Educational Psychology : a Tool for Effective Teaching

Table of Content

Summary Santrock Chapter 1“Educational Psychology : A Tool for Effective Teaching” Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental process. Educational Psychology is the branch of psychology that specializes in understanding teaching and learning in educational settings. Historical Background The field of educational psychology was founded by several pioneers in psychology in the late ninteenth century just before the start of the twentieth century. Three pioneers – Wiliam James, John Dewey and E. L.

Thorndike – stand out in the early history of educational psychology. William James James argued that laboratory psychology experiments often can’t tell us how to effectively teach children. He emphasized the importance of observing teaching and learning in classrooms for improving education. One of his recommendations was to start lessons at a point just beyond the child’s level of knowledge and understanding to stretch the child’s mind. John Dewey John Dewey was a driving force in the practical application of psychology.

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First we owe to hom the view of the child as an active learner. Before Dewey it was believed that children should sit quietly in their seats and passively learn in a rote manner. In Contrast, Dewey argued that children learn best by doing. Second, we owe that education should focus on the whole child and emphasize the child’s adaptation to the environment. Dewey reasoned that children should not be just narrowly educated in academic topics but should learn how to think and adapt to a world outside school.

Children should learn how to to refflective problem solver (Dewey, 1933). Third, we owe to Dewey the believe that all children deserve to have a competent education. In the nineteenth century , quality educaton was deserved for a small portion of children, especially boys from wealth families. Dewey pushed for a competent education for all children (girls and boys) as well as children from different socioeconomics and ethnics groups. E. L. Thorndike A third pioneer who focused on assesment and measurement and promoted the scientific underpinnings of learning.

Thorndike argued that one of schooling’s most important tasks in to hone children’s reasoning skills, and he excelled at doing exacting scientific studies of teaching and learning (Beatty, 1998). Thorndike especially promoted the idea that educational physiology must have a scientific base and should focus strongly about measurements (O’Donnell and Levin, 2001) Diversity and early education psychology The most promiinent figures in the early history of educational psychology, as in most disciplines, were mainly White males. Such as James, Dewey.

And Thorndike. Prior to change in civil rights law and policies in the 1960s, only a few dedicated non’white individuals obtained the necessary degree and broke through racial exclusion barries to take up research. In the field. Two pioneering African American psychologist, Mamie and Kenneth Clark, conduct research on African American children’s self-conceptions and idendity. Latino psychologist George Sanchez conducted research showing that intellegence test were culturally biased against ethnics minority children. The Behavioral Approach

Skinners’s behavioral approach involved attempts to precisely determine the best condition for learning. He argued that the mental processes proposed by psychologists such as James and Dewey were not observable and therefore could not be appropriate subject matter for a scientific study of psychology, which he defined as the science of observable behavior and itscontrolling conditions. In 1950s, Skinner develop the concept of programmed learning, which involved reinforcing the student after each of a series of steps until tjhe student reached a learning goal. The Cognitive Revolution

As early as the 1950s, Benjamin Bloom created a taxonomy of cognitive skills that included remembering, comprehending, synthesizing, and evaluating, which he suggest teachers should help student use and develop (Bloom and Krathwohl,1956). ”A cognitive perspective implies that a behavioral analysis of instriction is often inadequate to explain the effect of instruction on learning”. The cognitive revolution in psychology began to take hold by the 1980s and ushered in a greatdeal of enthusiasm for applying the concepts of cognitive psychology (memory, thinking, reasoning, and so on) to helping student learn.

Teaching : Art and Science As a scince, educational psychology’s aim is to provide you with research knowledge that you can effectively apply to teaching situation (Mayer, 2008; Schunk, 2008). But your teaching will still remain an art. In addition to what you can learn from research, you will also continually make important judgements in the classroom based on your personal skills and experiences, as well as the accumulated wisdom of other teacher (Hall, Quinn, and Gollnick, 2008) Effective teaching Teachers must master a variety of perspectives and strategies and be flexible in their application.

This requiret two key ingredients : (1) professional knowledge and skills, and (2) commitment and motivation. Professional Knowledge and Skills Effective tacher have good command of their subject matter and a solid core of teaching skills, they have excellent instructional strategies supported by methods of goal setting, instructional planning and classroom management. They know how to motivate, communicate, and work effectively with students who have different levels of skills and come from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Effective teacher also understand how to use appropriate level of technology in the classroom. Subject-Matter Competence ”Teacher knowledge of their subjects”. Having a thoughtful, flexible, conceptual understanding of subject matter is indispensable for being an effective teacher. Clearly, having a deep understanding of the subject matter is an important aspect of being a competent teacher. The constructional approach Is a learner-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of individual actively comstructing their jnowledge and understanding with guidance from the teacher.

Children should beencourage to explore their world, discover knowledge,reflect ad think critically with careful mentoring and meaningtulguidance from the teacher. Direct Instruction Approach Is a structural teacher-centereed approach characterized by teacher direction and control, high teacher expectation for student’ peogress, maximum time spent byn student on academic tasks, and effort by the teacher to keep negative affect to a minimum. An important goal in the direct instruction approach is maximizing student learning time (Johnson and Street, 2008).

Many effective teachers use both a constructivist and a direct instruction approach rather than either exclusively (Darling-Hammond andBransford, 2005). Goal Setting and Instructional Planning Effective teachers set high goals for their teaching and organize plans for reaching those goals (Schunk, Pintrich, &Meece, 2008). Tehy spend considerable time in instructional planning, organizing their lessons to maximize students’ learning (Posner &Rudnitsky, 2006). As they plan, effective teachers reflect and think about how they can make learning both challengingand interesting.

Developmentally Appropriate Teaching Practices Competent teacher have a good understanding of children’s development and know how to create instruction materials appropriate for their developmental levels (Byrness, 2008; Morrison, 2009). Understanding developmental pathwats and progressions is extremely important for teaching in ways that are optimal for each child (Henninger, 2009). Classroom Management Skills An important aspect of being an effective teacher is keeping the class as a whole working together and oriented toward classroom tasks.

Effective teachers establish and maintain an environment in which learning can occur (Nissman, 2009). To create this optional learning environment, teachers need a repertoire of strategies for establishing. Rules and procedures, organizing groups, monitoring and pacing classroom activities, and handling misbehavior (ASCD, 2009; bloom, 2009). Motivation Skills Effective teachers have good strategies for helping students become self-motivated and take responsibility for their learning. (Schunk, 2008; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meese, 2008).

Student are motivated when they can make choices in line with their personal interest. Effective teacher give them the opportunity to think creatively and deeply about projects (Blumenfeld, Kempler, &Krajcik, 2006). In addition to guiding students to become self-motivated learners, the importance of establishing high expextations for student’s achievement is increasingly recognized (Wingfield& others, 2006). Children rewarded when high expectation are created, when they get low achievement, effective teacher will give instruction and support to meet these expectation.

Communication Skills Communication skills also indispensable to teaching are skills in speaking, listening overcoming barriers to verbal communication, and constructively resolving conflicts. Effective teacher use good communication skills. When they talk ”with” rather than ”to” student, parents, administrators, and others ; keep criticism at a minimum, and have an assertive rather than agressive, manipulative, to improve students’ communication skills as well. Paying More Than Lip Service to Individual Variations

Your students will have varying levels of intellegence, use different thinking and learning styles, and have different tempraments and personality traits (Magliano& Perry, 2008). Differentiated instruction involves recognizing. Individual variations in students’ knowledge , readiness, interests, and other characteristics, and taking these differences into account in planning curriculum and engaging in instruction (Tomlinson, 2006). Differentiated instruction emphasized tailoring assignments to meet students’ needs and abilities (Gibson & Hasbrouck, 2008).

However, differentiated instruction advocates discovering ”zones” or ”ball-parks” in which students in a classroom clusters, thus providing three or four types/levels of instruction rather than 20 to 30. Working Effectively with Students from Culturally Diverse Backgrounds In today’s world of increasing intercultural contact, effective teachers are knowledgeable about people from different cultural backgrounds and are sensitive to their needs (Gollnick& Chinn, 2009; Levin &McClosky, 2009).

Effective teachers encourage students to have possitive personal contact with diverse students and think of ways to create such settings. They guide students in thinking critically about cultural and ethnic issues, forestall or reduce bias, cultivate acceptance, and serve as cultural mediators. An effective teacher also needs to be a broker, no middle person, between the culture of the school and the culture of certain students, especially those who are unsuccesful academically.

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