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Understanding the Learning and Teaching Process – A Voyage of Discovery

The London School of Management Education (LSME) which has its campus in Barking, East London, is a premier teacher training College. It offers the Pearson BTEC Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training.

In this article, LSME outlines some important concepts that were presented by Professor Peter Jarvis in his keynote address at the International Conference on Quality Management in Education  organised by LSME in January 2015.

Professor Jarvis stated that he believed that “one of the fundamental weaknesses in the preparation of teachers is the fact that we rarely examine either the philosophy of the mind, nor the philosophy of practice – both of which are fundamental to our understanding of human teaching and learning”.

Quality in teaching and learning should be one outcome of quality in the preparation of the learning materials/lessons and of the training of both teachers/lecturers and those who prepare and design the learning materials.

In discussing the importance of training, Professor Jarvis said that if we are to have quality in education we do need trained practitioners – teachers, managers and supervisors who are highly trained so that they can ensure that quality is maintained. Quality itself may be defined by the presence of excellence/expertise in the requisite areas of knowledge about teaching and learning and also a high level of skill in the practice of teaching.

Our experiences occur through all of the senses. Types of conscious experience include visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, taste, experiences of hot and cold, pain, other bodily sensations, mental imagery, conscious thought, emotions and the sense of self. There are also many other forms of experiences, such as desire, day-dreaming, and combinations such as taste and smell, and so on. Every facet of consciousness is experiential and it is from the conscious experiences that we learn – we learn from the act of living. However, we also have unconscious experiences whereby we construct our own reality as a result of our previous experiences and our perception of what we are experiencing, although we are not always consciously aware that we are making this selection. We may have internalised more than we are aware and this is referred to as the unconscious experience.

Human learning is a very complex process, one which we shall never fully understand. Nevertheless, the more that we do understand about it, the better we should be at designing teaching material that is relevant to the learning process.

Learning and Designing Teaching: we have to find a way of making what we want to teach learners relevant to them without needless repetition of what they already know and there are seven elements that we have to consider when designing teaching and learning. These are taken-for-grantedness, disjuncture, experience, reflection/thought, emotion, action, and integration into the biography.

This article concludes by considering taken-for-grantedness and the steps to create a break from simply taking things for granted. We have to encourage the questioning process rather than to think that it is the teacher’s task to provide answers. In this technological age, it is becoming a little more difficult because we are getting used to living in ignorance (apathy) and so we do not always ask questions when we do not understand something. It is important to get students in a questioning mood to create a disjuncture from simply accepting something just because that is how it is. Students should be discouraged from just trying to memorise facts. It is a process of getting students to move from a situation in which they take their world for granted to one in which they question their construction of social reality. This is why classroom teaching and learning should be a voyage of discovery.

Do you aspire to teach? Why not visit the London School of Management Education to find out more about teacher training and how this could meet your aspirations.

Why not visit LSME to find out how you could gain the skills and knowledge to take you students on a voyage of discovery. Go to www.lsme.ac.uk to find out more.

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