Agenda Introductions Syllabus/Blackboard walk through Discussion ? Why study educational psychology? How do you learn best? Keypoints We are here today as a learning community. Blackboard is an important part of this class. Educational psychology is the study of development and application of psychological principles to education. Its primary goal is to understand and improve education. Why should teachers study educational psychology? Educational psychology is the study of development and application of psychological principles to education. It is distinct from other branches of psychology because its primary goal is to understand and improve education (O?Donnell & Levin, 2001; Wittrock, 1992). A teacher must understand how students learn, what motivates them to learn, and how to measure their learning. This knowledge provides a rich foundation from which to choose and implement the most effective instructional strategies. Is teaching just a matter of using common sense? Some of the principles put forth by educational psychology seem like common sense?but are they really? When should teachers provide help for lower achieving students as they do class work? Should a school encourage exceptionally bright students to skip grades or to enter college early? Are boys and girls different in their mathematical and verbal abilities? When should teachers provide help for lower achieving students as they do class work? Common Sense Answer: Teachers should offer help often. Research-Based Answer: When teachers give help before being asked, it sends a message to the student and other students that the low-achieving student does not have the ability to complete the class work. Should a school encourage exceptionally bright students to skip grades or to enter college early? Common Sense Answer: No. These students will be social misfits when placed with older children; they are not physically or emotionally prepared to handle this change. Research-Based Answer: Possibly. Research has shown that students who are accelerated adjust as well or better than other students with similar abilities who have not been accelerated (Kirk and colleagues, 1993). Are boys and girls different in their mathematical and verbal abilities? Commonly-held Belief: Boys are better at math. Girls are better at verbal activities. Research-Based Answer: No. Boys and girls tend to be similar in their ability to perform in both verbal and mathematical tasks. Any differences in average performance are too small to impact teacher practice. What is a theory? Theory: Integrated statement of principles that attempts to explain a phenomenon and make predictions Few theories explain and predict perfectly; you may prefer some theories over others Theories are based on solid evidence that a phenomenon might be true; teachers should have a firm understanding of learning theories to predict challenges and determine the best way to deal with those challenges A theory lasts as long as? It accounts for all data produced by experiments It can be modified to account for new data It suggests new experiments and approaches No massive shift in the paradigm takes place Using research to understand and improve teaching Descriptive studies Classroom ethnography Participant observation Case studies Correlational studies Positive and Negative Correlations 1.00 to -1.00 tells direction of relationship Make general predictions Not cause and effect Experimental Studies Random assignment to one of several groups Treatment and control groups Statistically significant: difference probably did not happen by chance Paradigms Paradigm: ?accepted examples of scientific practice?examples which include law, theory, application, and instrumentation together?provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research? (Kuhn, 1996) Four stages of a paradigm Pre-Paradigm Chaos, many competing theories Paradigm Emergence Leaders build community Paradigm Dominance Multiple studies in great depth Paradigm Shift Inability to explain anomalies forces shift Crisis leads to chaos, which leads to a revolution and the emergence of a new paradigm What does a paradigm provide? Guidance Direction Determination of what is ?right? Structure Comfort Examples of paradigms Behaviorist view of learning, 1920s ? 1960s (environment) Classical Conditioning (Pavlov) Operant Conditioning (Skinner) Social Cognitive Theory, 1940?s to Present Incorporated cognitive processes Learning from observation Cognitive Psychology, 1960?s to Present Conceptualized learning as a mental rather than a behavioral change Focused more on thought processes in learning new skills An emerging paradigm The Physiological Basis of Learning Brain research Advantages and disadvantages of paradigms Advantages: Provides a clear definition of the problem Specifies types and extent of methods and procedures to be used Focuses research activity, allowing for depth and precision of research Disadvantages: Restricts scope of research Rigid approach to investigation Great resistance to change and to acceptance of new ideas
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