Educational Psychology Spring, 2010 Dr. Kenn Mann

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1 Educational Psychology Spring, 2010 Dr. Kenn Mann This course is designed to illuminate psychological themes that are specific to the educational environment. As adults who have gone through a school system ourselves, as adults who are currently working toward college degrees, as parents or parents to be and as people who care about the welfare of children and the abilities and mental health of our next generation, the content of this course should have resonance and meaning. We all should be able to relate to this curriculum and we should be able to be passionate about some aspect of it. Over the course of the semester, we will consider cognitive and social-emotional development in the context of classroom life. There will be an emphasis on the emotional climate of a classroom and its overall relationship to learning. In addition, student variability that is frequently addressed in the contemporary classroom will be evaluated in the context of the learning environment. Finally, sociological and legal issues that impact the psychological functioning of a classroom will be analyzed. The curriculum will be divided into 5 areas. We will not proceed sequentially but instead spend time on a rotating basis in each of these divisions of educational psychology. The scope of the domains outlined is intended to meet the objective of orienting participants to the salient aspects of contemporary educational psychology in terms of both theory and application. A. Curriculum for Educational Psychology I. Cognitive Development and Educational Psychology This curriculum area will allow participants to study how people learn, retain and apply new learning. The focus will be on how educational psychology facilitates the assessment of learning styles and how it supports the modification of learning environments to meet the needs of individual learners. The objectives of this instructional unit will include:

2 Page Two *Participants will be exposed to Jean Piaget s theory of cognitive development. We will explore the contemporary value of the theory and its current application in the classroom. We will learn how Piagetian tests can give information about the cognitive style of an individual learner. *Participants will master the informational processing theory model of student learning via Mel Levine. *Participants will gain a sensitivity to the diversity of cognitive power in the classroom via Howard Gardner s work on multiple intelligence. *Participants will understand the range of cognitive processing via Bloom s taxonomy and we will be able to apply it to assess a learning environment II. Social Emotional Development and Educational Psychology This curriculum area will be concerned with the how the school system facilitates social-emotional development in young people. Educational psychology plays a crucial role in understanding how to build meaningful curriculum to foster this type of development. Educational psychology also plays a key role in identifying how, why and when the learning environment is not meeting the social-emotional needs of an individual learner. The objectives of this instructional unit will include: *Participants will be exposed to several prominent and well regarded curriculum programs fostering emotional intelligence in the classroom *Participants will learn of two contrasting models of moral development and their role in classroom life: Kohlberg s model of moral development versus Gilligan s relational model value development. *Participants will gain a sensitivity to the role that gender plays in classroom life and how the educational setting can provide a supportive environment for identity development Mary Pfeiffer and William Pollack s work will inform our discussion *Participants will gain insight into the focus on aggression and bullying in the group dynamics of the classroom and identify what the literature suggests we do about it *Participants will think about alternative models of education in terms of their impact on the social-emotional development of young people (such as settings that are segregated by population, home schooling, etc.)

3 Page Three III. Learner Variability and Educational Psychology In order to meet the objectives of No Child Left Behind legislation as well as individual state edicts for education, we have to be ready to meet the needs of a diverse student body presenting with a myriad of cognitive and emotional needs. Educational psychology is responsible for assessment, diagnosis and curriculum planning for each individual learner. The field supports individual school districts as they work toward actualizing the potential of the students they are responsible for. The objectives of this instructional unit will include: *Participants will be able to define what a learning disability is in terms of diagnostic criteria, range of disabilities and implications for both the psyche of the learner and the learning environment that student functions within *Participants will gain an understanding of the two more commonly diagnosed issues in young people today: attention deficit disorder and the autistic spectrum we will delve into etiology, treatment and the accommodations required to create effective learning environments for these learners *Participants will briefly consider other types of exceptionality and how the educational environment supports individual learners areas such as bilingual education and gifted education. *Participants will gain a sensitivity to what is meant by multicultural education and the ways in which this perspective can be expected to be integrated into a school curriculum today. IV. Sociopolitical and Legal Issues in Educational Psychology From compensatory education mandates to Brown vs. the Board of Education to P.L to IDEA and No Child Left Behind legislation, there have been many important legal mandates for education. Educational psychology has taken a leading role in helping professionals, administrators, school districts and communities meet the requirements of both state and federal law. This instructional unit will include at least these objectives:

4 Page Four *Participants will learn about groundbreaking legislation in terms of its original intent and the psychological impact on the learner *Participants will gain knowledge about the evolution of the law for the exceptional learner and the role educational psychology has played in each of its incarnations *Participants will become familiar with the child study team model and the committee on special education and each of the interdisciplinary professionals who participate on these teams *Participants will be exposed to New York State learning standards for curriculum and how educational psychology helps to insure their implementation *Participants will analyze a sociological evaluation of the status of education in our country via the work of Jonathan Kozol VI. Educational Psychology and the Psychological Aspects of Classroom Life As Carl Rogers identified both via his research and his applications, no one learns from someone unless there is an alliance and ultimately a relationship with that person. Educational psychology is responsible for fostering that therapeutic tie and intervening when it is threatened in some way. The learning objectives for this instructional unit will include the following: *Participants will respond to Rogers humanistic view of education and its application to classroom life *Participants will be able to rate and evaluate the psychological climate of a classroom and identify areas that might need further development *Participants will be able to explain the construct of a therapeutic milieu and the aspects that make up a caring community in an educational setting *Participants will think about the characteristics essential for taking on leadership roles in today s schools *Participants will think about William Glasser s control theory as a way of conceptualizing how a school can move toward optimal psychological functioning *Participants will understand the consultation model and how Educational Psychology utilizes its principles in order to help remediate problematic aspects of the psychological climate of a classroom *Participants will demonstrate an understanding of behavioral principles, theories and ideology and its role in effective, respectful classroom management

5 Page Five B. Learning Activities for Educational Psychology I. Attendance and Participation Those participants who are attending class regularly and participating in class discussion will go the furthest toward meeting the course objectives outlined above. Students who are absent 3 times may be asked to complete additional course assignments. No participant can expect a passing grade with 4 or more absences during the semester. No student should expect a grade of A when the work that is being handed in is past due. Part of participation in this course is the expectation that you are enrolled in the Moodle component of this course. There are support services on campus I can direct you to if you are having any problems accessing that system. It is your responsibility however to make sure you are using Moodle effectively. II. Curriculum Assessment I will create relevant questions that capture our work together as we move through the semester and they will be posted on Moodle. You will choose the questions that you want to answer from the list we compile. Your response to a question is in essay form and is a full 3 page, double spaced, 12 point font response. There will be 3 questions due at the midterm date and 3 questions due at the end of the semester. III. Educational Psychology Analysis - This is a paper that you create that can focus on any one of the 5 areas of our curriculum. The project can be developed in concert with guidance from me and your peers. We will brainstorm possible topics throughout the semester. For example: related to cognitive development a participant could take a number of the Piaget tests and give them to a child and then write a report analyzing their cognitive level with hypothetical recommendations for curriculum development. Related to variations in learning a participant could arrange a visit to a special education service perhaps in their own school district and report on it. The participant could create a focus for the observation and write up their analysis based on class discussion and readings. In terms of psychological aspects of classroom life a participant might observe a class and utilize some of the tools we have reviewed in the course and critique what was observed. The objective here is for participants to choose a curriculum section they are interested in, delve into it more deeply and create an applied activity that would reinforce the material or deepen one s understanding of its significance for educational psychology.

6 Page Six Educational Psychology C. Learning Resources The following are required texts for our seminar: Kozol, Jonathan (2005). The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. Three Rivers Press, New York. ISBN # Levine, Mel (2002). A Mind at a Time. Simon and Schuster, New York. ISBN # All of these resources are in paperback and should be readily available via popular sources. In addition to these resources, there will be a number of articles on Moodle that will be assigned throughout the semester and these become part of the assigned readings for the course. In addition, numerous videos will be used and these become a part of our required learning materials. Some of the a/v material can be reserved in the library but some are one time only showings and cannot be made up at a future date. ************************************************************************

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