Learning with Transmission Through Role Models

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Learning is a part of human nature. A child starts learning before birth in the body of mother. The thirst of learning can never ends up and it is a life- long process. According to traditional perspective, learning and knowledge is stored in mind that is cognitive learning. However, according to sociocultural theory, there is relationship between both body and mind with the environment that means learning occurs between learner and the environment. In this essay, I am going to bolster my perspective that how learning takes place by using three models of learning and teaching. These are adult-run model, children-run model and communities of learners. I would like to explain similarities and differences between these models and also explore by analysing which model among these is the most suitable to promote learning in New Zealand.

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First of all, according to Rogoff (1994), Adult-run model which is based on the theoretical notion of learning as product of transmission in which teachers transmit the knowledge to the children. It is completely adult-oriented that is only teachers are active in this model. Adults are the main source of knowledge and he is responsible for filling up the children’s mind with the knowledge. This model is also called banking model as in this children are passive they are just for receiving the knowledge. I want to relate this model with my experience. I studied according to this model. In my school, teachers were actively participated. They set up the curriculum and taught us the lessons. In classroom, teachers stood at the front of the room and delivered lectures to the children as learning occurs as a product of transmission from experts to newcomers. Secondly, child- run model in which children learn by themselves through explorations. In this students learn as they explore in different ways that are not necessarily connected to uses to them. In this teachers or adults can help the children in setting up the environment for children but they could not influence their natural learning as adult involvement is seen as a potential impediment to children’s learning. These two models acts like two extreme ends of a pendulum swing between unilateral control and freedom. They are similar as they both involve a theoretical assumption that learning is a function of one-sided action, either the teacher or the learner to a passive or dominated role.

Furthermore, I would like to illustrate community of learner model which is not a balance between the two models but it completely replaces pendulum approach. It is based on theoretical assumption that learning is a process of transformations of participation in shared endeavour. In a community of learners, both adults and children (expert and novice) are actively participated. In this no one has role of having all the responsibilities and fully dominated and no one is passive. In contrast to adult run in which adults have the responsibilities to control and motivate the children whereas in community of learners all members are working together with varying roles according to their understanding of the activity and differing responsibilities in the system. By comparing it with children run model, in which adult’s guidance is not undertaken but in community of learners adults and children both are active in structuring shared endeavours and adults give the guidance to the children which help them to manage and completing the task given to them. By connecting it with Dalli (2006), in which Bette, a head teacher of kindergarten Wellington was interviewed. She reflected her idea that teacher become a part of the children lives just as they become a part of hers. So in Community of learner, all members must have close relationship with each other. There should be collaboration among community members because Learning is possible when there is an understanding between the leaner and the environment. For instance, it could be seen in the A’oga Fa’a Samoa early learning centres where children learn Samoan language in the community. Teachers help the children to make them confident learners so that they can be identified as Samoan in the world. Teachers provide various opportunities like school assemblies to demonstrate the knowledge of Samoan culture and also develop positive relationships with children. Children are supposed to do group activities during mat times and meal times. They learn prayers, stories and music in order to learn Samoan language and culture. Parents are encouraged to speak Samoan with children at home and also invited to centre to discuss about the development of children. In this way community of learner all are participated and shared their responsibilities to achieve the task.

Apart from this, community of learners have asymmetrical roles which may vary from one role to another. If I relate it to activity system as described in the reading of Gee (2008), the subject and object can be change if roles in the communities of learner will change. In community work is divided between community members and there are some particular rules and tools which are required to be followed and used respectively, in order to achieve the object. So, learning does not happen alone, learning happens with the assistance of other. Vygotsky (as cited in Gee, 2008) stated that knowledge is co-constructed and individual learns from one another. So, notion of participation in community of learners is foundational. When newcomer steps into the community of learners from either adult run or children run approach they may get cultural shock. As in community of learners adults serves as leaders and facilitators rather than direct instructor and it is totally opposite as they experienced in their own communities where teachers have all the power. Moreover, if I talk about the education system in my culture, only grades are considered to know the progress of a child. But in community of learner importance is given to the process of learning not the finished product.

To sum up, according to my perspective, community of learners is the most suitable model in teaching and learning not only in New Zealand but all over the world. As in this cooperative learning occurs when children and adults work together. Early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki is mandatory in all ECE centres and these centres provide community-based services which includes teachers, children as well as parents. In community of learner, children appear to learn how to coordinate with, support and lead others, how to become responsible and can organise in their management of their own learning and how they can build inherent interests to learn new things in the new environment in the guidance of adults who assist them by giving directions to complete the task which is given to them for a useful purpose.

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