How do you learn? An 11-18 developmental perspective



John P. Cuthell, Boston Spa Comprehensive School, West Yorkshire, UK



Current approaches to ways in which people learn can be classified as: Constructivism; Behaviourism; Developmental Theory; Neuroscience; Brain-based Learning; Learning Styles; Multiple Intelligences; Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking; Communities of Practice; Control Theory and Problem-Based Learning. In practice, however, there is a degree of commonality between many of these categories.

Despite this diversity, praxis within British schools has focused on content, rather than process. What theoretical bases can be found are often simplified variants of Constructivism and Developmental Theory.

Research has been undertaken at a Local Education Authority comprehensive school in West Yorkshire into ways in which young people think that they learn. 918 students aged 12-18 were surveyed. Responses were quantified to produce a typology of student concepts of learning. Content analysis identifies the styles and methods that they use.

This paper outlines a developmental typology, which is matched against current models.

The implications for schools and the education system are examined.

Return to Abstracts Page