Examine learning theory, the development of cognitive abilities

Within this essay you need to: examine learning theory, the development of cognitive abilities, inhibitors to learning and the impact of teaching strategies and institutions on individual learning needs.

Examine learning theory, the development of cognitive abilities
Special Needs and Inclusion: Essay assignment guide

Within this essay you need to: examine learning theory, the development of cognitive abilities, inhibitors to learning and the impact of teaching strategies and institutions on individual learning needs.

You must address the following outcomes:

K3 – Formulate an ethical approach to their professional roles, as well as study and research, and become critical, informed practitioners who are able to make valuable contributions to the lives of children, young people and their families.

K4 – Demonstrate critical awareness of the requirements of the ever changing national and international arenas of childhood studies, education and family support through a reflective, professional approach that is durable and adaptable.

I1 -Critically explore, evaluate and debate current research, guidance and current policy issues informing professional practice and develop students’ ability to apply theoretical and practice principles to ongoing and/or future professional practice.

I3- Reflect critically on own practice, demonstrating an understanding of the limits of knowledge

‘Reflect on your own experiences on learning throughout life, critically reviewing learning theory and strategies. The impact of environmental, social or physical issues on children’s cognitive development should also be evaluated.’

The structure and overarching approach to this essay can be shaped by you, and your own experiences of being educated and working in education.

You need to critically review some learning theories and theories about learning styles e.g. Behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, humanism, social learning theory, experiential, multiple intelligences, VAK. Do not try to include all of these, show the changes in educational approaches to learning over time and phrases. Choose theory which has particularly affected your own learning and shaped your ethics and approaches as a professional.

Contextualize educational changes by reflecting on your own learning experiences throughout life in the light of learning theories and styles. You may choose to reflect on school or college/university experiences or learning experiences in the workplace or when learning a new skill. Critically consider how your experiences might have impacted on your work with children and young people.

Using relevant theories to support your ideas, evaluate the impact of the environment (physical, emotional, social, technological) on children’s learning and cognitive development.

This assignment should be presented in essay style with no side headings, with clear links to theory and academic reading throughout, including the value of reflective learning.

Sections to help you plan:
In the introduction you should try to ‘set the scene’ for the reader, as well as signposting what you will be discussing, the structure of ideas and with links to key readings and debates.

Main Body
It is up to you to decide how to structure the main body of the essay. This will depend on your own experiences of education and the relevant theories and factors that have played a part.

Critically examine what was happening socially/politically /economically in education over the last few decades/ your own lifespan in education. E.g. 1980s Thatcherism/strikes and the impact this had on the education system of the time. You may wish to cite and critique relevant policy here, e.g. The National Curriculum, Every Child Matters, Children’s Acts, individualism.
What is the purpose of education? Maybe provide a cultural/historical perspective, critique the direction of changes and how your own professional role/ interests have emerged within this wider landscape.

You may now choose to take your assignment in different ways:.
• You wish to critically discuss your own learning as a pupil at different stages. E.g. Primary school, secondary school and then HE: critically evaluating the relevant theories in relation to these times in your life. Do you think they worked? Why/why not? What style of teaching might have better suited you? Why/why not? Where does this reflection fit amounts readings. Then consider how your own education shapes your own practice- what has informed your style? Are you able to make decisions about how you teach? Why/why not? If you could, what might you do differently? Ensure that you support your suggestions with relevant theory, academic research/evidence and policy.


• Organise your paragraphs/sections according to the different theories. E.g. you might discuss Behaviourism. You could begin by linking this theory to your own learning. You might then move on to discuss Behaviourism or VARK in relation to teaching today. Do you agree with this theory being used in today? Why/why not? Is there another theory that is favoured today? What is it? Why is this used over Behaviourism? Again, ensure that you support your suggestions with relevant theory, academic research/evidence and policy.

Both routes through the essay need to engage with theories of education.
If you think that your learning was conducted in a mostly Humanist way, then it will be more appropriate for you to discuss this theory. Likewise, if you feel as if your own teaching practise is informed by a Constructivist approach which encourages meta-critical thinking, then these would be the areas to focus on.

If there is a theory which you think is particularly problematic or particularly amazing, (provide you can evidence why this is the case), then write about that!

There are numerous ways of structuring the main body of your essay. Please do not feel as if you must follow these suggestions, do what you feel is right, in light of your own experiences.

Like the introduction, you should not use too many words in your conclusion. Try not to introduce any new information in the conclusion. The conclusion provides a space for you to gather your thoughts together in light of the evidence and come to a reasoned conclusion.

This might be quite nuanced, e.g. “although I have experienced many different styles of learning, the success of these was dependent on the individual/context and I cannot favour one.” In contrast, you might come down firmly on one side of the debate, e.g. “from my own experience, the most successful/enjoyable way to learn was in line with ……….. theory.”

Keep using references throughout all of your work,

Background of student.

Grew up in the 80s and 90s in the north of England, a low socio-economic area. Was not academic when in school. Message me with any questions regarding my background for purpose of completing the assignment.

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