Introduction to Educational Psychology

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					                                                                     Educational Psychology – Fall 2005

            Introduction to Educational Psychology
                                  EDU 301 Fall 2005

Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00-2:20. N 312
Instructor: Professor JoAnne Kingsley       Office: N 303
Electronic mail: Office Hours: Monday 2-4p.m. or by
Textbook: Psychology Applied to Teaching, First Canadian Edition. Biehler, R.,
Snowman, J., D’Amico, M. & Schmid, R.F. (1999).

Overall Goals of Course, and General Course Structure
This course will aim toward the development of two competencies in each student. First, a
general introduction to the field of psychology and its applications in real classroom
contexts will be pursued. Second, individuals will become immersed in an area of particular
interest to themselves. The overriding goal is that each of you will acquire knowledge and
understanding you can use in classrooms; we will strive to connect theory to practice in
relevant appropriate ways.

The course will follow the textbook. Occasionally I will provide supplemental
‘readings’ (i.e. articles, websites, video-clips) most often available via the Internet.
During the first weeks of the semester, I will present the key information and
facilitate the class; afterwards, you will begin to take on more of the facilitation
role and students in groups will animate the classes. In-class activities, analytical
responses to readings combined with two tests will be used to promote learning of
the fundamental course material: the activities and analytical responses will be
used to promote reflective discussion and the tests will help insure that you review
and synthesize course content. Finally, the opportunity to teach will provide each
student with a chance to study one area in-depth.

For my teaching philosophy I draw on social-constructivism (especially Vygotsky) and also
cognitive information processing models of learning. You the learner are in an active role in
the learning processes involved in this course. Your learning in this course should involve an
iterative cycle of action and reflection. This is not primarily a lecture course. You will learn
through reading, through watching video tapes, through surfing the Internet, through
face-to-face discussions, through class activities, and through reflecting on the course
material and your own progress.

You will learn from each other and also through individual endeavors. My role is to help
facilitate your learning: to ensure that you have an opportunity to acquire the core content

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of the course and also the opportunity to expand your own understanding and
interpretations through small-group activities, discussions, and individual reflection.
Following socio-constructivism, I also plan to model some of the skills targeted in this
course. Finally, beyond even deep comprehension, I hope to inspire you with a love for the
subject material that ideally will motivate you to apply what we know of human nature and
learning to improve your teaching in classrooms.
Activities for Assessment

30% Essay (draft and final) Draft due Oct. 6; Final essay due Oct. 13

20% Teaching Experience
    5% Handout
    15% Class Facilitation

20% Two in-class tests

30% Reflective Journal

Draft Essay and Final Essay
This activity consists of three parts: first, you each individually write a draft
response to the question; second you each engage in small groups of 3 in a group
discussion activity examining the question; third, you each write a final draft.

This activity is designed to advance your understanding of the course material and
to support your reflective, critical thinking individually and in groups.

Topics: You will be given a choice of two topics.

Essays (draft and final versions): For the essays, you will take a clear position on
the topic and at the same time demonstrate an understanding of alternative
positions. Draw on references, theory and examples to make your points.

Assessment will be based on the exhibition of: critical thinking (AKA deep
thinking), understanding of core relevant issues, understanding of multiple
perspectives on the issue, clarity and thoroughness of response. The draft should
be an actual attempt to formulate an answer to the question based on the
knowledge you have at that time. The draft should be 4 pages double-spaced; the
final essay should be 6 pages double-spaced.

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Special Note about Discussion Activities:
Most undergraduate education courses require the generation of papers as a
primary, graded activity. The discussion activity for this course might be seen as a
variation on that approach. The primary difference is that aspects of this process
will be collaborative, and therefore more active. This approach also encourages
metacognitive processes not possible in singular paper writing. What is the same is
that you must be scholarly in your approach to this task, i.e., what you say and do is
evidence-based. Opinions have their place, but this process must be well informed.

It is important to come to class prepared with your draft essays in order to
engage in a meaningful exchange of ideas. These draft papers will be submitted the
day of the discussion.

Teaching Experience
Topic/chapter selection: During the first week of the course you will read the text
and handouts, and attend lectures/discussions dealing with the topic of learning
and psychology, how it has been studied in the past, and how it might apply to the
present and future. During the course of your initial reading, think about the areas
being presented, and tentatively select several topics/chapters you would like to
explore in depth. By our second class, indicate three chapters you would like to
present in order of preference (i.e., first choice, second choice, third choice). If
you have someone in particular you would like to work with, make these decisions
together and submit your choices as a team (maximum three people).

Class Facilitation: Once the presentation topics have been selected, each small group will
be responsible for searching out appropriate information, formulating a strategy for the
presentation, and clearing your plan with me. You will be responsible for searching out
information supplementary to the text. Your primary objective in the presentation is to
engage the class in a meaningful learning experience where the key points of the week’s
readings are your focus. In doing so, you may wish to focus on the following questions:

•   How does this chapter connect to what we have been learning?
•   What are the five key elements covered in the chapter?
•   What is the theoretical information necessary for other students to
    understand each of these elements?
•   What are some concrete examples that could help illustrate each of these
•   So what? What are some important classroom applications?

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The presentations should be organized more or less as follows: a general
introduction to the theorist/topic, followed by presentation of details of key
elements, and presentation/discussion/illustration of some of the "practical"
implications of the topic. This should be followed with an activity, possibly a
discussion or debate using, for example, the reflective questions at the end of
your textbook chapter. The learning activity should finish with a debriefing of how
the theoretical principles were actualized in practice. The total facilitation time
should last about one hour (each group member is responsible for “speaking” for
equal amounts of time). Any demonstration will be incorporated into the session,
and will vary with the topic and strategy. The reasoning behind a limited
lecturing/presentation time period is that a brief lecture places more emphasis on
engaging the learners in active learning, and allows you to practice exercising good
organization and control. Time limits will be enforced if necessary.

Note that presentations are usually greatly improved if accompanied by AV
materials (such as “overheads”), handouts, demonstrations etc. (i.e., a brief
exercise showing an experimental procedure, videotape or film clip, etc). In
addition, you should not hesitate to draw on strategies to encourage active class
participation including class discussion, debates, and activities. Do not give a
Power Point presentation for the hour; Power Point is a good way to impart
information, but not a good method to facilitate active learning.

Remember that your main object is to facilitate student understanding of the
essential concepts in an engaging, meaningful fashion. The goal of the class period
is to combine information dissemination with active discussion. Therefore, the
presentations should raise issues that can be discussed both during and following
the actual delivery. All class members will be responsible for asking intelligent and
probing questions. Disagreement as well as confirmation and supplementation are
encouraged. Finally, expect my participation during class presentations. Expect me
to reinforce and summarize key points, help begin a debate, and so on. I reserve
the right to correct any misconceptions you may have during your presentation in
order to ensure accurate understanding of major concepts.
Keep these ‘don’ts’ in mind:

•   Avoid talking for an hour straight.
•   Avoid trying to cover every small point in the readings.
•   Avoid presenting anything you don’t understand or are unable to teach someone

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Handout: Prepare a handout or outline that summarizes and explains the critical
content. Think of it as a study guide for classmates. Distribute Xerox copies of
these handouts at your presentation and post them in WEBCT. Each member of the
group is responsible for explaining a major concept on one sheet. Be careful to
discuss in advance which concepts you are each going to emphasize to avoid any
overlap. Remember use the visual space creatively. It is better to use graphic
organizers than to cram in a full page of text. At the same time, provide enough
information to be a helpful resource for your colleagues. If there are additional
resources, you will be responsible for informing the class the week before. In any
case, you must always let me know two days in advance what you plan to hand out
and present so that I can coordinate it with the other class activities that week.

Reflective Journal
For this course, each of you will keep a journal in which you will critically reflect
upon major concepts and synthesize your understanding by connecting theory to
personal experience and professional practice. It must contain at least six
separate entries. To illustrate your points, you can also make reference to and
include the assignments and exercises in the class. The purpose is to promote your
reflection about your learning in the course. See the course calendar for due dates.
I will collect these entries on an ad hoc basis throughout the term to assess your
understanding. A final evaluation will be based on all six entries. The key criteria
are exhibition of critical thinking, creative thinking, and honest and effective
reflection of your own learning processes in this course.

This course will have two tests. Examination sections could include multiple choice
or true/false type, definition type, short-essay type and essay type questions. The
main criteria will be your exhibition of high-level understanding of the course
material and the skills to apply that understanding. Understanding means that one
can “express the idea with sufficient detail and clarity to communicate it
accurately to a generally knowledgeable person who is not already familiar with the
idea”. There will be no supplementary examinations.

Cooperative/collaborative Learning and Professionalism
Cooperative learning and collaborative learning are both methods to promote
learning through working with others. I encourage you to take responsibility for
your own learning and also for the learning of your classmates. Also, I encourage
you to work in ways that are effective for learning and not just efficient. For
example, I strongly advise against “jigsawing” which involves dividing what is to be
written and learned among your teammates. Learning for understanding need not
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be difficult but it frequently requires some commitment on your part, particularly
with regard to carefully reading the text and working actively on course activities.

For my part, I am committed to facilitating your learning. I expect and encourage
you to do likewise for yourself and your classmates. Be succinct. Be helpful. Be
active. Be early. I expect you to reflect upon the course material, and to share
your thoughts with your classmates in class.

I also expect you to be careful not to commit plagiarism. In particular, if you are
quoting a source, you must give credit. Do not paraphrase the textbook or other
works without giving credit: this is a form of plagiarism. Plagiarism and other
forms of cheating (for example, copying another student’s assignment and
presenting it as your own) will be taken very seriously. Please refer to the
definition of plagiarism on page 21 of the Academic Calendar for 2005-2006.

As developing teachers, students are expected to demonstrate professional
conduct in this course. Examples of such conduct include respecting others,
maintaining appropriate confidentiality, letting me know about unavoidable
absences, and being polite. Students should note that professional conduct is a
condition for success in this course. Students whose overall professional behavior
is unsatisfactory will be referred to the Review Committee whose mandate is the
supervision of individual student progress. Please refer to the School of
Education’s Policy on Ethics and Professionalism for details about professional

Attendance: Attendance in this course is an essential part of acquiring the course
content and each student’s consistent presence is an essential part of creating a
learning community. Please let me know in advance about anticipated absences. If
you unexpectedly cannot make it to class, please let me know via e-mail or
telephone either ahead of time or as soon as possible afterwards. Paying attention
in class, participating actively, and displaying your interest are all positive ways to
add to the learning community. Attendance and punctuality are required and marks
are deducted up to 10% for absences and lateness.

Submission of assignments: All assignments are due according to the dates on the
assignment sheets. Extensions are available with a doctor’s note or family medical

The assignments are spaced out to allow you to process the material over time. The
spacing out of assignments also allows for formative feedback that will provide you
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the opportunity to improve your learning and me the opportunity to improve my
teaching. I reserve the right to subtract two full marks a day for late assignments.
Furthermore, I reserve the right to award marks individually for group
assignments if members appear to have worked disproportionately.

Please note that changes may be made to the topics covered and the deadlines.


Weekly Schedule
Sept. 8    Introduction: Applying Psychology to Teaching (Chapter 1)
Sept. 13   Devising and Using Objectives (Chapter 7)
Sept. 15   Devising and Using Objectives (Chapter 7) *
Sept. 20   Behaviour and Social Learning Theories (Chapter 8)
Sept. 22   No Class
Sept. 27   Behaviour and Social Learning Theories (Chapter 8)
Sept. 29   Information Processing Theory (Chapter 9) *
Oct. 4     Information Processing Theory (Chapter 9)
Oct. 6     Cognitive Learning Theories (Chapter 10) Draft essay due
Oct. 11    No Class
Oct. 13    Solving Problems (Chapter 10) Essay due
Oct. 18    Assessment of Classroom Learning (Chapter 12)      *
Oct. 20    Assessment of Classroom Learning (Chapter 12)
Oct. 25    Test on Chapters 7-10 and 12
Oct. 27    Stage Theories of Development (Chapter 2)
Nov. 1     Stage Theories of Development (Chapter 2) *
Nov. 3     Age–Level Characteristics (Chapter 3)
Nov. 8     Motivation (Chapter 11)
Nov. 10    Understanding Cultural Diversity (Chapter 6)
Nov. 15    Assessing Student Variability (Chapter 4) *
Nov. 17    Dealing with Student Variability (Chapter 5)
Nov. 22    Classroom management (Chapter 13)
Nov. 24    Classroom management (Chapter 13)
Nov. 29    Review       Reflective Journals to be complete and submitted
Dec. 1     Final Test Chapters 1-14

The flow of topics may be adjusted to match the flow of the class in order to take advantage of
‘teachable’ (AKA ‘learnable’) moments. Chapter 14 will be referred to throughout the course.

* Submit Reflective Journals

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