Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Cognitive Learning in the Environment: Elementary Students.

Cognitive Learning in the Environment: Elementary Students. This paper look s at how students in elementary school can use cognitve learning.

From the site:

Cognitive learning in the environment as it relates to secondary schools and students was the topic of a recent ERIC/SMEAC ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION DIGEST (Lisowski and Disinger, 1987). The situation with respect to outside-the-classroom instruction, which is somewhat different in the elementary setting, is the topic of this digest.

There are a number of similarities between the field instruction situations in elementary and secondary schools, the most prominent being that affective, not cognitive, learning has traditionally been the primary objective of field instruction at all K-12 levels. Likewise, most of the educational research dealing with learning in the environment--or, more generally, outside the classroom--at both elementary and secondary levels has centered on noncognitive areas (Disinger, 1984).

There are typically fewer difficulties in arranging for elementary out-of-school activities than for secondary school activities. The self-contained elementary school classroom allows for flexible scheduling, and the absence of rigid time frames for instruction in specific subjects makes it easier for the teacher to arrange to leave the classroom and engage in "outside" ventures. Also, ause the elementary teacher is more of a generalist than is the secondary school teacher, there is greater potential for the planned integration of knowledge which is possible through in-the-environment experiences.

Countering these factors, the elementary teacher is typically not well-versed in the various specific content areas associated with field learning, and generally sees his or her primary task as instruction in the "basic skills" areas or 3 Rs. This may be the result of elementary teacher education and training which generally does not provide depth in the sciences or social studies.


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