The school curriculum will provide learning
opportunities which will enable all students to achieve the learning objectives
to the best of their ability. Meeting the individual needs of each student can
be a monumental task for teachers. But doing so is very important for preparing
these students to become active, effective learners for life. This is a big
leap away from the near factory style “teaching to the test” that has been used
for years. Moving toward a more personal approach can help ease stress on both
teacher and student in the classroom. There are some factors determining
leaners and their needs.
First is the curriculum. The need to be given
appropriate levels of work, to know about what is to be learned, to be set realistic, short term targets, to
have support in the acquisition of component or pre-requisite skills and so on.
Second is cognition. The need to have explanations which are comprehensible, to
have misunderstandings and misconceptions identified and rectified, to be given
‘conceptual scaffolding’ which will enable the organisation of detail or the
elaboration of abstract concepts, to have available such strategies as
concept-mapping, to assist in the development of understanding and so on.
Third is the management of learning. The need to have
support in the self-pacing or management of work, to be assisted in
understanding how to work profitably in groups or teams, to be able to identify
strategies for problem-solving/tackling exam questions/taking
notes/highlighting key points/revising, to develop a strategy for asking for
assistance with problems and so on. Fourth is motivational factor. The need to
be motivated to learn, to expect success and progression in learning, to be
confident, to expect problems to be capable of resolution, to have high but
attainable goals, to recognise purpose in the learning process, to value the
skills and knowledge acquired in school and to have an expectancy that these
are a springboard for future learning and so on.
Fifth is personal factor. The need to have idiosyncratic
personal issues taken note of such as times of crisis or stress, to have
personal circumstances taken into account, such as lack of facilities for doing
homework, lack of parental support or encouragement, to have assistance with
improving personal and inter-personal skills, low self-esteem, to have help in
dealing with peer group pressure and so on. People are not the same. Some
people learn better by reading things. Others learn better by doing things.
Others learn better by talking about them. Some people cannot read. Other
people cannot read English. Some have never had a job. Others have a number of
jobs. Some have short attention spans. Some can concentrate for hours. Some
cannot sit still and need to be active. Others cannot stand up at all. There
are many ways that people learn, and there are many needs that people may have.
The learning needs of people are influenced by their other characteristics.
Human growth and development
Child development theories focus on explaining how
children change and grow over the course of childhood. Such theories centre on
various aspects of development including social, emotional, and cognitive
growth. In order to understand human development, a number of different
theories of child development have arisen to explain various aspects of human
First is Erikson’s Psychosocial Developmental Theory. Erikson’s
eight-stage theory of psychosocial development describes growth and change
throughout life, focusing on social interaction and conflicts that arise during
different stages of development. Rather than focusing on sexual interest as a
driving force in development, Erikson believed that social interaction and
experience played decisive roles. His eight-stage theory of human development
described this process from infancy through death. During each stage, people
are faced with a developmental conflict that impacts later functioning and
further growth. Unlike many other developmental theories, Erik
Erikson’s psychosocial theory focuses on development across the
entire lifespan. At each stage, children and adults face a developmental crisis
that serves as a major turning point. Successfully managing the challenges of
each stage leads to the emergence of a lifelong psychological virtue.
Second is Behavioural Child Development Theories. Behaviourists
believed that psychology needed to focus only on observable and quantifiable behaviours
in order to become a more scientific discipline. According to the behavioural
perspective, all human behaviour can be described in terms of environmental
influences. Some behaviourists, such as John B. Watson and B.F.
Skinner, insisted that learning occurs purely through processes of association
and reinforcement. Behavioural theories of child development focus on how
environmental interaction influences behaviour .These theories deal only with
observable behaviours. Development is considered a reaction to rewards, punishments,
stimuli and reinforcement. Two important types of learning that emerged from
this approach to development are that classical
conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning
involves learning by pairing a naturally occurring stimulus with a previously
neutral stimulus. Operant conditioning utilizes reinforcement and punishment to
Third is Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory.
Cognitive theory is concerned with the development of a person’s thought
processes. It also looks at how these thought processes influence how we
understand and interact with the world. Piaget proposed an idea that seems
obvious now, but helped revolutionize how we think about child development, Children
think differently than adults. His cognitive theory seeks to describe and
explain the development of thought processes and mental states. It also looks
at how these thought processes influence the way we understand and interact
with the world.
Piaget then proposed a theory of cognitive development
to account for the steps and sequence of children’s intellectual development.
First is the Sensorimotor Stage. A period of time between birth and age two
during which an infant’s knowledge of the world is limited to his or her
sensory perceptions and motor activities. Behaviours are limited to simple
motor responses caused by sensory stimuli. Second is the Preoperational Stage. A
period between ages 2 to 6 during in which a child learns to use language.
During this stage, children do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot
mentally manipulate information and are unable to take the point of view of
other people. Third is the Concrete Operational Stage. A period between
ages 7 to 11 during which children gain a better understanding of mental
operations. Children begin thinking logically about concrete events, but have
difficulty understanding abstract or hypothetical concepts. Fourth is the
Formal Operational Stage. A period between ages 12 to adulthood when
people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts. Skills such as
logical thought, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also emerge
during this stage.
Fourth is Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Bandura
believed that the conditioning and reinforcement process could not sufficiently
explain all of human learning According to social learning theory, behaviours
can also be learned through observation and modeling. By observing the actions
of others, including parents and peers, children develop new skills and acquire
new information. Bandura’s child development theory suggests that observation
plays a critical role in learning, but this observation does not necessarily
need to take the form of watching a live model. Instead, people can also learn
by listening to verbal instructions about how to perform a behaviour as well as
through observing either real or fictional characters display behaviours in books
Fifth is Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory. Like Piaget,
Vygotsky believed that children learn actively and through hands-on
experiences. His sociocultural theory also suggested that parents,
caregivers, peers and the culture at large were responsible for developing
higher order functions. In Vygotsky’s view, learning is an inherently social
process. Through interacting with others, learning becomes integrated into an
individual’s understanding of the world. This child development theory also introduced
the concept of the zone of proximal development, which is the gap between what
a person can do with help and what they can do on their own. It is with the
help of more knowledgeable others that people are able to progressively learn
and increase their skills and scope of understanding.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize
your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your
emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others:
when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more
effectively. People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in
most things they do. Because they’re the ones that others want on their team.
When people with high emotional intelligence send an email, it gets answered.
When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go
through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset.
There are five elements of emotional intelligence. First
is Self-Awareness. People with high emotional intelligence are usually
very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they
don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust
their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control. They’re also
willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and
weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many
people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional
intelligence. Second is self-Regulation. This is the ability to control
emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow
themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive,
careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of
self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and
the ability to say no.
Third is motivation. People with a high degree of
emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They’re willing to defer
immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a
challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do. Fourth is empathy. This
is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is
the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of
those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of
others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic
people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening,
and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and
they live their lives in a very open, honest way.
Fifth is social skill. It’s usually easy to talk to and
like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional
intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players.
Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and
shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters
at building and maintaining relationships.
According to Howard Gardner, intelligence is the ability
to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more
cultural setting. There are nine types of intelligences. First is
verbal-linguistic intelligence. They are well-developed verbal skills and
sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words. Second is
mathematical-logical intelligence. The ability to think conceptually, abstractly
and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns. Third is musical
intelligence. An ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch, timber and
other musical elements. Fourth is visual-spatial intelligence. It is the
capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and
Fifth is bodily kinesthetic intelligence. The
ability to control one’s body movements and to handle objects skilfully. Sixth
is interpersonal Intelligence. The capacity to detect and respond appropriately
to the moods, motivations and desires of others. Seventh is intrapersonal
intelligence. The capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings,
values, beliefs and thinking processes. Eightieth is naturalist intelligence.
The ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in
nature. Ninetieth is existential intelligence. The sensitivity and capacity to
tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why
do we die, and how did we get here.