Educational Theorists and Theories

Bandura
– Observational Learning Theory
– Behavior can be learned through observation of others.
Bruner
– Constructivist Theory
– Individuals actively construct knowledge by comparing new ideas or concepts with their current knowledge (schema or mental models).
Dewey
– Learning by Doing
– Learning occurs through experience.
Erikson
– Socioemotional Development
– Erikson’s “Eight Stages of Man” describes a series of crises individuals pass through at different ages. The stages begin with “trust versus mistrust” in infancy and continue through a series of paired outcomes for each age through older adulthood.
Festinger
– Cognitive Dissonance
– Inconsistencies between behaviors and beliefs motivate people to change. One basis for constructivism.
Freud
– Levels of Consciousness
– The mind operates at different levels: conscious versus unconscious. He further subdivided the mind into the id (primitive motivations), ego (logical portion of the mind which acts to satisfy the id – when possible), and the super-ego (the conscience).
Gardner
– Multiple Intelligences
– Each individual possesses seven distinct and measurable forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.
Kohlberg
– Stages of Moral Development
– Pre-Conventional – based on self-centered interests
Conventional – based on conformity to local expectations
Post-Conventional – based on higher principles
Piaget
– Genetic Epistemology
-Developmental stages of child development:
0-2 years: “sensorimotor” – motor development
3-7 years: “preoperation” – intuitive
8-11 years: “concrete operational” – logical, but non-abstract
12-15 years: “formal operations” – abstract thinking
Skinner
– Operant Conditioning
(Behaviorism)
– Learning is the result of changes in behavior. As stimulus-response cycles are reinforced, individuals are “conditioned” to respond. Distinguished from Connectionism because individuals can initiate responses, not merely respond to stimuli.
Vygotsky
– Social Development Theory and ZPD
– Social interaction is critical for cognitive development. Related to this is the idea of a “Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).” Some skills, an individual can perform independently. Other skills can be performed if the individual has assistance. Skills that can be performed with assistance are said to be within an individual’s ZPD. The ZPD is the theoretical basis for scaffolding.
Watson
– Behaviorism
– Proposed that most human learning and behavior was controlled by experience (not genetically pre-determined). Believed the only behaviors that should be studied are the “observable” ones.

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