Source for and Usefulness of Learning Theories

Because of the lack of quality teacher training for new college professors, and of the limited amount of time spent on it where it exists, the importance of pedagogical theory tends to fade into invisibility. Being familiar with how people learn, however, can help inform the choices a teacher makes when in the classroom. Go to this site in order to find more theories that you will know what to do with.

In order to show you how useful this knowledge can be in the classroom, try doing the following exercise:

Pick three theories that interest you, and with which you would like to work.  Then, apply each of those theories to the teaching of ONE art-related concept. Describe how each theory would change the method by which you would teach that one concept or procedure to a class of Intro-level students.

The concept could be technical, as in “how these three theories can be applied to a demo on drawing with water-soluble materials on a lithography plate”, or aesthetic, as in “how these three theories can be used when discussing Post Modernism”, or conceptual, as in “how these three theories can be used to teach the concept of scale”.

Write one full page (300 words minimum) for each of the three theories (total of 3 pages).  For each page, first describe your understanding of the theory, and then show how you would apply it to that one specific thing to be taught.  (The theories will differ, but the concept or procedure to be taught remains the same each time.) Each essay can be a stand-alone; they do not need to flow from one to the other.

Then sit back and marvel at how much overlap there is, how much of this you already “knew” on some level, but how much more aware of it you will be when in the classroom with your students!

This entry was posted in Learning Styles, Pedagogical Theory & Value, Preparing to Teach, Sources for Teaching Support, Teaching Practice and tagged , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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