There are different educational and psychological models that attempt to explain how teaching is imparted and how learning takes place. The didactic triad is an educational model which has its roots in the late 19th century, and which focuses on three components: the student, the teacher and knowledge.
In this article, we will analyze the characteristics of the model also called the educational triangle, its components and the relationships (called “processes”) that occur between them. Finally, we will mention the criticisms raised by the didactic triad.
How do we learn?
They say we are learning every day of our lives. Learning involves the acquisition of knowledge and skills; moreover, it makes it possible to modify previous beliefs and to enrich oneself with the stimuli of the means. As we mentioned, there are different orientations or models to explain how we learn.
Classic or traditional models they allude to passive processes, where the student received the information he was to learn and reproduced it in the exam corresponding (in fact, the current evaluation model in the education system is based on this technique).
However, later, other models emerged: behavioral models, for example, which are based on the assertion that knowledge is managed or ‘controlled’ by the teacher, who offers it to the students themselves, but by doing so. forgetting the most cognitive or emotional variables.
Later they appeared cognitive models, which have focused their attention on how the student processes information during learning, Give a central role to cognitive capacities (attention, memory, perception, …).
On the other hand, we find the progressive models, which focus on the student himself as an active agent to explain the teaching-learning processes.
Finally, we have the model of the didactic triad, which presents the characteristics of all the models, and which supposes an integrative approach, but rather of a constructivist type. this orientation recommends that students develop their own knowledge while maintaining an active role. Let’s take a look at the most important features of the model.
Didactic triad: characteristics
The didactic triad is an educational model proposed by Jean Houssaye, French teacher, in 1986. It was in this year that he presented his thesis, which alluded to the relationship between three components in any pedagogical or educational act. These three components are: the teacher (or the teacher), the student and the knowledge.
Houssaye’s thesis was the starting point to begin to develop this psychoeducational model, although in reality it was years before, in the middle of the 19th century (1850), when the first ideas of this theory began to appear.
The didactic triad moves away from behaviorist models which focus their attention on the role of the teacher as “controller” of knowledge.. This model aims to explain teaching-learning processes based on two-way relationships between three mutually influencing elements: teacher, student and knowledge.
Components of the educational triangle
As we have seen, the components that make up the didactic triad are: the teacher, the student and the knowledge. According to this model, these three elements are essential for learning to take place, that is, any pedagogical act that involves someone teaching something to someone (in this case, teacher and student).
The first element of the didactic triad, the teacher, is the person who transmits his knowledge to the student through a series of pedagogical strategies. It is the reference figure for the student in terms of cognitive and educational growth, because it will allow him to assimilate and understand new concepts, which will enrich his culture and his person.
In the didactic triad, the student is the one who “receives” the knowledge; but this is not a passive receipt, but rather consists in the fact that the pupil himself plays an active role in the learning process, Give meaning to what is internalized.
In other words, the student learns, gaining knowledge that he did not previously have, however he must therefore be motivated and open to knowledge. It is the active agent of the triad.
Knowledge is the material to be learned. It is not a physically tangible material, but of a collection of information, data, experiences, theories and ideas that the teacher must transmit to the pupil, involve him so that he finally apprehends him (the apprehension goes a little beyond learning, and implies the assimilation, the comprehension of something).
Relationships or processes
Between the components of the didactic triad, two-way relationships occur. These relationships are called processes and three occur simultaneously: Between teacher and knowledge (teaching), between teacher and student (training / practice) and between student and knowledge (learning).
Let’s analyze each of these processes:
In the didactic triad, teaching is the process that arises from the relationship between the teacher and the knowledge. These two elements are essential for teaching to take place; thus, the teacher transmits his knowledge to teach the student.
Also called practice, is the relationship that occurs between teacher and student. Depending on the nature of this relationship, learning will take place more or less easily.
If the relationship is favorable and fluid, the communication will be easier and the training, that is, the process that arises between these two components will be more positive, which will allow the student to benefit more easily from the teaching situation.
The third relation of the didactic triad occurs between the student and the knowledge. In other words, it has to do with the way in which the student interacts with the knowledge transmitted to him by the teacher, with how you handle this information, how you benefit from it, etc.
If the relationship is profitable, the student will end up learning, that is, the learning will take place and the teaching act will have been successful, because it will have fulfilled its purpose.
Reviews of the model
If the didactic triad offers a very complete explanation to illustrate the teaching-learning processes, like any model or theory, it has also attracted criticism.
Those who are not so favorable to the didactic triad as an explanatory model for this type of process allude to three arguments:
this model it sets aside the context in which learning occurs. Critics of the didactic triad argue that context is also a fundamental element in understanding how one person learns and / or how another teaches, imparting knowledge.
2. Knowledge as something tangible
Critics also believe that knowledge is not really something tangible, physical, or that it can be “touched” (as argued by the didactic triad). In other words, that is to say it is not something that can be “learned” and it is not something that affects other components of the learning processContrary to what the triad model says.
3. Independence and knowledge of teachers
Another criticism that detractors make of the model is that they consider that the teacher and the knowledge are not really independent components, And that this cannot be stated, as the model shows.
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- Román, CF and Taronger, MP (2015). The didactic triad in a constructivist education model. Writings at the Faculty: Pedagogical Reflection, 109: 56-57.
- Sampascual, G. (2007). Educational psychology. 2 volumes. UNED: Madrid.
- Uljens, M. (1997). Didactics and school learning. East Sussex: Psychology Press.