Learning Theories



English 118:

Due Date:

Learning Theories

Description of Reading

In this paper, Anyon examines the class work and teacher – student relationship in elementary schools established in districts with diverse levels of socioeconomic standing. She endeavored to unearth corroboration of the differences in student output in less privileged schools in compared to those in wealthy institutions. Her strategy to reinforce the argument made by several scholars that a large number public schools offer different forms of information and educational training to learners of diverse social classes (Anyon 67). Using a study of fifth grade students from five schools in New Jersey for a period of one year, Anyon collected enough evidence and documented her findings as follows. She categorized the first two schools as “working class”. It was characterized by students whose families lived below the poverty line and most of the providers were employed in manual occupations (Anyon 71). The third school was a middle-class school having students that originated from “rich” backgrounds. Their parents were highly paid professionals. The fourth school categorized as an “affluent professional school had parents occupying the upper middle strata in society such as lawyers and doctors. The executive elite school was composed of families at the top of the societal and economic ranking (72).

These rankings made by Anyon were important since she applied them in the consequent argument proposing that children from high-end families eventually acquired a different form of education. Anyon noted that with an increase in social class within the community, several other aspects equally improved. These include access to different learning materials in the classroom, the amount of lesson preparation among teachers, heightened social class, and increased qualifications among teachers and administrators (Provenzo, Renaud, and Provenzo 18). Other aspects that were enhanced include stricter requirements from the board concerning teaching techniques, increased teachers contribution, and support, increased parent spending on learning equipment, and increased pressure and demands on the student to perform well. From these observations, Anyon concluded that middle class children were unconsciously being prepared for white-collar occupations, working class children were being groomed for hard labor and upper class children were being taught how to own and control factors of production and assets (Provenzo et al. 28). All these differences in learning were summed up as the outcome of the “hidden curriculum” in schoolwork.

Description of Reading

Brainology by Carol S. Dweck is an individual concept by the scholar that attempts to enhance learner’s success rates by assisting them foster a growth state of mind. When students fixate their mindset, there is a consequent assumption that their intelligence has reached its full potential. Learners start to imagine that their intelligence was limited to a fixed amount that cannot be improved. This mindset instills the fear of seeming unintelligent and restricts their learning opportunities. However, adopting a growth mindset means that students can comprehend the full potential of their intelligence and the extent to which it can be enhanced. Rather than being apprehensive about their level of intelligence, they concentrate on learning new aspects and improving their intelligence (Previna 23). Dweck proposed that brainology achieved this effect by instructing students on the functioning of the brain including its memory process. It also taught students the way it changes after being used effectively. Dweck argued that Brainology as a concept was highly significant in influencing the attitudes of children towards learning as well as the quality of education being offered in public schools. The level of success in a child’s is directly related to the performance of mental functions in the brain. Consequently, understanding how the brain works and explaining this to children represented a unique way of enhancing their brain capacity and improving the learning process simultaneously (Basit and Tomlinson 76).

Description of Experience

When I was about 6 years old, I was recruited in Joseph Craig Elementary School that was located in a poor section of Louisiana. At that time, my mother was not employed and my father was struggling to raise school fees for my siblings and me. One the first day, I was taken to a classroom of about 200 children and it was almost impossible to find a seat. The quality of learning was largely dismal and basic in nature. The whole elementary school had only 11 teachers. This meant that some of them doubled up as instructors for topics they were not skilled and experienced in. By the time I reached sixth grade, I had learnt that the school was not very vigilant in keeping up with the lessons in the timetable. Most of the teachers were either too lazy or too incompetent to handle such a large class. Apart from the basic academic program, the school lacked any substantial program and facilities for recreation purposes.

By the time, I reached the eighth grade, over half the students in my class had already dropped out. The reasons for this phenomenon were many: some had financial issues at home; some were playing truants while a large number of the girls were either pregnant or married. After I graduated, our family was lucky enough to experience an economic upturn. We moved to an upscale neighborhood and I enrolled in a high-class high school within Louisiana called Arcadia High School. From that moment, I experienced a different style of education that I felt was more effective and deserving of students in school. The institution had a sufficient number of instructors who were highly competent in handling academic and non-curricular activities. I was encouraged to joining the leadership club as well as the football team. These activities were given as much priority as academics. All students were encouraged to develop useful entrepreneurship skills such as starting and running a business, investing in different ventures and collecting capital for an enterprise. By the time I graduated from high school, I had received a stable education in the basic subjects as well as business matters. The consequent years in colleges and work were relatively comfortable since I was able to generate enough income and assets to sustain myself. However, all of this was made possible in the short time that I attended Arcadia. The successive sections discuss the relationship between the theoretical stands made by several scholars on the issue of education and personal experiences in school.

Effect of Theory on understanding of Subject

The discourse on the learning methods presented by Jean Anyon and Carol Dweck offered a wealth of information into understanding my early childhood experiences, the effect of economic backgrounds on the learning process. From Jean Anyon, I became aware of the effect of switching from learning in a lower class elementary school to an upper class institution. The disparities in instructor preparation, quality of lessons, stakeholder involvement and access to learning materials is so wide that it would be impossible to expect students from middle and lower class students to become achievers in the future (Weis, McCarthy, and Dimitriadis 34). Anyon also clarified the puzzle of how rich families managed to stay rich while poor ones remained languishing in poverty. Her explanation pointed towards the difference in access to quality education that had an impact on the student. From Dweck, I grasped the significance of developing a functional learning program that incorporates the appropriate values such as brain capacity development.


The discourse revealed that the current social strata within society were an outcome of the education system. Divided along economic lines, these institutions prepared their beneficiaries in different ways (Weis et al. 56). The experience in elementary and high school ultimately determined the quality of life, the type of job, and the position that they would occupy in society.


Works Cited

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Anyon, Jean. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” Journal of Education. 162.1 (1981): 67-92. Print.

Basit, Tehmina N, and Sally Tomlinson. Social Inclusion and Higher Education. Bristol: Policy Press, 2012. Print.

Previna, Debby S. Hidden in Plain View: Classroom Space, Teacher Agency, and the Hidden Curricula, 2011. Print.

Provenzo, Eugene F, John Renaud, and Asterie B. Provenzo. Encyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications, 2011, Print.

Weis, Lois, Cameron McCarthy, and Greg Dimitriadis. Ideology, Curriculum, and the New Sociology of Education: Revisiting the Work of Michael Apple. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

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