What Should Constitute a Model to Inform Education Practices?
In the contemporary world, the crucial role that education plays cannot be overemphasized. In the most common way, it is through education that the world would attain the so-desired sustainable development. In this consideration, the world has been grappling to improve education and align it to the societal goals. The eventuality has been the emergence of various paradigms, approaches and concepts pertaining to learning styles, some of which have appeared to conflict and even oppose each other. The crucial question is then what should add up to a desirable theory to inform the education practices. This paper presents one of the popular views that may be crucial in informing education practices.
According to Egan (1992), there can be neo desirable education approach as that which acknowledges the imperativeness of the imagination processes. The crucial question that arises is then how this holds. There are various reasons as to why imagination is crucial. Imagination enables the learners to visualize possibilities that exist in a given actuality. Imagination can be perceived as the process whereby once perceives what is unconventional. In other cases, imagination has also often been associated with creativity. It is also arguable that people make sense out of the world through imagining and narrating. Indeed, imagination is not only considered a pivotal component in understanding narrative composition, but also in understanding them. Yet, according to Egan, imagination in education is crucial for certain reasons. First, imagination is pivotal to the learning processes. Here, it has been widely concurred that human mind has the likeness of a computer, where information is only stored for later retrieval. This is often the case in the situations of exam tests.
According to Egan, this trend is not uncommon, and education is now characterized by the mechanical storage of information. Yet the human mind is different from the computer. The process of problem solving and expertise in human beings is dependent upon background senses of the underlying contexts and of what is paramount and compelling at the given time, as opposed to the process of searching through combinations to of possibilities to discern what is required. More often than not, human beings apply these skills when they encounter difficult problems that require them to stop, look back and run a search through the ideas one at a time. During such occasions, ideas are unintelligent and precise. Human mind then presents these ideas as free symbols that they manipulate using language and logic. Human beings take action without the use of conscious symbolic reasoning, as when human beings recognize faces or find what is right to say. Human beings decide on appropriate response without giving considerations to alternatives. These are the implications of human intelligence and expertise whereby human intuitions have been trained to the point that they forget rules, so that they simply react to situations. Human senses about situations are goals, bodies and culture, which include attitudes, unconscious intuitions, and knowledge about the surrounding. This basic knowledge is intuitively stored in the brains. This process can never be achieved by the computers.
As far as imaginations are concerned, human mind stores the information the discrete manner, as the learning process progresses. This explains the circumstances in which the human mind can remember the shopping list or phone numbers even in the absence of the written lists. As such, human mind never lodges these forms of discrete data into the brains. Each time information is taken, it mixes with other dynamic and complex intentions, notions and memories, among other elements that constitute human mental lives.
The manner in which the information is taken and retained is governed by the complexity of the structures that are already possessed, which are guided by the intentions, notions and even the emotions. This implies that what comes from the information is always different from what is learned. All forms of associations are drawn between every bit of information that streams into the brain. The associations are often changing, each and every time that the information is taken, as well as each time that the elements interact. Information is often undergoing the blending, construction and reconstruction processes.
The second reason why imagination is crucial is because it gives the meaning to understanding, as well as the experiences of knowledge. Here, imagination can also be perceived crucial as it enables encoding and decoding of the information, such that if offers understanding to what is beyond facts.
Egan is concerned that the human beings are often deluged by the facts but the capability experience their feel is dwindling. Thus, Egan is concerned that the human mind is losing its ability of comprehending facts based on the experiences.
Egan further states that education is not all about taking in the information that is presented. Rather, it is also about making a meaning out of the information. The current curriculum has inclined on stressing knowing or taking in a lot of content, as opposed to laying emphasis on the meaning that the learners have to make from the information. The curriculum is not informed by the approaches that enable students to engage actively in the imaginative learning processes.
Egan goes further to develop a desirable learning framework that incorporates the imaginative element. However, the framework is criticized for failing to give considerations to the objectives of learning. Yet Egan`s desirable learning framework is that founded on the narrative experiences. It cannot be disputed that such elements are particularly central to the capacity of the human mind to decipher the meaning in out of the experiences.
Other approaches have contended that a desirable education can only be achieved if considerations are given to the intervening environmental factors. The direct interaction with environment contributes immensely towards the development of knowledge for the learner more than the input of the humans. However, psychologists should not be limited on the impact of the environment since there are other elements that influence the cognitive learning process in the same way. In particular, the input (content) natures as well as the learners` innate nature are the most notable.
The development encompasses the transformation of structures the input from the human that interact with the learner is subject to nature of content structure. The structure, which could be non-contingent and consequential, interests more than the content itself. More often than not, the children`s learning process entails taking in of contents that are more or less inconsequential or contingent, such as the mother`s phone number or the barn colors. Self-initiated learning is composed of cultural input, although it is not easily discerned following its pervasiveness and, hence, the liability to be taken for granted. The interaction of children in the environment facilitates their learning in life and the world phenomena from the people that they interact. In particular, they could learn a lot through observation. However, these initial interactions act as stepping stones to taking in of conceptualized ideas.
It is factual that environment plays a more crucial role compared to the human input. In fact, the role of environment in cognitive learning processes cannot be overemphasized. Yet cognitive psychology has realized shift in perceptions in the last decade alone. Cognitive psychology is now no longer inclined on the role that the environment plays in the cognitive learning process. It has shifted and now puts into consideration the other specifics in the processes of learning such as content`s nature, and nature of the learners undertaking the cognitive learning process (Ahmmad, Colins, Haymman-Abelo and Hayman, 2002)
It is also true that self directed learning process is dependent upon cultural input. This can be simply elucidated basing on the child`s initial stages of discovering mathematical concepts through the process of counting fingers. The child`s counting fingers beginning with the left hand and beginning with the right hand leads him to a conclusion that the final results are the same for both cases, irrespective of counting direction. This way, the child learns the mathematics commutative principle. However, what is of particular importance follows that the process of learning entailed in the above example pertains to cultural input. This entails the culturally induced system that enables the child to count, and a system that enables the objects to be perceived as entities that can be exchanged. It also follows that the co-functioning between the environmental input and the learner`s content is factual. Considering the example that involves the counting of fingers, the mathematical commutative principle would not be realized if the learners content were lacking. Perhaps, this is what explains why most conceptualized learning processes have to be procedural and systematic. Cultural input should precede the conceptualized learning process otherwise, the learning process would become difficult.
The fact that children do not necessarily absorb all that the environment put in is also a point of concurrence. Indeed, basing on this, a lot of examples of could be cited. For instance, exposure of children to similar experiment does not guarantee their convergence to one set cognitive behavior. These also farther accounts for why children will keep failing simple, basic arithmetic despite being repeatedly taken through the steps. Additionally, effective conceptualized learning may call for balance of the three specifics that affect the process of conceptualized learning. The looming problem is the criteria upon which the balance can be attained.
Even the Egan`s element of imagination was covered by the Kant`s philosophy on human mind. There are three notions that comprehensively define the Kant`s approach on mind. First, the mind can be perceived to consist of an array of abilities, a view that is referred to as the functionalist view. The second notion is based upon elements that require the mind to function effectively. Here, Kant suggests that cognition functionality is informed by perception, as well as concepts. The third element is what Kant referred to as the synthesis. These three notions are now widely applied, as far as the approach to cognition is concerned, and is even a pivot of the cognitive science. The conceptualization process has often been considered to pivotal in the learning processes. Conceptualization process has often been considered to begin with what may be referred to as the expectation frame. The expectation frame can be considered as that which comprises the extent, what matters and what should happen in certain situation. This offers preparation of what an individual should expect in certain situations thus, determines the moods, cues and motivation that a person possesses as he faces of the situations at hand. For example, if a situation is framed to suit an academic inquiry, the frame would orient the individual to suit to certain moods, expectations and motivations that are related to academics.
In all these, it is worth noting that the expectations, moods and motivations are subject to modifications, depending on the courses that events are likely to unfold. Nevertheless, the experiences possessed prior to the occurrence of an event play the chief role in determining the cognitive responses. Each time an individual may wish to carry out an action ever done, he would begin by drawing associations between the cues and structures in the environment. This process entails revisiting texts, images, natural objects or situations, which are then complied to suit certain environmental context. The motivation and cognitive capacity and orientations function to mediate and translate knowledge from the existence information structures on what ought to be done in certain situations (Yaroslav, 2010).
Additionally, various studies have pointed out that the human thinking is informed by situational variables. In this case, situational variables are the events that are related to the physical features, including the physical space and time, experiences and the information possessed about the event. This point is consistent with the ordinary human institutive reasoning. This view comes with the implication that human beings and environment, as far as reactions are concerned, are inseparable. Thus, human thinking would continuously evolve depending on the nature of environment that it is exposed.
Child education entails the acquisition of various skills in various areas that can be categorized as cognitive development, social and emotional development, speech and language development, Fine Motor skill development and Gross motor development. However, to narrow down, cognitive development is a discipline that focuses on psychology and neuroscience and concerns itself with the child`s development process. This encompasses information processing, perceptual skills, conceptual resources, language learning, among other aspects of development pertaining to brains as well as cognitive psychology.
Kant attempted elucidating this practically, rather than limiting himself to theory. He began by reasoning a way he could derive knowledge that is independent of experience, in what he labeled `priori`. He held the view that that some structures in the mind must have been in existence even before the experience took over, considering that their use is often preceded by experience. Kant proceeded that priori truth, which exists both in mind and knowledge are universal and this can only be ascertained by applying the priori methods. The transcendental arguments either existed as priori or contributed to the formation of priori.
Based on Kant`s view, it is impossible for the concepts to work without institutions. Similarly, intuitions cannot work unless they are concepts. Additionally, experience needs to be built with concepts and perceptions. This describes the interrelation between these concepts. In real practice, it is possible to elucidate this relationship. Simply, it is not possible for one to tell the difference between two things if the information is lacking. To tell that the car is white and not red requires one to have known what white and red are. For information to be important to the mind, it needs to be organized. The act of organization is what is enabled by the synthesis processes. There are three sets of synthesis process that is required for effective functioning of the mind. These are intuition apprehension, imagination reproduction, and concept recognition. These three synthesis types may be further considered as the correlates to the basic duality concept and intuition. The process of synthesizing apprehension entails input of raw perceptions. On the other hand, recognition synthesis entails internalization of concepts, while the synthesis of product ion pertains to the reproduction processes such as through imagination, which allows the mind to wander and think (Yaroslav, 2010).
Furthermore, these are also the correlates of the faculties, which include the sensibility province, understanding province and the imagination province. Reproduction and apprehension are considered inseparable. This is because one process counts on the other. Recognition requires both apprehension and reproduction, yet it is worth noting that apprehension and reproduction do not require recognition. In this regard, it is only the recognition process that counts on the use of the concepts but Kant asserts the three processes are crucial for the object representation. Synthesis acts can only be perceived on what has been built out experience. Fleming VAKT is also another popular education theory. Flemings VAKT learning styles utilizes three main senses. These are Kinesthetic, auditory and visual. The model modalities include memory and perceptions, the channels that facilitate human expressions. VAKT model has earned popularity because of its nature of simplicity. Despite the fact that various researches have point to the positive relationship between the these learning styles and the modalities, there is limited research on whether ensuring employing student`s most favorite learning style has a profound impacts on the learning. This is because such an approach only represents learning preferences, instead of learning styles.
Fleming`s model posits that all learners employ all the three types of modalities to learn, as well as taking in new information. However, the effectiveness of these styles is not often the same. Learners would only process information rapidly when a certain style is employed. For instance, some students would process information at a faster rate when subjected to visual style compared to when subjected to kinetic styles. As such, one of the styles is dominant, in terms of suiting the learners` needs. Additionally, the preferences for certain learning styles are not always the same. As such, the fact that some students respond positively to visual learning during mathematics classes may not apply for language classes. Some students respond positively to kinetic styles for language classes, instead (Baker & Constantinidou, 2002).
Age could be the determining factor of the suitability of the VAKT learning style. For instance, kinesthetic styles tend to suit learners kindergarten visual styles suits grade 4 to 8 while auditory styles tends to suit students in grade 8, extending to colleges and professional environment. This may imply that auditory learning style is the most appropriate styles for adult learners. Nevertheless, proponents and theorist, in consideration to the complexity underlying determination of the appropriateness of VAKT learning styles, suggest that teachers and instructors should consider employing the three learning styles for the sake for multiple choices. This would engage all the learners, regardless of the differences in the preference of styles. Whereas there is substantial evidence on the weaknesses and strengths of modalities, empirical evidence on the suitability of related instruction styles to individualized learning is limited. This implies that learners with the preference of other learning styles, such as auditory and kinesthetic styles, are advantaged than those limited to visual style preferences. Various hints can be applied in the unraveling the suitability of the VAKT learning styles to the student needs and this should be effectively applied in the enhancement of the education dialogue (Tasos, 2010).
In conclusion, there are various theories that touch on education. According to Egan, there can be neo desirable education approach as that which acknowledges the imperativeness of the imagination processes. The crucial question that arises is then how this holds. There are various reasons as to why imagination is crucial. Other approaches have contended that a desirable education can only be achieved if considerations are given to the intervening environmental factors. The conceptualization process has often been considered to pivotal in the learning processes and should never be overlooked. Kant attempted elucidating this practically, rather than limiting himself to theory. He began by reasoning a way he could derive knowledge that is independent of experience, in what he labeled `priori`. Fleming VAKT is also another popular education theory. Flemings VAKT learning styles utilizes three main senses. These are Kinesthetic, auditory and visual. In my view, all these theories are pivotal in guiding the education processes if they are effectively integrated into the education curriculum.
Ahmmad S., Colins, D., Haymman-Abelo, S. and Hayman-Abello, B., (2002). Learning Neuropsychology: Recent advances. Annual f Psychology Review, 53, 309Ð339.
Baker, S. & Constantinidou, F. (2002). “Stimuli modality and verbal learning performance on normal groups”. Brains and Languages, 82(3), 296 – 311.
Egan, K. (1992). Imagination in Teaching and Learning: The Middle School Years. The
University of Chicago Press.
Tasos, K, (2010). Education Dialogue: its enemies and its prerequisites. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen University Press.
Yaroslav, S. (2010). The Artist In Crisis: Kierkegaard Philosophy Of The Aesthetic Stage of Existence And Live Musical Performance, Vancouver: Platon Promotions
What Should Constitute a Model to Inform Education Practices?