Teaching, learning and assessment: The road to democracy

Year: 2004

Author: Mahon, Lawry

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Through this paper I will elaborate on and compare current teaching, learning and assessment philosophies and place them into one of three separate categories. The categories are:

• Behavioural approaches to learning
• Cognitive approaches to learning and
• Humanistic approaches to learning

I will offer ideas that have the opportunity to redirect much teaching practice towards an outcome for society that is different to current general practice. While much current practice sees daily and weekly planning as occupying much of its energy, and controlling disaffected children in classrooms that are becoming meaningless to them, I wish to demonstrate that there are alternatives that empower children to become good "decision makers", and that when the three overriding theories that have shaped education for the past hundred years are compared at the "practice" level, different practice becomes possible. I will demonstrate that much current teaching and learning adheres to conservative behavioural philosophies. I will also demonstrate that while behaviourism is still currently the strongest direction taken in Australian classrooms, society on the whole has demanded much more from its citizens than can ever be achieved by merely "response to stimuli" interactions amongst and between people.