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Process-oriented Teaching

J. Vermunt, L. Verschaffel
Published 2000 · Computer Science

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In contemporary conceptions of teaching, a central place is given to the quality of student learning. Whereas, in the past, theories of teaching and theories of instructional design were mostly based on the knowledge-transmission model, today many such theories find their inspiration in the knowledge-construction model (Lowyck & Elen, 1993). One reason for this change is epistemological in nature: research results have made it clear that the quality of knowledge gained by active knowledge construction is better (i.e., more accessible, coherent, usable...) than knowledge acquired by the passive intake of knowledge. A second reason is societal in nature: fast changes in work, technology, and society make it more necessary than before for people to keep acquiring new knowledge after their school career. It is obvious that they should learn at school the knowledge and skills needed for this lifelong process of learning. From an epistemological perspective, it is important that teaching is aimed at fostering learning processes characterized by active knowledge construction. From a societal point of view, it is important that education takes care that students learn to self-initiate such types of learning. In this way, students acquire a disposition to keep acquiring new knowledge actively and self-directedly after their formal education has come to an end. Learning to learn has increasingly become a major educational goal. This calls for teaching theories and instructional design models that are specifically aimed at promoting learning-to-leam processes in students. In this chapter, we will discuss a teaching model that is well suited to meeting this objective: process-oriented teaching. It is based on research and theories on student learning processes and the interplay between self-regulation and external regulation of learning. Process-oriented teaching is aimed at the integrated teaching of learning and thinking strategies, on the one hand, and domain-specific knowledge, on the other. It is an instructional model in which learners are taught to employ suitable learning and thinking activities to construct, change and utilize their knowledge of a particular subject domain. This type of teaching is called process-oriented teaching because it focuses on learners' processes of knowledge construction and utilization. The emphasis is on a gradual transfer of control over thinking and learning processes from the teacher and/or other instructional agents to students. The underlying regulation conception assumes that it is impossible, but also undesirable, to carry out the learning processes for students and to exert maximum control over them. The main teacher tasks in this conception are
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