Reflective Teaching offers an account of three major approaches to the study and understanding of children’s learning – behaviourism, constructivism and social cognition. These ideas are often covered in most introductory texts on learning, however, direct study of original texts is always worthwhile and some suggestions are offered below:
For some classic behaviourist work see:
- Skinner, B. F. (1953) Science and Human Behaviour, New York: Macmillan.
- Gagné, R. M. (1965) The Conditions of Learning, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
For Piaget’s classic constructivist work, see:
- Piaget, J. (1926) The Language and Thought of the Child, New York: Basic Books.
- Piaget, J. (1950) The Psychology of Intelligence, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
A comprehensive introduction to Piaget's work is:
- Ginsberg, H. and Opper, S. (1969) Piaget's Theory of Intellectual Development, New York: Prentice Hall.
However, for an important critique of Piagetian theory see:
- Donaldson, M. (1978) Children's Minds, London: Fontana.
Most theories of social cognition can be traced back to the work of Vygotsky:
- Vygotsky, L. S. (1962) Thought and Language, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Vygotsky, L. S. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
- Daniels, H. R. J. (2008) Vygotsky and Research. Abingdon: Routledge.
Others, including Bruner, offer key insights into the significance of learners’ cultural and social contexts in influencing understanding:
- Bruner, J. (1990) Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Reading 11.1)
Two important books with an emphasis on socio-cultural factors are those by Rogoff and Wenger. Wells and Claxton present international perspectives on the ideas and challenges raised by a socio-cultural perspective of learning, in a modern world that is characterised by complexity and uncertainty:
- Rogoff, B. (1990) Apprenticeship in Thinking, New York: Oxford University Press.
- Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Wells, G. and Claxton, G. (Eds) (2002) Learning for Life in the 21st Century: Socio-Cultural Perspectives on the Future of Education, Oxford: Blackwell.