Normative Theories of Teaching

Like animal learning, human learning cannot take place under rigidly controlled conditions. We have normal conditions and set up for our teaching

Normative Theories of Teaching

Like animal learning, human learning cannot take place under rigidly controlled conditions. We have normal conditions and set up for our teaching-learning activities. Therefore, there is a great need for theories which can explain, guide and control the variables involved in the process of teaching under normal classroom conditions. Normative theories serve this purpose.

Normative Theories of Teaching

These theories throw light on the relationship among the teaching variables on the basis of observations carried out in normal teaching conditions. They set the norms for the teaching-learning conditions best suited for achieving the desired teaching-learning objectives. These theories are applicable for more generalized set of situations or conditions available in a normal classroom set-up. The following theories come under normative theories:

  1. Gagne's Cognitive Theory of Teaching.
  2. Ryan's Theory of Teacher Behaviour.
  3. Mitra's Psychological Theory of Teaching
  4. Clarke's General Theory of Teaching.

N.L. Gagne's Theory of Teaching:- It is influenced by the ideas. propagated by the school of cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology does not allow the teacher to resort to simple stimulus response (S-R) mechanism or habit formation. It insists the teachers to use the principles of cognitive learning such as meaningful organisation of the perceptual field, information processing, independent problem solving etc.. for utilising the cognitive abilities of the learners to the maximum.

The main view of Gagne's theory are:

1. Teaching task is mainly concerned with helping in the students in proper comprehension or meaningful learning of the content material.

2. They can have proper comprehension if this content material is organised, arranged and presented in a proper way by following the principle of cognitive learning. The programmed learning material is one such well structured and organised material.

3. Teaching task consists of many activities that needs to be planned and organised according to the available situations and circumstances as given below:

  1. The type of learning to be played by teacher is like philosopher, motivation counselor, demonstrator, supervisor etc.
  2. The type of education objectives to be achieved.
  3. The type of learning in which the learner is to be engaged (motor, learning, concept learning, problem solving etc).
  4. The type of the stages or components of learning such as preparing the students to learn, sustaining their attention and interest, helping in proper comprehension, reinforcing their learning, evaluating their learning outcomes etc.

Ryan's Theory of Teacher Behaviour:- D.G. Ryan put forward a theory of teaching based on the concept of teacher behaviour. According to it teaching is greatly influenced by the verbal and non-verbal behaviour of the teacher demonstrated by him in the classroom in order to induce learning. Therefore, the improvement in teaching and classroom instruction is dependent on the quality of the teacher behaviour demonstrated by the teacher in the classroom activities. Basic assumptions of teacher behaviour are:

  1. Teacher behaviour is a function of a situational factors present at the time of teaching and personal characteristics of the individual teacher.
  2. Teacher behaviour is observable and thus, can be measured in terms of desirable or undesirable behaviour for the purpose of good teaching.

Based on these assumptions, this theory of teacher behaviour suggests the following measures to bring improvement in the teaching process.

  1. The teaching-learning conditions must be so designed as to help the teachers in manipulating proper teacher behaviour.
  2. The teacher must pay due attention for picking up the desirable behaviour and personal characteristics helpful in good teaching and appropriate classroom interaction.
  3. Since teacher behaviour is observable and can be measured to a reliable extent, good technique of its observation and measurement like Flanders (Flander's interaction analysis), be practical for providing pre-service and in-service training to the teacher. Teachers may also adopt these techniques for their self-evaluation resulting in the improvement of their both verbal and non-verbal behaviour.

Mitra's Psychological Theory of Teaching:- This theory was put forward by Sahib K, former direction of NCERT It attempts to apply the psychological principles in the field of teaching. The main ideas propagated by this theory are: Teaching needs to be restricted to the formalised instructional situation. However, it may take place in and outside the classroom and school.

For teaching to take place, there must be at least two persons, one teacher and the other taught. These two persons need to be bound by contraction relationship. The teacher has a responsibility of influencing the behaviour of the taught in order to lead him from his entry behaviour to the set terminal behaviour.

Teacher should formulate his teaching task based upon his knowledge of the psychological principles related to the psychology of individual differences, learning, intelligence, personality, aptitude and achievement. The teaching task so formulated may include the activities like:

  1. Analyzing teaching task
  2. Identifying entry behaviour of the pupils
  3. Defining teaching objectives and
  4. Selecting teaching strategies.

Clarke's General Theory of Teaching:- This theory has been propagated by S.C.T. Clarke (1970). It is termed as general theory of teaching on account of its general nature outlined below:

  1. It consider teaching as a generalised phenomenon or process instead of specific one.
  2. It takes into account the teaching-learning situation in general common to all types of learning.
  3. The principles in this theory are generally applicable to all types of teaching carried out at different stages for attaining general teaching objectives.
  4. It gives due significance to all the variables, in general, involved at the different levels in the process of teaching.
  5. It talks about the general strategies adopted by a common teacher to deal with all types of learners in varied teaching-learning situations.

The view expressed by Clarke in his general theory of teaching can be summarized in three different heading etc.:

  1. Concept about Teaching
  2. Variables of Teaching
  3. Levels of Teaching

Concept about Teaching

This theory considers teaching as a general phenomenon rather than a specialised one. According to the teaching refers to activities (general in nature) that are designed and performed to produce change in student's behaviour.

Variables of Teaching

According to this theory, teaching process in general involves three types of variables:

  1. Independent variable: the teacher
  2. Dependent variable: the learner.
  3. Intervening variables: the teaching learning situations, curriculum, teaching aids, strategies and evaluation devices etc.

Levels of Teaching

This theory mentions about 3 levels in a process of teaching:

  1. Level 1: It sets the stage for starting the act of actual teaching.
  2. Level 2: The stage of actual and active teaching.
  3. Level 3: The stage of appraisal and evaluation of the product and process of teaching.

Besides mentioning these levels, this theory provides rules and principles to be observed for carrying out a number of activities at different levels.

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