I read an article about Brian Cambourne’s Conditions of Learning Theory and their connection to Brain/Mind Principles (Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 31, #1, Fall 2003). In this article I found three issues in a learning classroom which have the potential to affect equity. Today, I’d like to discuss one of them.
Let me give you some background on the Conditions of Learning Theory. According to the authors, there are eight conditions that affect student learning, they are: Immersion, Demonstration, Engagement, Expectation, Responsibility, Employment, Approximation, and Response. He states that these conditions are necessary for student learning. Each one of these conditions has a connection with a principle on how the brain learns. After, I read the article I chose three of these principles/conditions and linked to equity in education. It is interesting to notice how the lack of implementation of these principles in the classroom can lead a teacher to promote inequity in his classroom. I am working with the subject in an inquiry manner.
First condition of learning is immersion and the brain principle states that, “An enriched learning environment increases cell weight, branching of dendrites and synaptic process with in the brain”. The question for us to ponder is, are we immersing our students in learning experiences, or are we in the business of “exposure”. I am trying to create an image for your brain here. How are Oreo cookies and milk linked to inequity in education? I think Oreo cookies are dipped more times into a glass of milk than students in our public school system into learning experiences. Why?
Let me explain. Right now, in education teachers are in frenzy, trying to “cover” the material that may appear on the test. As teachers “cover” the material, who guarantees learning? We cannot guarantee learning because each one of us learn at a different pace and the idea of “covering” does not ensure deep learning because there is no time for deep learning!