Adolescent Learner Essay

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Adolescent Learner

UNIQUE NEEDS

The Theory of Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget was a progenitor of the modern child development theory (Loop, 2012). From a career in natural sciences, he turned to psychoanalysis and into human learning. His theory consists of stages of cognitive development from birth to adolescence. These are the sensori-motor stage from birth to 2 years; the preoperational stage at ages 2-7; the concrete stage at age 7 to early adolescence; and the formal operational stage at adolescence. His developmental theories are applicable to teaching mathematics (Loop).

Children at the preoperational stage usually begin to understand how symbols of words or numbers can represent objects or items (Loop, 2012). They may engage in make-believe or fantasy play at this stage as they still lack a concept of time. At the concrete operational stage, children can grasp multiple dimensions or aspects of objects, order objects in a series, and classify them. The formal operational stage occurs during adolescence. Students can create their own hypotheses and consequences. They can engage in abstract thinking and reasoning, inferences, evaluate ideas and apply concepts. At this time, they can apply current knowledge to mathematics through word problems. They can understand algebraic concepts and the use of variables (Loop).

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This theory of development is best combined with other educational development theories for a comprehensive mathematics curriculum (Loop, 2012). Very young children in the sensori-motor stage are unlikely to learn math concept through traditional lessons. Children younger than 7 years old may not be able to comprehend the concept of conservation. Teachers should not over-teach measurements. And learning does not occur uniformly. One child may not fall under a particular stage of his age, but come under a higher or lower category (Loop).

.Erik Erikson's Theory in Instruction

Essay on Adolescent Learner Assignment

This theory states that conflicts, called developmental crises, shape every person's psyche as he goes through social experiences (Kolar, 2012). Three of the crises occur in childhood and adolescence, when teaching has the strongest impact. This theory explains and describes the influence of social experience in the entire life span of a person. The person develops an ego identity as he goes through the stages of development. Ego identity refers to that conscious sense of self formed through social interaction. It evolves through new experiences and information gathered from interaction with others. Erikson also suggested that a sense of competence creates new behaviors and patterns of actions. The 8 stages of development, the crises that usually accompany these stages and the targets are infancy: birth to 18 months, basic trust vs. mistrust for hope; early childhood: 18 months -- 3 years, autonomy vs. shame for will; preschool: 3 -5 years, initiative vs. guilt for purpose; school age: 6-12 years, industry vs. inferiority for competence; adolescent: 12-18 years, identity vs. role confusion for fidelity; young adult: 18-35 years, intimacy and solidarity vs. isolation for love; middle age, 35-65 years, generativity vs. self-absorption or stagnation for care; late adult: 65- death, integrity vs. despair for wisdom (Kolar).

This theory states that the person must develop competence appropriate to each stage (Cherry, 2012). Every stage presents a conflict in the person's development. If he overcomes it, he develops the quality that is appropriate for that stage. He develops a sense of mastery, ego strength or ego quality. But if he fails to overcome and develop the appropriate quality of that particular stage, the person develops a sense of inadequacy instead. The potential for growth through the stages is as high as for failure (Cherry).

The Social Learning Theory of Albert Bandura

This theory states that a person most effectively learns by imitating, modeling and observing other people's actions and behaviors (Rollins, 2012). Developed in 1977, it was revolutionary in that it moved away from the established belief that learning is acquired from lectures by an instructor or teacher. In his search for methods to obliterate phobia from patients, Bandura discovered that patients who are highly efficient or capable responded best to the behaviors of persons without phobia when exposed to the object or situation, which caused the phobia. This finding led him to further study the impact of observation and modeling. These later became the foundation of his theory (Rollins).

Bandura believes that a person learns when interaction among environmental, behavioral and cognitive influences mutually interact (Rollins, 2012). A person's friends, family and the conditions of the physical environment are the environmental influences. His thought processes and beliefs about his efficacy in learning and observing are the cognitive influences (Watson, 2012). And the behaviors observed by the person and its consequences are the behavioral influences. The first and lowest step in social learning is imitation, wherein a skill is demonstrated and the learner copies or mimics it. The learner, however, does not attach meaning to the action. This type of learning happens to preschoolers who merely memorize or repeat what is demonstrated to them. The second step of social learning is modeling, an effective tool in teaching. A student is able to learn a new skill quickly if the teacher performs it while describing. The student who masters it can later model it for other students who have not learned or mastered it. This is social learning. And the third step is observation or vicarious learning. A person learns new responses by observing others in new situations. He creates new ideas on how to react if he himself faces the same situations (Rollins, Watson).

This theory is especially fit for education and psychology (Rollins, 2012). Many current-day classroom teachers use the workshop approach in teaching, which, in turn, is a social learning technique. Bandura listed conditions to the learner for social learning to occur. He must pay attention to the modeled behavior or action. He must memorize the behavior or action. He must repeat the new behavior without need for cues. He should have enough motivation to demonstrate the new learning or skill (Rollins). It connects the behavioral and cognitive learning theories by emphasizing the learner's attention, memory and motivation (Watson, 2012).

Bandura believes that learning by observation does not draw wholly on positive and negative reinforcements, such as of pleasure and pain (Watson, 2012). People learn by observing other people's behavior. This leads them to their own way of performing new behavior, which can also be used as future guide. Self-efficacy is also an integral part of Bandura's concept. It requires the person to believe in his own capability to learn something new. Self-efficacy will influence the willingness to perform and learn new things, along with the effort and persistence that need to be applied on the new learning. Self-efficacy is, therefore, a major factor in successful learning. It also opposes the traditional philosophy that behavior is the direct product of the environment. Rather, behavior determines an environment. The effects of behavior and the environment are, therefore reciprocal and interconnected. This concept is called reciprocal determinism (Watson).

The Unique Needs of the Adolescent Learner

An Identity and a Sense of Belonging

He is a contradiction because he is at the crossroads. He is transforming and becoming someone or something else. He is undergoing an identity crisis. Coming across an adolescent requires an understanding of the stage he is in, connecting with him and make learning relevant to his life (Checkley, 2004). These are the tasks of the teacher of an adolescent. She must have a thorough knowledge of his tumultuous stage and the growing pains, which characterize it. His physical, social, emotional and intellectual development is fastest at this age and stage. Understanding the nature of his age group is the best way to help her cope with the changes he is undergoing. She should expect sarcasm, defiance, dependence and anxiety. He wants to belong and to feel accepted. Until he achieves these, he needs to be given all the chances to interact with those in his age group (Checkley).

Support from Adults

Adolescents have this acute need to be known and understood by adults, especially parents (Checkley, 2004). They need their teacher's understanding, interest and availability too. This was the specific finding of a study conducted among low-achieving adolescents in school. They did not rank teachers as among those they consult with their concerns because they felt that teachers did not have time for them. This is one area that should catch the attention of teachers who are required to work with students at all age and school levels. Another way adults can connect with adolescents is by discovering and encouraging the development of their talents. Teachers should find out every student's strong points or abilities and adjust their instruction according to these talents. Teachers should provide these young people with generous opportunities to develop their capabilities. Many middle-level teachers have the capacity or training to spot their students' aptitudes and how to enhance these. Teachers can choose instructions attuned to how young minds process information, for example (Checkley).

Centered and Relevant Learning

Learning must be relevant to the lives of learners. This is done by discovering and… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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