Last week’s class we spent time looking at different learning theories and discussing the appeal each has to offer.  As I reflect on some of the ideas presented, it is unique to me how I have changed over the last 15 years in my teaching practices and observations I have made.Learning Pyramid Average Retention Rates by Type of with Segmenting Teaching

Now if I would of saw this graphic when I was in high school, I would of probably agreed- that is when it came to the way I enjoyed learning.  In class we discussed behaviourism and instantly I was brought back to my high school Psych 20 class.  Our teacher hauled us all up to an auditorium and had a symbol in his hand.  He would hit the symbol, then we were directed to do 20 jumping jacks, then record our heart beat.  We did this over quite a few times, and then after 10ish minutes, he hit the symbol but we were not to complete the jumping jacks but just measure our heart rate.  As crazy as it seemed my heart rate elevated as if I had completed the jumping jacks.  That lesson has still stuck with me because of the direct connection and instant behaviour that happened.

Fast forward to when I got my first job as a middle/high school Visual Art, Shop, and PE teacher.  Learning through doing was what I preached and practiced with my students.  Real hands on kinesthetic learning- Cognitivism.  I thought this was the only way and best way.  Have my students experience the learning, more so also because that was my safe space.  I strived in this learning approach, so I should be able to show my students how to learn the same way.

As I moved into teaching classes that had less direct hands on learning such as ELA 9, Health classes, Social Studies, and even Science (to a point, who doesn’t love experiments that make a loud bang or have flames), I began to understand that not all my students learned best this way.  They were all unique, all had their own strengths and weaknesses, challenges, or the differed in how they saw themselves and their own successes.  Those lightbulb moments came at different times for students and they constructed their own knowledge- TA DA- Constructivism.

As I moved into my current role as administrator and have seen so many different types of learners, ways teachers work to shape lessons to adapt to the multitude of learners they have in their classrooms, it’s truly remarkable what goes into every class lesson, and how class environments are developed.

I try with my classes to allow for as much interaction with the material and connection I can for my students.   Relatable experiences, sharing and collaboration, and plenty of reflection.  The addition of technology to our educational settings has made these connections even so much easier.  Virtual galley visits and the ability to zoom into a Van Gogh painting (try it) is amazing, to see the individual brush strokes.  Or have students experience welding with AR, or transported to other experiences they might not typically get to see.


I am always left wondering though what other teachers find to be the most impactful learning theory based on the subject they teach?  Do you find yourself gravitating to one theory more that another with certain students or classes?  Let me know below in the comments!