Approaches to Teaching and Learning: Transmission, Transaction, Transformation


IS METHODS 2007-2008


My Classroom Experiences with the Various Approaches to Teaching and Learning:

With my grade 10 applied mathematics class, I was trying to teach them how to solve word problems that involved real life situations with trigonometric ratios. I ended up approaching this task using all three approaches during the three days I used to teach this topic. Originally, I had only planned to spend one day teaching this expectation, using mostly a lesson that would have students learn in a transmission style. I provided the facts and showed the students a few examples and I sent them on their way to solve a list of questions. Well, I saw during their work time that they did not get it. I went home that night and gave it a lot of thought, as word problems are often more difficult for students.

The next day I searched for easier word problems online and I divided the word problems into the two categories and made a new worksheet, with 3 questions of each type per sheet and I left room for the student to write down their answers. I also researched methods for teaching word problems and made the students a handout which acted as a guide of what steps they should be doing. During this second class, I did an interactive lesson with the students. I had one student read the problem. Then I asked the class to identify which pieces of information were important in the problem. Students then had the opportunity to volunteer to draw the situation on the board and other helped me solve the problems. We did this for the whole class for the worksheets I made. Students really got involved and seemed to understand the material through this transaction method of learning.

The following day, I decided to further increase their confidence in this topic as word problems are often feared by students and I wanted to make sure my students were confident with this material. During this class I divided my class into groups of 3 and gave each group 2 questions. The students were responsible for making sure their fellow group members understood the material and also to present their questions to the class during the second half of the class. The learning that took place was transformational. Students got a lot more out of this activity than I had expected. One student who has extreme math fear actually presented the calculations part of one of the problems his group presented. Others noted how it felt if others were talking during their presentation which would lead to personal growth. They owned this skill after this class.

- Melanie Hrenko


December 3, 2007

Which do you practice?

The vast majority of my teaching, especially in my Grade 12 World Issues class, was transmission. I modelled the class structure that my AT had in place in order to teach students how to take university lecture style notes. As such, most of my teaching in this class was through transmission. At times, I tried to vary my instruction whenever possible and at times was able to move to transaction learning through really good Q & A sessions with students. By allowing students to think, reflect and then apply their knowledge, they were able to focus on applying their knowledge to concrete examples (eg. women only hold 21% of all top management positions – why is this? What solutions can remedy the situation?)

In my Grade 10 Civics class, I used a much more varied approach to reach my students. Through classroom discussion of current issues and a debate about school uniforms in public elementary and secondary schools I was able to use transformational learning. Students have to develop their own opinion on certain issues (eg. uniforms) and use facts to support their opinion.

Pros & Cons

Each of the above mentioned teaching and learning strategies have their specific pros and cons. All of the strategies have their merit and it is up to the individual teacher to decide how best to use them. Transmission is a good approach for teachers looking to impart alot of information on to students. Traditionally, for my subject area of history, this approach worked extremely well to transmit factual information such as dates. However, the downside of this strategy is that it relies much too heavily on the traditional ‘banking method’ of teaching whereby students are viewed as mere recipcals of information. The one-way flow from teacher (or textbook) to student is also problematic.

Transaction is an important strategy to consider when wanting to elicit more interaction and group work within class. It provides more opportunity to create a ‘dialogue’ between the teacher and students in class. This strategy would be ideal when discussing or debating current topics or controversial issues. In this case, the teacher can take on the role of ‘devil’s advocate’ and allow the students to draw their own conclusions. The only conceivable problem I see with this approach revolves around the classroom management skills of the teacher. For a high behaviour class this strategy might not be the best approach to use on a continuous basis. However, this should not preclude a teacher for using more interactive teaching strategies in their classroom.

Lastly, transformational learning is an important teaching strategy to consider for bodily kinaesthetic learners. This strategy usually involves an active element such as drama or role playing. Students are able to engage and interact with the subject matter. This strategy would be important to consider when teaching a Religion class because it focuses on more than just strictly the intellectual growth of the student. Instead, the spiritual and moral development of the student can be targeted. One of the shortcomings for transformational learning is that it does not apply to all types of learners (logical-mathematical, naturalistic) and as such has the potential to ‘turn off’ some students to the learning you are trying to get across.

Implications for students?

The different types of teaching and learning strategies you use in the classroom have direct implications on your students. Just like taking into consideration different Multiple Intelligences of your students, it is important to consider how you are going to ‘teach’ the class. As previously discussed, each of the above strategies has their strengths and areas for improvement. Depending on the lesson you are giving and the dynamics of your particular classroom, one strategy might work better than another. Ultimately, in order to try and reach all of your students, a combination of transmission, transaction and transformation should be used.

- Jim Meagher


My use of the three T’s in practicum:

Throughout my lessons I tried to use a combination of transmission and transaction. When introducing a new concept or review old concepts I would use a very transactional method since there was room for activities such as class discussion to stumble through new and old material. After the concept has been introduced and the students have some idea of what it is I would use transmission to fill in all of the details that they are not likely to develop through discussion such as key terms or important steps. However, since I was teaching mathematics it was difficult to come up with transformational activities. The units I was teaching did not leave much room for transformational activities, but thinking back on it, there are some activities I could have tried with the students. One such activity would having students act out a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem through use of tableau (the students would be holding props to simulate the squares of side lengths) and have them assemble the props into a right triangle and show that the squares of the smaller sides sum to the square of the hypotenuse.

- Brandon Brown

Approaches to Teaching and Learning: Transmission, Transaction, and Transformation – Dec. 3

Which do I practice?

I truly wish that I could profess to practicing all three approaches to teaching, encompassing a holistic approach to teaching and learning. However, it would be untruthful for me to say so. I am actively attempting to incorporate all three facets of teaching and learning into my lessons and my classroom, yet I have not entirely mastered their individual and contextual uses yet. Predominantly I tend to use a transactional, and to a lesser extent, a transmissional approach. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to fully implement my transformational approach thus far. I will try to create a blend of these three approaches within my next practicum block.

Pros and cons?


Pros- this approach is well suited to some learners (passive learners, logical), is suited to the sciences and mathematics, is ideal for essentialist and behaviouralist teachers, it is also very easy to assess the level of knowledge that was gained through this teaching.

Cons- little to no creativity is encouraged, very linear and not well suited to some learners and intelligences, not a very exciting or interactive way of learning.


Pros- can be highly interactive and engaging, is ideal for some learners and intelligences (interpersonal), fosters greater creativity and inductive/deductive reasoning skills, focuses more on critical thinking skills than transmission.

Cons- may not be suited to some learners such as those with LD’s or those who are more passive.


Pros- it focuses on more than just intellectual development, it can create very strong bonds between the student and the subject matter, it caters well to all intelligences.

Cons- it does not focus as greatly on intellectual development as the other approaches do (this could be seen as a serious detriment.)

Implications for students?

If I were to embrace a truly holistic approach to teaching then it would benefit my students greatly. By nature of the varied approaches, I would be open to all different learning styles, I would be flexible, and yet rigid enough to know when a specific approach is appropriate to a certain topic or situation. Focusing too greatly on any one of the three approaches is unhealthy for uniform student growth. Just as we must foster growth between all intelligences, we should utilize all of the teaching approaches possible, to help our students.

- Rob Hendy

December 3, 2007

Three Approaches to Teaching & Learning:

n  The first form of learning is transmission, involving a one-way flow of information from the teacher or the textbook to the student. The focus is on accumulating factual information and basic skills. “UNIVERSITY MODEL”

n  A second form of learning is transaction, characterized by greater interaction between student and teacher. This form focuses on solving problems and developing cognitive skills. Students examine a broad range of problems and issues. “DR. GOSSE TYPE LESSONS”

n  A third form of learning is transformational. Here, the focus is not just on intellectual development, but also on physical, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual growth. Significant connections develop between the student and the subject matter. This type of learning often nurtures the student's inner life through such approaches as storytelling and the arts.
“MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES”. Often Using The Arts i.e. Drama, Musical elements
In depth understanding and relation to the world

During my November practicum experience, I feel that I often taught in the transactional form of learning. There were moments when I was introducing a new concept were my teaching methods would lean towards the transmission form of learning. However, I would always try to ask questions and get student comments based on the new concepts; thereby making the learning style more transactional. I strived to have the students cooperatively learn through discussion with each other, but I would always bring that discussion back to the front of the class with the teacher. There were specific times when I presented the students with transformational learning. To teach the grade 7s the Particle Theory, I had them act out the parts of the particle theory together. In doing this, they were being bodily / kinesthetic and using cooperative learning. Within this setting, I was teaching the theory by asking the students what they were experiencing, how it made them feel, etc. I believe this was very transformational. As well, to teach the students knowledge about food chains, I had them first develop a food chain, in groups, using the internet. Then I had them act out the food chain to the class, explaining what would happen if one part of the food chain was not available anymore. It was really interesting to see what they come up with.

Through transactional learning, the students learn to problem solve and learn in different ways. They can explore and learn with a teacher who facilitates their learning. However, students who find it difficult to learn in this manner would be disadvantaged compared to students who thrive in this type of learning environment. Different multiple intelligences can be brought in this way; however, if I were to employ more transformational learning into my lessons, I would be teaching to those intelligences more than I currently am. Therefore, in an intermediate school setting, I believe the transformational form of teaching would be best suited.