Learning and Teaching

  • David Fontana
Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series (PPG)


This chapter discusses some of the characteristics of human learning and of its counterpart, teaching. It considers the ‘learner’ as a person and there are references to the low and high achievers that featured in the previous chapter. The work of B. F. Skinner and of Bruner provides the main framework for the discussion which also demonstrates the relationship between their theories and the stages of cognitive development described by Piaget. Further information on Piagetian theories can be found in the introduction to chapter 8.


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Annotated reading

  1. Bigge, L. (1976) Learning Theories for Teachers (3rd edn). New York: Harper & Row. One of the best and most comprehensive surveys of learning theories and their application to teaching.Google Scholar
  2. Bruner, J.S. (1961) The Process of Education. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bruner, J.S. (1966) Towards a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bruner, J.S. (1973) The Relevance of Education. New York: Norton. Bruner’s ideas are expounded in a number of highly readable texts, of which these three are good examples.Google Scholar
  5. Fontana, D. (1977) Personality and Education. London: Open Books. Gives a more general discussion, with an examination of the implications for the teacher.Google Scholar
  6. Hintzman, L. (1978) The Psychology of Learning and Memory. San Francisco: Freeman. A good choice for those who want to take their study of learning theories rather further, and examine their relationship to memory.Google Scholar
  7. Hunter, I.M.L. (1964) Memory (rev. edn). Harmondsworth: Pelican. Difficult to beat as an examination of all aspects of memory.Google Scholar
  8. Klatsky, R.L. (1980) Human Memory (2nd edn). San Francisco: Freeman. A more up-to-date picture of this subject.Google Scholar
  9. Mace, C.A. (1968) The Psychology of Study (rev. edn). London: MacDonald.Google Scholar
  10. Rowntree, D. (1976) Learn How to Study. Harmondsworth: Pelican. Both these are highly recommended among the good books currently available on study habits.Google Scholar
  11. Marjoribanks, K. (1979) Families and Their Learning Environments. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Provides a thorough and scholarly survey of the research into the relationship between intelligence, personality, family variables and learning.Google Scholar
  12. Neisser, U. (1976) Cognition and Reality. San Francisco: Freeman. Contains some of the major tenets of the cognitive position.Google Scholar
  13. Rachlin, H. (1976) Introduction to Modern Behaviorism (2nd edn). San Francisco: Freeman. An excellent and very readable statement of the behaviourist position with in psychology.Google Scholar
  14. Skinner, B.F. (1969) Contingencies of Reinforcement. A theoretical analysis. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. Sets out Skinner’s own theoretical position fully.Google Scholar
  15. Skinner, B.F. (1972) Beyond Freedom and Dignity. London: Jonathan Cape. Covers the application of his ideas to learning within society generally.Google Scholar
  16. Wheeler, H. (ed.) (1973) Beyond the Punitive Society. London: Wildwood House. Provides a full debate on Skinner’s ideas.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The British Psychological Society 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Fontana

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