Theories of Learning and Teaching: What Do They Mean for Educators Working PaperReport as inadecuate

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National Education Association Research Department

This paper's charge is to lay out the central ideas about learning and teaching that run throughout contemporary educational discourse. It details nine concepts of learning, knowledge, and teaching that have formed the basis for recent education reform. Specifically, this report explores the nine concepts that emphasize active construction of meaning, individual and collaborative work, use of student diversity as a resource for learning, and emphasis on both basic and advanced knowledge and skills. These learning goals make teaching more challenging, as teachers must assume increasingly varied roles, share responsibility with students, and work continually to improve their practice. Tools for instructional improvement are appended. (Contains 1 table.)

Descriptors: Learning Theories, Student Diversity, Educational Change, Instructional Design, Instructional Improvement, Educational Theories, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Learning Processes, Constructivism (Learning), Learning Strategies, Culturally Relevant Education, Critical Thinking, Goal Orientation, Teacher Role, Faculty Development

National Education Association Research Department. 1201 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-229-4200; Fax: 770-280-4134; Web site:

Author: Wilson, Suzanne M.; Peterson, Penelope L.


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