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Chapter 5

Psychology 2990A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Concept Map, Descriptive Knowledge, Procedural Knowledge

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Chapter 5: Psychology and Education
Darren’s Day at School
He said he didn't learn anything at school that day
In math teacher taught 9 timetables (taught 2 tricks, first digit is the product less one that 9 is
being multiplied, when two digits of products added together = 9)
Teacher shows them pics from her Greece trip but he cant see and thinks marble building is
made of marbles
In art class he see someone making big nose out of paper mache and copies her
Teaching Connections
Basic Assumptions of Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive Psychology a theoretical perspective that focuses on the mental processes
underlying human learning behaviour. Adherents to this perspective are sometimes called
Basic assumptions underlying cognitive psychology about how people learn: (table 5.1)
o Influence of cognitive process
o Selectivity about what is learned
o Construction of meaning
o Role of prior knowledge and beliefs
o Active involvements in learning
1. Cognitive processes influence the nature of what is learned
a. Educational Implication: encourage students to think about class material in ways that
will help them remember it
b. View learning as internal mental phenomenon, not external behaviour change
c. How people interpret experiences affects what they learn from those experiences
d. Information Processing Theory theoretical perspective that focuses on the specific
ways in which individuals mentally think about and “process” the info they receive
e. Darrens example illustrates 2 principles from cognitive psychology:
i. People learn new info more easily when they can relate it to something they
already know
ii. People learn several pieces of new info more easily when that can relate them to
an overall organizational structure
2. Students are selective about what is learned
a. Educational Implication: help students identify the most important things for them to
learn. Also help them understand why these things are important
b. Distinguish between sensation (ability to sense stimuli in environment) and perception
(interpretation of stimuli)
c. What the body senses is not always perceived
3. Meaning is constructed by the learner, rather than being derived directly from environment
a. Educational Implication: provide experiences that will help students make sense of the
topics they are studying
b. Construction mental process where learner takes many separate pieces of info and
uses them to build an overall understanding or interpretation of an event (Darrens
process of construction: thought of marbles at home to envision the place in Greece
made from marble)
c. Constructivism theoretical perspective that proposes that learners construct a body of
knowledge from their experiences, knowledge that may or may not be an accurate
representation of external reality. Adherents to this perspective are called constructivists
d. Students interpret classroom subject matter in their own ways, they may learn
misinformation need to ask students questions
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4. Prior knowledge and beliefs play major role in the meanings people construct
a. Educational Implication: Relate new ideas to what students already know and believe
about the world
5. Students are actively involved in their own learning
a. Educational Implication: plan classroom activities that get students actively thinking
about and using classroom subject matter
b. Don't just absorb, must be active participants in own learning
c. Cognitive processing and mental construction require certain amount of mental “work”
Basic Terminology in Cognitive Psychology
Memory learners ability to save something (mentally) that he had previously learned, or the
mental “location” where such info is saved
Storage process of “putting/storing” new info into memory
Encoding changing the format of new info as it is being stored in memory
o We usually store info in a different way than presented (if auditory we may visualize it)
o Often involves assigning specific meanings and interpretations to stimuli and events
(tendency to story the gist and not the specific words) (this increases as child gets older)
Retrieval process of “finding” info previously stored in memory
o Retrieving info from memory (like your name) can be easy but other info takes more
thought and effort, and some info may never be retrieved even though it was stored at
one time
A Model of Human Memory (figure 5.2)
Not one agreed exact nature of human memory, but believe there are 3 components: sensory
register, working memory (short term), and a long-term memory
Some models have a central executive to oversee flow of info through memory
The 3 components are not necessarily 3 parts of the brain, memory model is derived from
human behaviour studies not studies of the brain
The Nature of the Sensory Register
Sensory Register a component of memory that holds incoming info in an unanalyzed form
for a very brief period of time (less than a second for visual input, 2-3 seconds for auditory
Has a large capacity, hold a lot of info at one time
Info not moved to working memory will probably be lost/forgotten
Moving Info to Working Memory: The Role of Attention
Attention the focusing of mental processes on particular environmental stimuli
Attention is the first step in making sensory info memorable (what you pay attention to
(mentally) moves to WM)
Attention has limited capacity, attend to small amount of info at one time
o Cocktail Party Phenomenon if teacher is teaching a lesson and two students sitting in
front of you are talking you will only be able to attend to and therefore learn from one
of the conversations
People can perform 2-3 well-learned automatic tasks at once (talk and chew gum)
When stimulus/event is detailed and complex (listening to teacher and students conversations),
or when task requires considerable thought (understanding lecture, driving car up icy
mountain) can usually only attend to one task at a time
Because of limited capacity of human attention, only very small amount of info stored in
sensory register ever moves on to WM
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Attention in the Classroom
o Attention is not just a behaviour, it's a mental process (eyes and ears directed towards
material isn’t enough, minds must be directed as well)
o How can you be sure students are really paying attention?
1. Ask questions that test their understanding of lesson (students will pay more attention if
they know they will be tested immediately after)
2. Ask students to put new info to use (have them solve a problem using it)
3. Encourage older students to take notes (helps learn info partly because it makes them
pay attention to what they are hearing or reading
a. Have students reconstruct and elaborate on notes after class, especially with
b. Reconstruction (as a complement to note taking) creating notes from classes or
other events in ones own words without consulting original notes and then
revising them or comparing them with others notes for an enhanced learning
4. Have students make up questions bout the class content/readings to test one another in
pairs and evaluate another’s answers compared to what they think was the best answer
a. Example of the “learning cell”, form of dyadic learning (teacher and students
share roles of constructing new knowledge)
o The more variety in teaching the more attentiveness
o Mental breathers: ask them to perform physical task related to topic, one-minute stretch
The Nature of Working (Short-Term) Memory
Working Memory a component of memory where limited amount of new info stays/is held
while it is mentally processed; also known as short-term memory. The duration of info stored
in WM is probably 5-20 seconds
Where much of thinking/cognitive processing occurs (where students try to make sense of
instruction, understand a passage they read, or solve a problem)
Has different components for different kinds of info
Does most of the work in memory system
1. Has Short Duration
a. Unless you do something further with the info in WM it will be lost
b. Maintenance Rehearsal repeating info to oneself to retain it in WM
c. Once you stop maintenance rehearsal info quickly disappears
d. NOTE: info is stored in the short term memory lasts less than half than a minute unless
it’s processed further
e. You don’t “save” info that you need for an exam here
2. Has Limited Capacity
a. Limited space in WM, can only learn so much so fast WM doesn’t have room to hold
all that info at once
b. New info should be presented in ways that allow students to process it all and keep up
c. Even when pace is appropriate, students probably wont learn everything presented to
them in class/textbook (most teachers/textbooks present much more info than can be
d. Estimated that students only learn 1-6 new ideas from each minute of a lecture
e. Student must make choices of what to learn, and aren’t best judge of what is important
(teacher should tell what is most important, give guidelines on what/how to study, omit
unnecessary details form lessons)
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