1. 1. I think the learning theory that I can identify most with is Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory. I like the balance that Vygotsky provides between the learning that children do internally as well as with the help of others. I am a strong believer that there is a lot of value from peers learning from and teaching each other but I also believe that a lot of learning comes from within themselves. I see the significance of students struggling with concepts and reasoning through it using what they know and I also think it is great to share their thoughts with students in the class and collaborate with their ZPDs (Zones of Proximal Development) which will inevitably be at all different levels.
2. 2. According to the Sociocultural Theory, learning is based off of working with others as well as evaluating what can be done when the student is working by themselves. Vygotsky believes that students can achieve more learning when they work in groups with their peers, with the help of teachers, other adults, etc. I believe in this theory because I also think that sometimes students need a little help by getting other peoples’ ideas in order to further their own thinking and development in the classroom. There is a lot of collaboration involved in the Sociocultural Theory of learning.
3. 3. In my classroom, my students will be seated in clusters with their desks facing each other instead of rows, which will easily facilitate good group discussions as well as collaboration with their peers. For example, let’s pretend I am teaching in a second grade classroom. In social studies, I would introduce a concept like community and would have my students work together with the clusters they are seated at to come up with three examples of a community they belong to (school, neighborhood, grade, classroom, etc.). This would also serve as a formative assessment for me to be able to see if they understand what the concept of a community really means. Then, I would assign a project for each student to choose one of the communities they belong to and make a diagram of the different elements of that community: who shapes that community, who is in charge of the community, who makes up the community, etc. To wrap up the unit of community, I would assign the task to each cluster of students to come up with one fundraiser idea that the whole class could do that would benefit the community. To motivate the students, I would let them know that the class would be voting on which idea they want to actually carry out and in the end, we would actually carry out one of the philanthropic ideas to benefit the community.
4. 4. First, I would use formative assessments like the three examples of communities that the students belong to just to make sure everyone in the class understands what a community means. I would not give any scores to this assessment; it would just be for me to see if I need to spend more time explaining what a community is or if I could move on through the unit. Then, I would use another formative assessment of the diagram of a community. I would make this assignment out of 10 points: 5 for choosing a community they belong to, and 5 points for including all the elements of this community. The fundraising plan would serve as the summative assessment because it would be a good way for the students to display their understanding of each of the elements of the unit on community: what a community is, what makes up the community, how the community can change, and how to apply things to the entire community.
I am a little bit confused as to how to spark intrinsic motivation. I have a deep understanding of extrinsic motivation and using rewards but what are some common ways that teachers use to motivate their students intrinsically?