Theory and Research
In this course, we studied different theories that have played a role in our educational philosophies. Learning about the variety of theories and supporting research has greatly impacted my instruction. As I plan I consider which theories I am using and how can I have the greatest effect on my students. For my creative synthesis project, three theories stood out in my mind over the course of my research: Metacognitive Awareness Theory, Social Constructivism Theory, and Schema Theory.
Metacognitive Awareness means thinking about one's thinking. As teachers we want our students to be self aware of their thoughts and actions. Through gradual release of responsibility and modeling, teachers can educate students to become metacognitively aware. Technology is another great tool educators can use to help achieve this higher order thinking skill in students. During my research, the Voicerecorder app in particular helped students be more in tune with their thoughts. As they were planning for their writing, students could record their ideas and even sentences and use that to help them put their thoughts onto paper. As they were listening to the recording, students could think about if their ideas made sense and how to structure their paper.
Vygotsky's Social Constructivism Theory emphasizes social interactions among children. He claims that children learn as a result of these interactions. Throughout my research, I tried to give my students multiple opportunities to engage in conversations with their peers. During the planning process, students would share their writing ideas with a partner and ask one another questions to illicit more details. In addition, students used the Voicethread app to digitally interact with one another to peer edit their writing. However, throughout the process I wondered would Vygotsky consider digital interactions to be just as valuable as face to face?
The Schema Theory was introduced to the world by Bartlett in the 1930s. The theory discusses how new knowledge is constructed by making connections to what is already known. If a person does not have any knowledge of a particular topic, new schema are formed in the brain. Educators today refer to this as building background knowledge and activating prior knowledge. Throughout my project, students used their existing knowledge of stories to create their own writing. In addition, reading and editing other peoples' writing, helped broaden or create new schema