-consuming.
One additional weakness of cognitive psychology is similar to behaviourism in the belief that there are only finite, pre-determined goals. Having pre-determined goals may be in fact desirable for an organization since it offers clear direction and purpose but such a fixed set of expectations can limit the potential of the learning. Learners and instructors may become satisfied with obtaining minimum competencies or carry the attitude that "if it's not broke, then don't fix it!" when the learning experience could actually be designed better.
Section 4 - Links to Teaching Area (500 words)
Show how each of the different theories of learning can be applied in one of your teaching areas. Provide specific examples to show the link.
Shows how each theory of learning can be applied to one teaching area. Provide illustrative example(s).
Behaviourist tradition in mathematics teaching and learning
Skinner registered four significant things about learning according to the psychological theory of behaviourism. Firstly, each step in the learning process should be short and should arise from early-learned behaviour. Secondly, the learning process should be rewarded and reinforced regularly, at least in the early stages, as behaviour is shaped by the pattern of reinforcements in the environment. Thirdly, feedback should be as immediate as possible and fourthly, the learner should be given stimulus for the most likely part to success (Skinner 1938). Mathematics, in the behaviourist theory, is seen as an objective, given and absolute structure of knowledge. Knowledge consists therefore of fixed facts and products, which can be expressed with words and symbols. The knowledge, which a student achieves, must be measurable. It assumes that the more facts students control, the more knowledge they have. Behaviourists are not concerned about what is happening inside the learner, as that is not available for direct observation and measuring. Teachers' duty is to the most effective way to transfer knowledge to the learner. When mathematics teaching stresses algorithmic skills or procedures and correctness of answers at the expense of mathematical understanding, education becomes a product, which must be consumed rather than the student's own, active learning process (Burton 1989). Clements and Ellerton (Neyland 1995) describe this kind of teaching strategy as following: "The main agenda of many students was to try to look for words, symbols, diagrams and sequences of actions (on a calculator, for example) that would help them to get a right answer. Such students are not really worried if they fail to understand what the teacher is getting at-they believe that if they can get the correct answers, then they understand."
The behaviourist conception of mathematics as a fixed hierarchical structure creates a model of teaching, which is often based on a lecture demonstration model in which teaching is mostly telling and showing. That means, if we want someone to know what we know, we tell him or her and/or show him or her. Unsuccessful teaching tends to be remedied by repeating the curriculum content, breaking the communication into smaller parts, and finding different ways to express the idea to be grasped. Knowledge, in this situation, is symbolic and isolated; learning does not typically motivate students or provide them with problem-solving skills they can apply to other situations.
The conception that mathematics is unconditional and absolute together with traditional working forms and methods has caused difficulties for teachers to create such learning environments, which start from students' mental processes or prior knowledge (Ritchie & Carr 1992).
The formal teaching model has also been called 'direct instruction' in mathematics (Good & Grows 1978; Peterson & al. 1984). With this form of instruction it is relatively easy to find the following familiar sequence of events: an introductory review, a development portion, a controlled transition to seatwork and an individual seatwork. According to Burton (1989, 18) the pedagogical processes, which are most common in the traditional (direct) instruction of mathematics, deny the influence of the individual or the social context and present an artificial world of confidence, exactness and objectivity, which is associated with power and control. Burton also declares that by validating a depersonalised model of mathematics, which rest upon knowing and 'expertness', we reinforce this hierarchical view and ensure that mathematics remains aloof and uninteresting for most people of society (Burton
1989, 18). Textbooks have also a high status in learning environments, which are described by direct instruction. But the effect of the textbooks in mathematics instructions has not been well investigated. The standard mathematics
16 Iiris Attorps lesson often begins with some initial examples from a textbook and then follows with new mathematical content presented by a teacher. After this, students work with their exercises in their textbooks, and homework is a further exercise. Thus the textbooks constitute an authority in the classroom.
Social messages hidden in texts are unquestioned by teachers and students because the textbook is a manifestation of the authority implicit. This is especially the case in mathematics, perhaps because the sterile and axiomatic presentation form of mathematical contents on academic level reinforces authority and status of the mathematical texts in textbooks (Lerman 1993).
There is a lot of evidence that direct instruction may not provide an adequate base for students' development and for students' use of higher cognitive skills. The research on misconceptions (e.g. Vinner 1983, 1991) has for example, shown that direct instruction causes a lot of misconceptions across topics and achievement levels. These misconceptions appear to be resistant to the direct instruction (Clement 1982; Vinner 1983). Research to develop teaching that helps learners to overcome their misconceptions has focused on the need for the learners to make their mental models explicitly (e.g. Novak & Gowin 1984; Vinner 1991). The studies of the misconceptions specially point out a necessity to develop alternative teaching forms. For example, such instructional models which encourage problem solving and peer group teaching of mathematics in the classroom have stressed the necessity to help teachers take risks and to develop flexibility in the subject matter ( Dunkels 1996; Brandell & Lundberg 1996; Simon 1997). All this research has a constructivist idea of learning.
Although the curriculum in mathematics, is based on the constructivist view of learning and although the behaviourist view has been criticized, behaviourism has still a large influence especially in mathematics teaching (Magne 1990; Kupari 1999; NCTM 1991; 2000). It is therefore relevant to ask why behaviourism is so deeply rooted in mathematics education. Skemp (1976, 13) has reflected on some possible advantages of instrumental teaching of mathematics, which is characterised by rule understanding rather than conceptual or relational understanding. According to Skemp, an individual teacher might make a reasoned choice to teach for instrumental understanding (Skemp 1976). Several other barriers also lead to the fact that the instrumental and behaviourist tradition is so closely linked with teaching of mathematics. According to Kupari (1999, 43), it is not easy to change mathematics instruction when external claims like national or standardized tests force teachers to instruct according to curriculum or students to learn according to fixed aims.
Teachers' success, if it is measured at all, is often determined by their students' standardized test scores. Success on such tests usually requires more instrumental knowledge than higher-order thinking. A growing emphasis on standardized tests also influences teachers' practice-sometimes they alter subject matter to teach just to the test (Rowan 1990), or use 'direct instruction' methods in order to 'get through' material quickly. Also, teachers' conceptions and beliefs of mathematics, mathematics learning and teaching bring about traditions concerning mathematics teaching are not easy to change (Pehkonen 1994, 1998a, 1998b, 2001). As Battista (1992; cf Leino
1994) notes, teachers are interested in students' learning of mathematics but teachers' limited conception of mathematics and its nature are barriers to instructional changes. Additionally, parents and students often have a more static view of mathematics.
As Donovan (1990) pointed out, parents often define what mathematics is, at least in terms of what they want their children to learn. Even students share a rather static view of mathematics (see Schoenfeld 1992). Obviously there are several barriers, which lead to only infrequent instructional reforms in the constructivist direction
Cognitivism in mathematics teaching and learning
cognitive processes entail operations on mental representations, which are internal mental structures that correspond to a segment of the world. Mental representations are often viewed in terms of networks of interrelated ideas, with the degree of understanding determined by the number and strength of the connections (Hiebert & Carpenter, 1992). As Hiebert and Carpenter remarked, the notion of connected representations of knowledge provides a useful means of thinking about mathematical understanding. It provides an effective link between theoretical cognitive issues and practical classroom issues. This is evident in contemporary curriculum documents, such as the Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1989), which calls for specific instructional activities designed to "connect ideas and procedures both among different mathematical topics and with other content areas" (p. 11). Interpretations of students' learning in terms of connections between mathematical ideas encourages us to critically analyze the structure of our curriculum and the instructional methods we employ. It is therefore important that we review some of the major forms of mental representations and the contributions they can make to mathematics education. We do this in chapters 2 and 3.
Cognitive science has also had a significant bearing on our knowledge of, and emphasis on, mathematical problem solving and reasoning. Most of the popular theories of problem solving are derived from the early information-processing models of human cognition, such as Newell and Simon (1972).
Cognitive studies of problem solving behavior encouraged mathematics educators to provide students with a repertoire of general problem-solving heuristics (in addition to a solid body of domain-specific knowledge). The classic work of Polya (1957) provided the framework for much of this development, as we discuss in chapter 8. However, simply providing students with these heuristics is of little value unless they know when, why and how to use them, and unless they make a conscious effort to monitor and reflect on their actions (Lester, 1989; Lester & Garofalo, 1982; Schoenfeld, 1985a, 1992). This is where metacognition comes into play. The seminal work of the eminent cognitive psychologist, John Flavell (1976) highlighted the important role of metacognitive processes in learning and development. These processes have since been recognized as a significant component of mathematical problem solving (e.g., Lester & Garofalo, 1982; Schoenfeld, 1992; Silver, 1985; Silver & Marshall, 1990).
In conjunction with this emphasis on problem solving, has been the call for the development of students' so-called higher order thinking skills, such as critical and creative thinking, and inductive and deductive reasoning. These skills have received a good deal of attention in the literature and are considered essential in all curriculum domains (e.g., Beyer, 1987; Fennema & Peterson, 1985; Halpern, 1992; Lesgold, 1988; Paul, 1990; Peterson, 1988; Resnick, 1987b; Resnick & Resnick, 1992).
Analogical reasoning plays a particularly important role in human cognition and has significant implications for children's mathematical learning, as we indicate throughout this book. Although the use of analogy has received considerable attention in the cognitive literature (Gentner, 1983, 1988; Halford, 1992, 1993; Holyoak & Koh, 1987; Holyoak & Thagard, 1989, 1995), it has not hitherto received as much attention in the context of children's mathematical learning.
Cognitive science has led to a greatly expanded knowledge of intelligence, both natural and artificial, and the field is progressing very rapidly. Its importance to mathematics education is that it provides the most detailed insights that are currently available into the way concepts are represented, and into the processes that are used in learning and reasoning. It provides the most scientific method yet devised for analyzing the real psychological processes that underlie mathematics. It offers great promise for increased efficiency in mathematics education, and it has been the single most important influence on the approach adopted in this book.
However, although the detailed models and data bases of cognitive science are a great benefit, the hypotheses it suggests for mathematics education are necessarily subject to verification by applied research, and by actual application in the classroom and in the home. The link between cognitive science and mathematics education is therefore bidirectional, because the feedback provided by the application of scientific principles in the classroom can help develop the science that generated those principles. Mathematics education and cognitive science can provide a useful stimulus to each other.
The current mathematics education scene has also been shaped by societal developments. These include improvements in technology, changes in world society and in international competitiveness, perceived declining standards in students' mathematical attainment, and changes in the mathematics and in society's need for the discipline (R. W. Howe, Blosser, & Warren, 1990). We address these developments in the next section.
Section 5 - Links to Teacher Practice (300 words)
What do you anticipate will be your role as a teacher in supporting the learning of students?
Discusses the impact of theories of learning on teacher practice. Provides a general comment as well as reflection on personal practice.
Many teachers believe that traditional instruction, including drill and practice, may be more effective for students with lower intellectual abilities (Talbert & McLaughlin 1993). This would suggest that teachers are less likely to use innovative instructional techniques if they be Traditions lieve their students need training in basic skills. However, the model of learning on which traditional teaching is based is not explicit. Teachers' conceptions of effective teaching in this model have developed in the context of thousands of hours as students in the traditional classrooms (Simon 1997). Burton (1989, 17) describes the model by using the two metaphors-'the filling of the empty vessel', that means the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student, or 'the peeling of the onion', the uncovering process already described. Many teachers combine both of these images by transferring firstly knowledge and skills, and secondly by helping the unsuccessful student to recapture the taught knowledge. These two metaphors are linked by the conception that transmission of knowledge to students is possible. Freire (1971) called this conception of teaching a 'banking' perspective. One consistent in this teaching model is a heavy emphasis on rightness, both on solution and method. Another consistent is a clearly defined curriculum, which is evaluated by examination of its contents. Teachers' duty in this tradition is to transfer knowledge to the learner on the most effective way (Skinner 1938; von Wright 1992).
The purpose of school education is to develop young people who can prosper in a modern, globalised world, a purpose that can only be realized through the daily work of teachers and school leaders. The role of the system is to help develop a culture of continuous improvement in schools that provides teachers and leaders with opportunities to participate in high quality professional learning.
The central office and regions of the Department of Education & Training are working in partnership to translate the research base into effective professional learning opportunities for teachers and school leaders through a coherent and integrated set of initiatives. The system continuously collects and analyses student, school and system data in order to assist schools to monitor their individual performance and develop the capacity to manage their own self-improvement. The provision of a flexible, transparent accountability framework provides the means for spreading effective practice across the system and for becoming more responsive to immediate and future school needs in terms of planning and achievement.
The system plays a critical role in raising awareness and encouraging debate about what teachers and school leaders need to know and be able to do to improve student learning. The system promotes and engages teachers, schools and the wider education community in professional conversations to facilitate the development of a shared language for describing effective schools, effective leaders and effective teachers. Using research-based models and guiding principles to focus attention on the correlates of school effectiveness, the system designs strategies that provide schools, leaders and teachers with the incentive and opportunity to reach beyond their current practice and performance.
A teacher plays an important role in providing an engaging teaching and learning environment.
Dolmans, Wolfhagen, Schmidt and Van der Vleuten (1994) argues that a teacher's performance towards his or her teaching assumes an important influence on the quality of an educational program, and eventually on the competence of graduates. In a similar point of argument, Albanese (2004) asserts that the function of the teacher alone is able to flourish or crush the outcome of students' participation in the teaching and learning process. In the traditional teaching and learning environment, teacher normally dominated the classroom instruction while students passively receive the knowledge conveyed by the teacher.
Boud and Feletti (1991) also points out to the lack of students' participation in a traditional teaching and learning environment. Boud and Feletti (1991) asserts that conventional teaching and learning process was criticized for the inadequate awareness in encouraging teamwork and development of skills of enquiry. Normala Othman and Maimunah Abdul Kadir (2004) also points out that in the traditional teaching and learning environment, students are spoon-fed with information from textbook materials.
Hence, it was an absolute necessity for students to take the dominant role in the teaching and learning process. Ng (2005) argues that optimal students' participation in the teaching and learning process is imperative to ensure the students are able to effectively practice self-regulated learning strategies. In order to achieve these skills and qualities, it is imperative for the students to have more time for reflection of what they have studied, for deliberate reflective reading, for assimilating the best of the original literature in each field. Given these circumstances, teachers should encourage studentcentered learning rather than teacher-centered teaching.
The shift in the teacher's role from a dominant information feeder to a facilitator offers, as
Normala Othman and Maimunah Abdul Kadir (2004, p.4) puts it, create "many unique opportunities for teachers to build relationships with students as teachers may fill the varied roles of coach, facilitator, and co-learner". Moreover, a healthy student-teacher interaction weighs profoundly in a learning process, and is seen as a major scaffolding of knowledge for the learner. Hendry, Ryan and
Harris (2003) further argue that some teachers were too dominant in their teaching. A teacher being too dominant in his or her teaching may trigger tension and conflict in a group which may eventually lead to lack of commitment, cynicism and/ or student truancy. On the other hand, if the teacher is too submissive, then the students as well as the learning process might also come to a halt.
As Charlin, Mann and Hansen (1998, p. 324) establishes,
"Learning that occurs in a meaningful context will also be more easily retrieved than that which is acquired in isolation. The similarity between the context for learning and the context of future application facilitates the transfer of knowledge. However, many different contexts must be experienced in learning to build a fund of connected, usable knowledge."
Therefore, the teacher should play the role of a mediator conveying and digesting information from one situation to another. Steinert (2004) stresses that student appreciates a teacher that is able to relate, expand and digest the present situation into other situations. Therefore, it is evident that a teacher who fails to be equipped with the appropriate skills in delivering information might actually disrupt the entire teaching and learning process. Thus, as Margetson (1994) suggests, the chief task the teacher is to assume is to make certain that the students make progress towards digesting the aim of the subject content as they identify what is needed to be learned, and establish how they will organize themselves to pursue the learning in preparation for the next lesson.
In a student-centered learning environment, teachers were encouraged to question, probe, encourage critical reflection (Margetson, 1994), provide necessary and adequate information, abstain from harsh feedback, and become fellow learners (Aspy, Aspy & Quinby, 1993). Moreover, teachers should also establish an environment that puts students at ease to voice his or her opinion and not get penalize for the 'wrong answer' or succumb to ridicule by their peers. For instance, the trainer should create an environment where students may make mistakes or to simply admit not knowing the answer
(Mierson & Freiert, 2004).
Review of literature also strongly suggests for teachers to advance practices of peer learning in a student-centered learning environment. Peer learning were often the preferred choice as it is normally perceived as a complement to the repertoire of instructional activities. Peer learning is also an essential strategy in effectively practicing self-regulated learning strategies (Pintrich, Smith, Garcia & McKeachie, 1991). Boud (2001) characterizes peer learning as a reciprocal learning activity that benefits both the participants and acquiring shared knowledge, ideas and experience. Sampson and Cohen (2001a, b) asserts that individual instructors believe that peer learning frequents the students' occurrence of learning as it allows them to share information and experiences with their peers as well as developing the skills to acquiring information. Boud (2001) further stated that mutual learning assumes much weight in the learning process given that the vital skills of effectively learning from each other were needed in life and work. In the following, Boud (2001) brings to attention some of the potential learning outcomes of peer learning: (i) working with others, (ii) critical enquiry and reflection, (iii) communication and articulation of knowledge, understanding and skills, (iv) managing learning and how to learn, (v) self and peer assessment, and (vi) self-directed learning.
Santrock (2001) also managed to bring into discussion some, though not limited to, of the characteristics and role of teachers in an active learning environment. First, teachers should adapt their instruction as accordingly to the developmental levels of the students. Teachers were suggested to monitor students' learning cautiously as each student receives, analyze, assess and reflect information at various levels. For instance, the Bloom's Taxonomy provides for an excellent alternative to manage and monitor students' learning. For instance, teachers are encouraged construct learning objectives based on the six levels of knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Second, teachers should pay attention to individual differences in learning. This is especially true when each student is unique and he or she comprehends information at different pace and ease.
Taking into account these individual differences, teachers must take the initiative to engage them in active learning. Santrock (2001) further mentioned that teachers play various roles in bridging the students and the learning process. Evidently, meaningful learning does not only takes place in the classroom but more importantly includes and reflects on the students' experiences. Third, teachers must constantly assess their students as an integral dimension of the teaching and learning process. For instance, teachers must analyze the students' perception of their expected learning outcome and compare it to the learning objectives outlined in the course structure.
As a conclusion, this topic highlights on the important role a teacher shoulders in shifting students from a passive role to an active role in a teaching and learning process. Specifically, some characteristics of a teacher as grounded in the constructivism theory of learning are established. For instance, teachers are encouraged to guide students to critically reflect on knowledge they acquire and to encourage teamwork among students.