I am in agreement with Brennan when he states, “I’m ideologically promiscuous. I go with what works!” (Brennan 2013). Often, I have found what works does not come from pedagogical theory or lectures of educational philosophy, but practice and experience. A.K.A. trying and failing. (Felts 2018) And during this ‘trying and failing’, you pick up a sense of what works for some kids and how to differentiate this for others until it turns into something else that works for some other kids and then, and only then, does it relate to a learning theory that someone else has already thought about, implemented and mastered!
However, after reading through these theories (not all of them of course) there is a sense of me that sees, to a more or less degree, they all work for different individuals, purposes, and circumstances. Who am I to disagree with any of these theories?
To this end I relate to Jerome Bruner’s Constructivist Theory that learning is “an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts by transforming information, constructing hypothesis and making decisions.” (Bruner 1990)
Functional Context theory as presented by Tom Sticht. Although research suggests this is on the job literacy training for deeper penetration into the workplace, the curriculum we deliver to elementary school children needs to be relevant. When students are not engaged fully in their learning because they say it is boring and irrelevant, in my experience, they are usually correct.
And thirdly I noted that Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence’s was also on the list. I do relate to this as it steadfastly states that we all learn differently and I feel he has categorized these differences (or intelligence’s) in a meaningful and effective manner that is not too specific.
Central to his theory in my experience is that individual possess these intelligences in “varying degrees” which is highly important when creating differentiated lessons of relevance to a class. As a foot note, I’ve always wondered if anyone really knows how to swim before they actually get into the pool?
Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center firstname.lastname@example.org, www.niu.edu/facdev, 815.753.0595 https://www.niu.edu/facdev/_pdf/guide/learning/howard_gardner_theory_multiple_intelligences.pdf