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concept of teaching and learning

The concept of teaching and learning: Teaching involves many activities, behaviours and processes. There are varied definitions of teaching. According to Russon and Wanous (1973), teaching is the process of directing or guiding learning. It is the art of causing another to learn. Teaching can also be seen as the arrangement of situations which will lead to desirable and satisfying ends. Ifeagwu (2000) defined teaching as a two-way traffic system involving exchange of ideas between the teacher and the students. He further defined teaching as a series of activities geared towards helping students “learn how to learn”. From the above definitions, it can be seen that teaching involves a teacher, learner(s), learning/teaching materials, learning activities and effective communication between teacher and learner.

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The goal of teaching is to bring about desired learning in the students. If they learn what they are supposed to learn under your direction, then you have successfully taught. If not, then you have failed. According to Canning (1976), the most important aspect of good teaching lies in discovering and applying the best ways of learning. We shall at this stage consider the concept of learning, how students learn and hindrances to effective learning. There is no one kind of learning. It is therefore not easy to define it. Many scholars and educationists have made several attempts to define learning.

Generally, learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour that comes from reinforced practice. It must be mentioned at this point that reinforcement plays a vital role in a learning process. Re-inforcement may be defined as any condition that exists to promote learning. In a classroom setting, reinforcement could be seen in immediate knowledge of the results of students’ efforts which encourage them (students) to continue. Knowledge of scores, words of encouragement or praise or monetary rewards are all examples of reinforcement that work.

According to Ifeagwu (2000) learning can be defined as the behavioural change that takes place at the end of a teacher-student interaction in a classroom setting. In order words, learning is the experience gained from interactions. As Daugherty (1974) puts it, learning is a change in an individual through some form of experience. This is sometimes referred to as a desirable change in the behaviour of the human being. Learning is therefore, a modification of behaviour. It is a process which involves changes in perception and behaviour.

Farrant (1964) says learning is the process by which we acquire and retain attitudes, knowledge, understanding, skills and capabilities that cannot be attributed to inherited behavioural patterns or physical growth. From the above definitions, it can be observed that learning involves the acquisition of knowledge, habits, skills, attitudes and patterns of behaviour that are desirable through some form of experience or interactions. It must be emphasized here that the concept of change is inherent in the concept of learning. If there is any change in behaviour it means that learning is taking place or has taken place. Two major characteristics inherent in human learning are the active and continuous nature of behavioural changes. Learning is an active process in the sense that the learner has to be involved in the learning activities.

Learning is continuous in the sense that it takes place from cradle to the grave – before school, in school, outside of school and all through life.

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What is therefore expected of you as a teacher is to understand how you can influence the student to change his behaviour through various educational experiences. Your objective should be to guide your students through appropriate learning experiences that would bring about desirable changes in them.

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