From what I had heard and read about the learning theories I understood that they are like books. Although there are some set genres (as romance, detective story or historical novel), despite the fact that books written in one genre are similar, each one is unique and each one differs; even if only in one small detail. Learning theories may be based on certain common psychological knowledge and experience but they differ in each learner. It is the learner who creates his/her learning theory and it is such one that suits his needs best.
From the professional point of view we know that the learning theories are based one several psychological notions.
Behavioristic and Audiolingual methods are based, more or less, on the same principle; learning by means of habits and imitation and reinforcing the knowledge by means of drills and repetition. I am not saying that learning rules and drilling the grammar is useless but I think, it must be connected with understanding. From my personal experience I know, that when I learnt something by hard without realising what it meant I soon could not remember anything. Learning combined with comprehension does not remove the forgetting, of course, but once having learnt something we understood enables us to withdraw the knowledge better and quicker from our memory. Another matter that confuses me with Behavioristic and Audiolingual methods is the way they treat error correction. We know that errors should be corrected all the time. When learning a foreign language I want to speak correctly but on the other hand, when speaking, permanent error correction makes me feel nervous, embarrassed and puts me off. What is the solution to this problem, I do not know. Perhaps, two different types of classes. One, concentrated on practising grammar exercises with confirming the output by error correction and a second one, communication class, where students discuss some topics without being corrected by the teacher. Only in the end of the class she would tell them the major mistake the students have made.
From what I have written so far, it is clear that Cognitive theory is much more to my liking. Here, the student is active, the learning is concentrated on understanding the rules and principles. However, this requires a skilled teacher who is able to explain things clearly. It is crucial to point out the fact that things are interconnected and to enable the students to realise this. As I have mentioned before, learning with understanding and by means of problem solving tasks is much more effective.
In my opinion, the Humanistic theory is not so much about the learning itself but about the motivation for learning. The teachers should take into consideration the learners' souls, their feelings and should try to adjust everything to the need of the students. There is nothing I disagree with. I think, the teacher should, at least, try to know his students, accept them as personalities and not as numbers and names. But again, it is about the teacher. It is up to him to create such atmosphere where students would feel comfortable and would be motivated to produce something, to improve. If he/she is capable of doing all this then maybe, he will also succeed in satisfying all these hierarchy of needs and stages of maturation... :-) 35512jxv62qfs3l
The interactionist eclectic theory is something I like. I think, that interaction is crucial when learning a foreign language. What are all those rules and principles good for if I am not able to apply them in real-life interaction? I also agree with that r+1 scheme. The content influences the motivation for the learning tremendously. If it is too difficult I feel demotivated because I do not understand a thing of what the teacher is saying, on the other hand, if things are too easy I become bored. In both situations the outcome is zero. Therefore, the teacher must try to be student-centred and by means of feedback to ensure whether what he does the students enjoy, understand and whether they eventually learn something.
As far as the constructivist theory is concerned, I have said in the beginning that each learner creates his own theory of learning and that is what this theory is about. However, I do not understand why are the scientists arguing about what influences the creation of such personal theory. I think, that all three features are important. I must have certain IQ and aptitude that is, some natural endowment to be able to study at all. My personality affects the motivation and attitude towards the learning and the same applies to the social environment - do I like the teacher, do my friends like the subject, do I need to learn this for my future job?
So. After having thought over all the theories thoroughly, what do I think is the way that the learner's mind works? As I do not have much experience with "my" learners I will write about myself. For me, important are both grammar rules and interaction. However, I need to learn the rules in such a way that they are made understandable to me (cognigtive theory). I like the feeling that I have "conquered" some rule and now I am able to use it alone. On the other hand, once having understood the grammar and vocabulary I like practising it by means of drilling exercises, so that I do not forget them (behavioristic, audiolingual theory). I do not think that drilling must be looked upon as a negative factor only. Then, there come the interaction. I want to be able to express my opinion and therefore I need place for real-life communication (interactionist theory). Classroom communication activities may be good at the beginning level but the higher you get the more demanding you become. There are also other factors that influence my learning. It is the teacher and the environment. Sometimes, the inner motivation is not enough. If you are eager to learn a new language and you find the teacher totally incapable to satisfy your needs, you become fed up then crossed and in the end you quit. Your inner motivation could not make up for the teacher's ignorance (humanistic theory).
To conclude, I would like to add that although the learners themselves create the learning theory it is a subconscious process. They construct their own learning theory even without realising it. However, this makes it more difficult for us - the teachers. Not only we should get to know our students as personalities but also we should know how their mind works when learning. Is this possible or is it just another giant task? xf512j5362qffs