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Information-processing models emphasize ways of enhancing the human beingÐ’ÐŽÐ’¦s innate drive to make sense of the world by acquiring and organizing data, sensing problems, and generating solutions to them, and developing concepts and language for conveying them. The book discussed eight different information-processing models which include: Inductive thinking, Concept attainment, The Picture-Word Inductive Model, Scientific inquiry, Inquiry training, Mnemonics, Synectics, and Advance organizers.

The inductive thinking yields the ability to analyze information and create concepts which is generally regarded as the fundamental thinking skill. This model has been used in a wide variety of curriculum areas and with students of all ages-it is not confined to the sciences. Phonetic and structural analysis depend on concept learning, as do rules of grammar. The structure of the field of literature is based on classification. The study of communities, nations, and history requires concept learning. Even if concept learning were not so critical in the development of thought, the organization of information is so fundamental to curriculum areas that inductive thinking would be a very important model for learning and teaching school subjects.

Concept Attainment is an indirect instructional strategy that uses a structured inquiry process. It was designed to clarify ideas and to introduce aspects of content. It engages students into formulating a concept through the use of illustrations, word cards or specimens called examples. Students who catch onto the idea before others are able to resolve the concept and then are invited to suggest their own examples, while other students are still trying to form the concept. For this reason, concept attainment is well suited to classroom use because all thinking abilities can be challenged throughout the activity. With experience, children become skilled at identifying relationships in the word cards or specimens. With carefully chosen examples, it is possible to use concept attainment to teach almost any concept in all subjects. It is based on the work of Jerome Bruner. In concept attainment, students figure out the attributes of a group or category that has already been formed by the teacher. To do so, students compare and contrast examples that contain the attributes of the concept with examples that do not contain those attributes. They then separate them into two groups. Concept attainment, then, is the search for and identification of attributes that can be used to distinguish examples of a given group or category from non-examples.

Calhoun developed the Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM), which uses pictures containing familiar objects, actions and scenes to draw out words from childrenÐ’ÐŽÐ’¦s listening and speaking vocabularies. The purpose of using PWIM is to develop studentsÐ’ÐŽÐ’¦ vocabulary, concepts about words, and sentence and paragraph structures through our content subjects of reading, math, science, or social studies. This model helps students add words to their sight reading vocabulary, as well as their writing vocabulary, and also discover phonetic and structural principles present in those words.

Scientific Inquiry learning provides opportunities for students to experience and acquire processes through which they can gather information about the world. This requires a high level of interaction among the learner, the teacher, the area of study, available resources, and the learning environment. Students become actively involved in the learning process as they:

Ð’„X act upon their curiosity and interests;

Ð’„X develop questions;

Ð’„X think their way through controversies or dilemmas;

look at problems analytically;

Ð’„X inquire into their preconceptions and what they already know;

Ð’„X develop, clarify, and test hypotheses; and,

Ð’„X draw inferences and generate possible solutions.

Questioning is the heart of scientific inquiry learning. Students must ask relevant questions and develop ways to search for answers and generate explanations. Emphasis is placed upon the process of thinking as this applies to student interaction with issues, data, topics, concepts, materials, and problems. Divergent thinking is encouraged and nurtured as students recognize that questions often have more than one “good” or “correct” answer. Such thinking leads in many instances to elaboration of further questions. In this way students come to the realization that knowledge may not be fixed and permanent but may be tentative, emergent, and open to questioning and alternative hypotheses.

The Suchman Inquiry Training Model is most commonly used in science and social studies. Students need an initial period of practice in teacher-structured inquiry sessions before they can undertake inquiry individually or in small groups. This model is designed to assist students in developing the skills required to raise questions and seek out answers stemming from their curiosity in the following order:

Ð’„X The teacher presents students with a puzzling situation or event. Students are allowed to ask the teacher questions that must be answered by a Ð’ÐŽÐ’§yesВЎВЁ or Ð’ÐŽÐ’§noВЎВЁ.

Ð’„X The purpose of this phase is to verify the facts.

Ð’„X Students next gather information and verify the occurrence of the puzzling situation.

Ð’„X Students identify relevant variables, hypothesize and test causal relationships.

Ð’„X Next, the teacher asks students to organize the data and formulate an explanation for the puzzle.

Ð’„X Finally, students analyze their pattern of inquiry and propose improvements.

Mnemonics are strategies for memorizing and assimilating information. It can help people to master interesting concepts and provide a lot of fun doing so. Teachers can use mnemonics to guide their presentations of material and they can teach devices that students can use to enhance their individual and cooperative study of information and concepts.

Synectics was developed for use with “creative groups” in industrial settings. Synectics is designed to help people “break set” in problem-solving and writing activities and to gain new perspectives on topics of a wide range of fields. Although designed as a direct stimulus to creative thought, synetics has the side effect of promoting collaborative work and study skills and a feeling of camaraderie among the students. The synectics model has stimulated the students to see and feel the original idea in a variety of fresh ways.

The advance organizer model is based on the work of David Ausubel. He addressed learning academic subject matter by directly confronting the problem and arguing that (1) learning verbal information matters and (2) it can be improved through better methods of presenation (reading, teacher talk). Ausubel wrote in The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning (1963) that learning verbal information required strong cognitive structuresÐ’ÐŽXÐ’ÐŽÐ’§knowledge of a particular subject at any given time and how well organized, clear, and stable their knowledge isВЎВЁ (Joyce and Weil, Models of Teaching, 1996, p. 267). The biggest single factor in learning anything new is whether it will be meaningful or not and that depends on the learner’s cognitive structure. So, if we want students to learn new verbal information, we will have to increase the stability and clarity of how they organize information relating to that topic. The advance organizer is designed to accomplish that end by providing the concepts that govern the information to be learned, to provide intellectual scaffolding to see the information more clearly.


The social models combine a belief about learning and a belief about society. The belief about learning is that cooperative behavior is stimulating not only socially but also intellectually and, hence, that tasks requiring social interaction will stimulate learning. The belief about society is that a central role of education is to prepare citizens to perpetuate a democratic social order.The combination of these two beliefs has resulted in the development of a large number of models that have great potential for our teaching repertoires. Also, many of the social theorists have not only built rationales for their models, but have raised serious questions about the adequacy of the current dominant patterns of schooling. In most schools the majority of learning tasks are structured by teachers for individuals. Most interaction between teachers and students is in the pattern of recitation-the teacher directs questions about what has been studied, calls on an individual who responds, and then affirms the response or corrects it.

Many developers of the cooperative learning models believe that they have developed important additions to the storehouse of models and that teacher-dominated recitation is actually bad for society. The social models received much attention in the 1930s and 1940s, when a number of studies were conducted of the effects of the schools that used democratic-process models as their cores. Many of the studies were in response to serious questions raised by concerned citizens about whether such a degree of reliance on social purposes would retard the students’ academic development. The studies generally indicated that social and academic goals are not at all incompatible. The students from those schools were not disadvantaged; in many respects they outperformed the others (Chamberlin and Chamberlin, 1943).

Recently, interest has been renewed in research on the cooperative learning models. Sophisticated research procedures used by three groups of researchers, Johnson and Johnson, (1974, 1981), Robert Slavin (1983) and Sharan of Israel (1980), have implications for the entire family of models. The Johnsons and Slavin have studied whether cooperative tasks and reward structures affect learning outcomes positively. Also, they have asked whether group cohesion, cooperative behavior, and intergroup relations are improved through cooperative learning procedures. In some of their investigations they have examined the effects of cooperative task and reward structures on “traditional” learning tasks, in which students are presented with material to master. The evidence is largely affirmative. Classrooms organized so that students work in pairs and larger groups, tutor each other, and share rewards are characterized by greater mastery of material than the common individual-study and recitation pattern. Also, the shared responsibility and interaction produce more positive feelings toward tasks and others, generate better intergroup relations, and result in better self-images for students with histories of poor achievement. In other words, the results generally affirm the assumptions that underlie these models.
Sharan’s team has confirmed the results of the Johnson and Slavin teams, but it has also learned that the stronger the model implemented-the more that cooperative endeavor replaced directive recitation and individual study-the more positive the results. He has also demonstrated that cooperative learning is appropriate for a broad range of learning objectives: the “basic skills” as well as the more complex cognitive and social goals of schooling.

An exciting use of the social models is in combination with models from the other families, in an effort to combine the effects of several models. For example, Baveja, Showers, and Joyce (1985) conducted a study in which concept and inductive procedures were carried out in cooperative groups. The effects fulfilled the promise of the marriage of the information-processing and social models, and the treatment generated gains twice those of a comparison group that received intensive individual and group tutoring over the same material.

Group Investigation -Based on John Dewey’s insistence that the principles of democracy be imparted in the everyday classroom experience, this model encourages cooperative inquiry into social and academic problems. Teachers facilitate students in group work that incorporates the scientific methodology for research. The strategy yields high academic and affective gains.

Role Playing -Students gain new insights into social problems and concerns as they act out conflicts, assume roles different from their own and feel the difference. Especially valuable in the social sciences and cultural studies it has found recent exciting use in science classes as well.

Jurisprudential Inquiry -Utilizes the case study method of law to explore social problems and policy. Students identify the problem, look at various options and come to understand policy formulation. Applicable in all subjects as most are impacted by policy.

Social Science Inquiry and Laboratory Training -Adapted from the world of work these strategies develop self awareness and responsibility to others in terms of mutual respect and commitment to the team effort.


The personal models of learning begin from the perspective of the self-hood of the individual. They attempt to shape education so that we come to understand ourselves better, take responsibility for our education, and learn to reach beyond our current development to become stronger, more sensitive, and more creative in our search for high-quality lives.

Each of us sees the world from a different perspective, a perspective that derives from our experiences, environment and relationships. We each carry around a different set of lenses through which we interpret events, translate language and transform information- giving it new meaning. Common understandings must occur if we are to work successfully together in our workplace and community. Our social context provides our language and the other artifacts of culture. Our environment shapes how we behave and affects how we feel and we, in turn, shape our environment. While our lives have much continuity we also possess great capacity to change.


The Personal Family models can be used in several ways. They can be used to moderate the entire learning environment. We can use these models to enhance the personal qualities and feelings of our students and to look for opportunities to make them partners with us and to communicate affirmatively with them. We use nondirective techniques when we are counseling the students, synectics to enhance creativity, classroom meetings to build the community of learners.

Personal models have been adopted as a nondirective core of schools like A.S. Neil’s Summerhill, or as a major component of a school (Chamberlin and Chamberlin, 1943). Certain approaches to teaching academic subjects have been developed around personal models. The “experience” methods for teaching reading, for example, use student dictated stories as the initial reading materials and student-selected literature as the chief materials once initial competence has been established.

A major thesis of this family of models is that the better-developed, more affirmative, self actualizing learners have increased learning capabilities. Thus, personal models will increase academic achievement by tending to the learners. This thesis is supported by a number of studies (Roebuck, Buhler, and Aspy, 1976) that indicate that the students of teachers who incorporate personal models into their repertoires increase their achievement.

The personal family models begin with the perspective of the individual and allow teachers to impact self awareness so that learners become responsible of their own growth. Self actualization leads to lifelong learning skills that promote quality of life.

Nondirective Teaching -Developed from counseling theory the model brings student and teacher together in a cooperative effort to guide the student to autonomy as a learner. The teacher acts as a guide and facilitator providing coaching assistance where necessary. The model has several applications: students may work in a laissez faire program and decide what they will learn next and why. The model may be used in conjunction with other models to insure that the teacher maintains contact as a guide for the student. It is a useful tool when students are planning independent or cooperative learning. It is also valuable in advisory programs to help students understand what they are thinking and feeling.

Synectics -A brainstorming tool that feeds creativity and allows students to escape the bounds of their thinking and gain new perspective and a new framework for thinking. The model encourages rapport and warmth among participants and creates excitement as students learn to use it independently and in cooperative efforts.

Awareness Training -Useful in helping students to understand themselves. The strategies lend to reflection about interpersonal relationships, self image, and presentation of self.

The Classroom Meeting -A counseling process designed to allow students to become responsible for their classroom environment in terms of academic tasks and respect for one another. It provides assistance with personal and social development and social skills.


Behavioral models of learning and instruction have their origins in the classical conditioning experiments of Pavlov, the work of Thorndike on reward learning and the studies of Watson and his associates, who applied Pavlovian principles to the psychological disorders of human beings. In the past twenty years behavior (learning) theory, systematically applied in school settings, has been greatly influenced by B. F. Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior and J. Wolpe’s Psychotherapy by Reciprocal Inhibition.

In the late 1950s educators began to employ behavioral techniques, particularly forms of contingency management and programmed learning materials, in school settings. For some types of learners these have had great success. For example, some youngsters who previously had made no progress in language development and social learning are now trainable, and often able to mix with normal individuals. Milder forms of learning problems have responded to behavior models as well.

During the past ten years there has been an impressive amount of research demonstrating the effectiveness of behavioral techniques with a wide range of problems, from phobias to social skill deficits, behavioral problems, and test anxiety. The research also indicates that these procedures can be used effectively in group settings and by laypeople. Behavior theory offers an array of procedures that are extremely useful to teachers and curriculum planners.

The educator who understands the impact of environmental variables and relationships can apply the findings directly to his or her work-changing student behavior. The leverage of external control can also be given to the individual. If the teacher can, by appropriate techniques, ascertain and control the external variables, so can the student. Thus, what appears at first to be a technique for controlling others increasing their capabilities for self-control. These tools have proven quite effective in the area of Exceptional Education, but are not limited in their effect to that realm.

Many people have assumed, quite erroneously, that many children have “blocks to learning” (internal states that cannot be changed). Yet in recent years, we have seen numerous examples of growth through the systematic application of learning principles. Other more typical, but frustrating, behavioral problems of normal children have been handled successfully with behavioral techniques.

The Contingency Management Model is widely used with students who have major learning and behavior problems. However, many school administrators now believe it is essential for all teachers to possess, the knowledge and skills of this model, which they regard as the heart of objective classroom management. Knowing how to conceptualize and describe behavior In discrete, observable terms, noticing when and under what conditions it usually occurs, identifying more appropriate behaviors and suitable reinforcers, and finally instituting a reinforcement program may soon be standard requirements for many teachers.

Programmed instruction, a variant of contingency management, has found its way into numerous basic skills curricula in reading and math. The approach is thought to be important to youngsters who need a high degree of success and immediate reinforcement or feedback about their progress. The training model relies on modeling through observation and practice as the means of obtaining new behaviors or eliminating old ones, although it also uses stimulus control and feedback.

Many educators, believe that one purpose of schooling is to increase students’ self-esteem and life skills. These models offer one way of addressing preventive mental health as well as basic intellectual knowledge and skills. In many classrooms the primary instructional objective is to get the student to respond to a subject-matter stimulus. The learner connects appropriate responses to various stimuli. The football player fires off the line on the appropriate count. The child ‘udders’ the word ‘cow’ when a flashcard with the letters is displayed. Stimulus discrimination is particularly important in the learning situation. When we respond differently to different stimuli, we are distinguishing or discriminating between their properties. Most subject matter is brought to control behavior through discrimination training.

Mastery Learning -Material for learning is arranged from simple to complex. Material is presented to the learner as an individual through appropriate materials. Students maintain their own pace as they master or remediate the information.

Direct Instruction -Information is fed by the teacher or media and the learner responds in lockstep fashion. Repeating the information of responding to the stimuli with the appropriate response. Choral responses in language labs are an example.

Learning Self Control -Students are taught that how they feel is a product of their own effort and that they are responsible for their actions and the impact their actions have on others. Students learn to cope with fears, phobias, aversions and the maladaptive behaviors they have exhibited.

Training for Skill and Concept Development -Skills are acquired through modeling demonstrations, practice, feedback, and coaching until the skill is acquired. Simulations may also be used in which the skill may be practiced.

Assertive Training -Leads to honest and open communication in the classroom. Students learn how to reveal their feelings without harming or necessarily offending others. A productive classroom is the end result.

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