At Mr. Gino’s school it is usual for teachers to look at how other experienced teachers are developing their
students’ reading, writing, speaking, listening and critical thinking skills. His school is a local high school with a
primary school next door. The program has a teacher from the primary school (Mrs. Van from Year 4) work with a
secondary teacher. The structured collaborative program runs for a week.
Mr. Gino the History teacher felt that there were so many things that he could learn from the primary area.
Each time he went there, he was amazed at the stimulating and visually pleasing environment. The lessons were
interesting and the Mrs. Van did not just “talk at” the students. It reminded him of how boring his own lessons were
from the textbooks, whiteboard and the bareness of the classroom. So with the co-operation of Mrs. Van, they decided
to work together. Mr. Gino would do History work with Mrs. Van’s class. In return, she would assist him in showing
a variety of lesson strategies to teach his own class.
The changes in Mr. Gino’s Yr. 8 class included a large board to celebrate outstanding student work, a reading
corner containing numerous texts (students can borrow these) and copious amounts of student work displayed around
the room. In addition as a reward, he also had a game’s area with educational work and computer thinking games for
early finishers. In another space was a knowledge space where students could keep informed about world issues. For
example, writing emails and letters to the local newspaper. There were learning centres for independent learning with
activities related to the class topics. Students were placed in groups of two, three or four to work together on special
interest topics as well as class topics. Mr. Gino made sure there was one better performing student in each group. Lots
of talk was allowed in the classroom as long as it was on the topics. Students were encouraged to offer answers even if
they were unsure if they were correct.
Mr. Gino believes that his teaching and the students’ learning changed in quite significant ways. He now has a
stimulating, informative environment that enhances the quality of his teaching. The efforts put into the classroom
environment have been recognized by the students. He feels that the new organization of his classroom makes a strong
statement about quality learning and about the value he places on his learning place. Mr. Gino is able to employ a
diverse range of teaching methodologies. Students are immersed in learning every time they enter his classroom.
Reluctant learners are motivated and they seem more excited to learn.
How does the above relate to Piaget and Vygotskian theories? Illustrate your answer with practical examples
from the scenario. What strategies would have Mrs. Van employed on her Yr. 4 class? Can you see any
problems with either theory (Piaget and Vygotsky)?
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