Chapter One – Learning, Teaching and Educational Psychology
Learning and Teaching Today
- educational psychology—the study of development, learning, and motivation that takes
place in and out of schools
Dramatic Diversity: Students Today
- diversity presents both challenges and opportunities to schools and communities
- many teachers are homogenous
Do Teachers Make a Difference?
- Early research findings = wealth and social status determined who learned in schools
- Teacher-Student Relationships
o Hamre & Pianta – followed 179 from kindergarten to end of grade 8
▪ the quality of the teacher–student relationship in kindergarten (level of
conflict with the child, the child’s dependency on the teacher, and the
teacher’s affection for the child) predicted academic and behavioural
outcomes through grade 8
▪ relationship with the teacher still predicted aspects of school success
o Pianta – followed children from 4 till grade 5
▪ the degree of emotional warmth of the teacher–child interactions and the
teacher’s degree of skill in recognizing and responding to children’s needs
consistently predicted the child’s growth in reading and mathematics
o students who have significant behaviour problems in the early years are less likely
to have problems later in school if their teachers are sensitive to their needs and
provide frequent, consistent feedback
- Teacher Preparation and Quality
o Linda DarlingHammond – the quality of teachers—as measured by whether the
teachers were fully certified and earned a major in their teaching field—was
related to student performance
▪ measures of teacher preparation and certification were by far the strongest
predictors of student achievement in reading and mathematics
▪ teachers who are teaching outside their field, the lower their students’
achievement tends to be
- Point = School renewal depends on what teachers know and can do to enhance their
o teaching standards honour and advance the profession
o standards articulate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that professional
educators should possess and to outline the responsibilities that accrue to them as
professionals who hold the public trust.
o Standards will lead to higher status and to greater autonomy for the teaching
o Standards can also clarify how teachers contribute to the lives of students o some pedagogical approaches are more effective than others à all teachers be
required to learn and effectively implement these approaches
- Counterpoint = The teaching standards movement has more to do with punishing teachers
than with enhancing their professionalism.
o concerned about how standards will be used in practice à used for discipline of
o it is unfair to create standards as a set of responsibilities for teachers without also
o acknowledging the responsibility of employers (school and district administrators,
governments) to ensure that conditions are met that enable teachers to meet the
standards – such as being forced to teach a different class becase of teacher
shortage or budget cutbacks
o the potential for governments to use standards that create a highstakes and
punitive environment for teachers that could end up having a negative impact on
students’ ability to learn
What is Good Teaching?
- both knowledgeable and inventive
- use a range of strategies but create their own new strategies as well
- research-based routines for managing classes but they must also be willing and able to
break from the routine when the situation calls for change.
- Reflective-Thoughtful and inventive.
o think back over situations to analyze what they did and why
o consider how they might improve learning for their students.
What are the Concerns of Beginning Teachers?
- how to maintain classroom discipline, motivate students, accommodate differences
among students, evaluate students’ work, deal with parents, and get along with other
- sometimes offered the job mere days before school starts
- a lot different than practicum
- tricky balancing act satisfying the needs of the school’s administration, the curriculum,
and most importantly, yourself
The Role of Educational Psychology
- educational psychology – The discipline concerned with teaching and learning processes;
it applies the methods and theories of psychology and has its own as well.
In the Beginning: Linking Educational Psychology and Teaching
- William James officially founded the field of psychology and developed a lecture series
for teachers entitled Talks to Teachers on Psychology
o James’s student, G. Stanley Hall, founded the American Psychological
▪ Hall’s student, John Dewey, founded the Laboratory School at the
University of Chicago and is considered the father of the progressive
education movement ▪ William James’s student E. L. Thorndike wrote the first educational
psychology text in 1903 and founded the Journal of Educational
Psychology in 1910.
- 1940s & 1950s - the study of educational psychology concentrated on individual
differences, assessment, and learning behaviours.
- 1960s & 1970s - the focus of research shifted to the study of cognitive development and
learning, with attention to how students learn concepts and remember.
- Now – study how culture and social factors affect learning and development
Educational Psychology Today
- educational psychologists study learning and teaching and, at the same time, strive to
improve educational practice
- educational psychologists examine what happens when someone (a teacher or parent) or
something (a computer) teaches something (math or weaving or dancing) to someone else
(a student or coworker or team) in some setting (a classroom or theatre or gym)
- educational psychologists study:
o child and adolescent development
o learning and motivation, including how people learn different academic subjects
such as reading or mathematics
o social and cultural influences on learning
o teaching and teachers
o assessment including testing
Is it Just Common Sense?
- Taking turns
o Research = create a system, ie going around in a circle, should make sure that
everyone has the chance for practice and feedback
▪ Ensures that no one is skipped over overlooked
- Classroom Management
o Research = the more often a teacher told students to sit down when they were out
of their seats, the more often the students got out of their seats without permission
▪ Better to praise those who are sitting à leads to better behavior
- Skipping Grades
o Research = children who have been accelerated have adjusted as well as or better
than have children of similar ability who have not been accelerated”
Using Research to Understand and Improve Learning
Descriptive Studies – Studies that collect detailed information about specific situations, often
using observation, surveys, interviews, recordings, or a combination of these methods
- survey results, interview responses, samples of actual classroom dialogue, or
observations of class activities
- Ethnography – A descriptive approach to research that focuses on life within a group and
tries to understand the meaning of events to the people involved.
o studying naturally occurring events in the life of a group and trying to understand
the meaning of th