constructivism - important to help students find what they want to find, not give them something to believe in. add more chances for student self-assesment behaviorism - actions of people and animals can be reinforced to induce greater probability of occurence. reward your students more when they do well, focus on making them feel good when they do good. Also, show them examples of people with good behaviors for them to imitate. piaget's model - this is what I am most interested in, especially the suggested stages beyond formop. These include Wilber's centaur and vision-logic stages where one starts thinking in terms of greater abstractions (like all of humanity, etc.). Essentially, as a human being develops it goes through stages which help define its view of the world. pay more attention to the level of development of the students, tailor teaching style to how they view the world. Probe them with questions and ideas which challenge their current stage of "advancement." neuroscience - the experiences we have can directly shape the physical brain. Repeated experiences can bolster and strengthen certain parts of the brain. give rich thinking problems to students to help cultivate their minds. don't always stay on the surface of breadth, dig down into depth to give students some chances for growth. brain-based learning - learning is best engaged when it does not inhibit the natural functions of the brain. create envirronments that are not harmful to the process of learning. students should be made aware of knowledge like this and encouraged to find out how they learn best. very important to help students find meaning in what they are learning. people are motivated by the process of finding meaning, lets help them. learning styles - different people take in and process information in different ways. must make sure to give people different ways to do this so as to not alienate different people. "The question is not 'are you smart' but "how are you smart?'" multiple intelligences - seven different ways people can learn. must try to engage as many as possible. right brain/left brain thinking - different sides of the brain control different modes of thinking. most people have a preference to one side. left = logical, right = emotional. more weight needs to be given to artistic endeavors which make use of creativity. communities and practice - learning is an act of community and is a social process. we learn best by being a part of a community which we can actively participate in. in our CS department we have a community that functions much on this level. I wonder if our tight community is one reason that our graduates are so successful? control theory - behavior is caused by what we most want at any given time. if someone is unmotivated to do schoolwork it is because they understand that it is not connected to what they need most at the time. make an active intent to tie in assignments with what particular students need at a given time. give them opportunities to make assignments personal. (I think this is _vastly_ important.) problem-based learning - challenge students with actual hands-on problems that will help engage their problem solving capabilities.
The other approach is one near and dear to all of our hearts, technology. I think that computers offer a lot of opportunities to teach in the normal high school classroom, and I hope that we will see their use grow even more. Some of the immediate feedback tests that we are designing for CS 15 in theory can be applied to any subject for high school. Maybe we'll be able to give something like that back to the educational community at large.
Finally, these two approaches best fit my idea of using computer programming as a theme for a high school curriculum. I plan on using some of the resources from the recommended lists to see if I can formalize it even more, now that I know that the theory is definitely going to exist to back up my ideas. Perhaps never presented in my way, but overall I won't be coming up with something out of the blue with no theoretical backup whatsoever. The ideas that can start spinning simply by reading about different proposed teaching styles are really exciting, and I therefore encourage every member to read at least this section of the site.