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PSY210 Ch.15 Schools.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Justin Mc Neil

PSY210 Ch.15 - Schools 12/17/2012 1:13:00 PM Schooling 1. Class and student body size 2. Educational philosophies 3. School transitions 4. Teacher-student interaction 5. Group practices 6. Teaching students with special needs 7. Parent-school partnerships 8. Funding 9. Montessori Schools 10. Cultural differences Schooling  14,000 hours spent in school until graduating high school  Purpose of schools? o Education? o Socialization? o Job training? o Daycare?  How do children learn? o Rousseau: children born with “natural” abilities o Piaget & Vygotsky: children naturally curious, construct view of world  Children should be given opportunity to explore o Traditional schools: standardized curriculum, insensitive to inclinations of individual children  Schools as complex social systems… 1. Class and student body size  Optimal class size? Small class sizes (13-17 students) from kindergarten until 3rdgrade = higher achievement from grade 4-9 o No consistent impact from teachers aides in regular-sized classrooms though  Why? o Less time spent on discipline by teacher, more on teaching + individual attention o Better concentration, more participation, more positive attitude to school o Smaller student body = schools which promote social support and caring o Schools with 500-700 students = small = extra curricular activities are lead more by students more often.  Larger schools = elite few are active in club leadership o Smaller schools = greater sense of personal responsibility, competence, challenge from extra curricular activities o Less dropouts in small schools 2. Educational philosophies  What should children be taught? How do they learn? How is progress evaluated?  Traditional vs. constructivist classrooms o Traditional:  Teacher is the sole authority for knowledge, rules, decision making and does most the talking.  Students are passive, listening/responding when called on/completing teacher assigned tasks.  Progress evaluated by how well they keep pace with a uniform set of standards for their grade.  Traditional: More concern with knowledge absorption. Higher test scores. Better for older children? o Constructivist:  Encourages children to construct their own knowledge, active students. Piaget’s theory = children as active agents who coordinate their own thoughts, rather than absorbing those of others.  Richly equipped learning environment, small groups, and individuals solving problems they choose themselves.  A teacher who offers guidance and support in response to children’s needs.  Students are evaluated by considering their progress in relation to their own prior development.  Constructivist: better for critical thinking, greater valuing of individual differences, and more positive attitude towards school = better for younger kids?  New philosophical directions o Moving towards schooling based more on Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory = rich social context of classroom to spur learning o = social-constructivist classrooms = children participate in a wide range of challenging activities with teachers and peers, with whom they jointly construct understandings.  As children appropriate the knowledge and strategies generated from working together, they advance in cognitive and social development and become competent, contributing members of their cultural community.  Teachers & children as partners in learning  Experience with many types of symbolic communication in meaningful activities  Teaching adapted to each child’s zone of proximal development o Classrooms = communities of learners – teachers guide the overall process of learning, but otherwise, no distinction is made between adult and child contributors – all participate in join endeavors and have the authority to define and resolve problems.  Children draw on one another’s expertise’s  Breaking down projects into delegated sub-topics for individual students to focus on and then teach others = more complex understanding by each from breaking down the work 3. School transitions  Besides size + educational philosophy…  the structural feature of schooling also affects students achievement + psychological adjustment : the timing of transitions from one school level to the next  Early adjustment to school: o Cooperative + friendly preschoolers = more well liked in the classroom = more friends = warm-teacher bond = more positive attitude with school = higher classroom participation  higher achievement  School transitions in adolescence o Shift in environment from personal, small, stable  impersonal, large, changing classrooms per subject o Tighter academic standards = more competitive, teachers less friendly, drop in motivation o Less transitions (elementary  high school) Instead of middle school too= better, girls more affected (especially around puberty) o Earlier transitions = worse  Helping adolescents adjust to school transitions o Environments which fit poorly with new adolescent needs  Disrupt close relationships = when teens need adult support  Emphasize competition = when teens are self-conscious  Reduce decision making and choice = when teens increase desire for autonomy  Interfere with peer networks = when teens are more concerned with peer acceptance 4. Teacher-student interaction  Well-behaved, high achieving students = get more encouragement and praise from teachers  Educational self-fulfilling pro
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