Prior Learning

Psychologists have attempted to clarify and illustrate how learners’ previous experiences and thoughts and influence their current learning activities. In this regard, psychologists have defined the current experiences and interests as the continuation of the past activities (Avery, 2003). Through the schema theory highlighted by the psychologists, teachers should recognize that all individuals possess unique systems used in their interpretation of the world. Therefore, they should teach students on how to use their prior experiences in the learning processes. Through the schema hypothesis, students not only infer, but can also forecast events in their immediate learning environment.

Prior learning contradicts the myth of viewing education as a conceptual transform (Avery, 2003). In the past, teachers and the parents considered education as a procedure of amassing knowledge and information. On the contrary, learning comprises of sequential procedures. Initially, learners master how to assimilate supplementary experience with their present theories and practices. Afterwards, the experience ignites a cognitive shock in the learners’ brain leading to the correlation of the ideas. Accordingly, learners’’ brains undertake the transmission of the thoughts affecting their perception about their experiences. Scientists consider this last procedure of prior learning as the most profound. Therefore, teachers should value their impacts and value on the students learning abilities. For instance, scientists have established that science relies heavily on the prior knowledge rather than mathematical abstractions and empirical findings (Guillaume, 2007). For example, Einstein’s knowledge developed from his prior experiences with his immediate environment rather than his mathematical models. Therefore, scientists derive their knowledge from their daily experiences, and thereafter use the acquired knowledge to formulate their theories.

Through the brain-based learning, meaningful learning hypothesis allow learners to fully comprehend facts and establish how precise facts correlate with prior facts (Jensen, 2005). During such learning procedures, students’ brains store the learned knowledge in rational ways. All facts are sequentially recalled leading to a phenomenon called the spread of activation. In this regard, teachers have identified improved problem solving capabilities by their students than when using the Rote method of learning.

For effective learning, teachers should engage their students in the activation of their background knowledge. They should identify the appropriate teaching methodologies that initiate students’ ability to develop and use their background knowledge in their daily learning activities. Similarly, using the level processing theory, teachers should concentrate their teaching approaches on the process-involved memory rather than the structure-involved teaching methodologies. In 1914, Crack and Lockhart proposed that the memory was a result of the in-depth progressive procedure of information. They could not distinctively differentiate between the long-standing memory and the temporary memory.

Recent scientific advances have allowed psychologist to study the physical architecture of the human brain. Through genetics, the brain’s neural circuits are developed. Throughout a child’s growth, experience manipulates and adjusts the shapes of these neural circuits (Jensen, 2005). This illustrates how experience customizes the brains circuitry to suit every individuals needs. Through the relevance theory, teachers should ensure that they use suitable communication methods in their teaching process. This will ensure that students search, contrast facts in their lectures, and correlate their expectations.

Finally, the students’ ability to understand should be a major consideration by teachers in their lesson plans. A teacher’s lesson plan should accommodate all the prior learning theories to enable students create the connection between the present learning and the past knowledge in their minds. This approach not only improves the students’ learning and comprehension abilities, but it also facilitates more practical and enjoyable lessons. Thus, such an approach, if appropriately integrated by a teacher in his or her lessons plans, will considerably improve the student’s participation in class and thus the overall improvement of the student’s output.

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