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Edf4210 Learning Theories Lesson Plan Analysis

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Case Study Lesson Plan Analysis

EDF4210-02 Fall 2018

Name: Megan Mendez




Learning occurs when experience and practice causes a relatively permanent change in an individual’s knowledge, behavior, or potential for behavior. To qualify as learning, this change must be a result of experience – by the interaction of a person with his or her environment. For this lesson plan, Mr. Johnson focuses on motivating his students in a meaningful way, and hopes that the entire class will gain a good grasp of the learning/concept objectives. Mr. Johnson attempts to teach his students how to identify/understand tone and mood in poetry through word choices. He hopes that his students will be able to determine the tone/mood of the poem and understand the meaning of unknown words through context and classroom discussion. Within this lesson, learning theories such as behaviorism, cognitive information processing perspective, constructivism, and social cognitive perspective are addressed. In this paper, I used Woolfolk (2018) to analyze his lesson plan.


Cognitive psychologists tend to emphasize the change in knowledge, whereas behavioral psychologists focus on the change in behavior – many of these psychologists favor behavioral learning theories. The behavioral view focuses on changes in behavior and emphasizes the effects of external events on the individual. Not all human learning is unintentional and not all responses or behaviors are so automatic. People actively “operate” on their environment. Within the behavioral learning theory there are two key concepts: classical conditioning – focuses on the learning of involuntary emotional or physiological responses such as fear, increased muscle tension, salivation, or sweating - and operant conditioning – we learn to behave in certain ways as we operate on the environment. Operant conditioning strengthens voluntary behavior through use of consequences such as reinforcements and punishments. In Mr. Johnson’s lesson plan, he is describing, explaining, and discussing various aspects of the lesson plan such as the definitions of tone, mood, and context of the poem. In this concept, the behavior (response) comes prior to the stimulus. The first step in Mr. Johnson’s lesson plan is describing the definition of tone and mood to the students. Then he would read aloud Jabberwocky with different types of tones and moods and afterwards the class would discuss the students’ behavior (response) to the poem. Mr. Johnson reads the poem aloud a second time but with a completely monotone voice all throughout and again the students would discuss their behaviors (responses). Students are then sent home and told to find a song they believe matches the tone and mood of the poem – the next day they are separated into groups and expected to discuss/critique everyone’s song choice. Mr. Johnson will then discuss how close or how far everyone’s selection was – the stimulus.

Cognitive Information Processing Perspective

Early information processing views of memory used the computer as a model – the human mind takes in information, performs operations on it to hang its form and content, stores the information, retrieves it whenever it is needed, and then generates responses to and from it. Stimuli from the environment flows into the sensory registers (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, etc.). Then the information is encoded and moves to the short-term memory. Here the information is held briefly, then it is combined with information from long-term memory, and with enough effort, some information is moved into long-term memory storage. The first step in conscious learning is paying attention. Students cannot process information that they do not recognize or perceive. The first step in conscious learning is paying attention. Students cannot process information that they do not recognize or perceive. Mr. Johnson grasps his students’ attention by reading the poem in interesting tones/moods the first time, reading the poem allowed in a monotone voice, and then playing a song version of the poem. Then also by assigning a homework where students had to search for a song they enjoyed was another way of grasping their attention outside of the classroom in order to keep them motivated to do the assignment. Another concept within this theory is long-term memory – its capacity seems to be unlimited. Most cognitive psychologists believe there are two types of long-term memory – explicit which is the knowledge from long-term memory that can be recalled, consciously considered, and declared and implicit which is the knowledge that we are not conscious of recalling, but that influences behavior or thought without our awareness. Through Mr. Johnson’s lesson plan, students listen to his explanation of the definitions of tone and mood and then the students hear three different versions and have to interpret what the tone of the poem is – this will lead to a higher chance of the student memorizing what these definitions are.


Woolfolk (2018) describes constructivism as a broad and much debated term. She claims it is more a philosophy about knowledge rather than it is a scientific theory of learning. The constructivist approach is a view that emphasizes the active role of the learner in building understanding and making sense of information. There are two important concepts within this theory and they are cognitive and social constructivism. Cognitive constructivism states that learners are active in constructing their own understanding – they create knowledge by going beyond the information they are given. Social constructivism states that social interactions are important in this knowledge construction process. Mr. Johnson makes sure to incorporate both of these key concepts by 1) assigning a homework assignment of finding a song the student think accurately describes the tone and mood of the poem according to their cognitive thoughts and 2) social interaction with classmates when they are divided into groups and expected to discuss each member’s chosen song and why they chose this particular song.

Social Cognitive Perspective

Social cognitive theory maintains an emphasis on the role of other people serving as models and teachers – the social part of this theory – but includes thinking, believing, anticipating, self-regulating, expecting, and



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