Psychological Foundations of Elementary Education
Professor: Nicholas Meier
The faculty of the College of Education at San Jose State University agrees that excellence and equity matter, each is necessary, and neither is sufficient in the absence of the other. The mission of the College of Education is to prepare educators who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that ensure equity and excellence for all students in a culturally diverse, technologically complex, global community.
In the College, we believe that a democracy requires that all students have access to a high quality education based on fairness and respect for all. In addition, we believe that educators at every level must:
• have knowledge of their subject matter and their students,
• value and engage in ethical practice and justifiable pedagogy,
• develop dispositions and habits of mind that aim to ensure that all students have equitable access to educational opportunities that enable them to develop their talents, abilities, and potentialities.
Finally, a democracy requires that all stakeholders be fully involved in the collegial community. We envision ourselves as a learning community of practitioner/scholars in continuous dialogue and inquiry that enable us to revisit, review, and revise our practice in an ongoing response to twenty-first century issues and circumstances.
Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis, Educational Psychology: Developing Learners, 4th Edition.
Credential candidates will be able to:
1. Understand and explain the basic theories of cognition, learning and motivation.
Course Equity Objectives
Credential candidates will be able to:
1. Use psychological principles to identify and examine sources of inequity in the classroom.
Class Participation (20%); Child Observation (30%); Lesson plan analysis (30%); Reflective Essays (20%). All readings and assignments should be completed before the class meeting under which they are listed
ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING:
Grading Assignment Due:
20 points Class participation Ongoing
20 points Reflective Essays Ongoing
30 points Scaffold case study June 16th
30 points Lesson / Analysis June 28
100 points total
(Late papers: Prior permission of instructor required. Up to 3 points may be deducted from grade for each class session a paper is late)
Calculation of Grades
There will be four (4) reflective essays, graded on a 4-point scale. The purpose of the reflective essays is for you to connect the ideas from the readings and the lectures to your own experience and prior knowledge. The essays also help me evaluate your and the class’s understanding of the material. These should be from 250–400 words in length. They will be graded on the degree to which you make connections between the readings, lectures and your prior knowledge. Each essay should include 2 or 3 discussion questions. These questions should be based on issues that the readings raised in your mind. These essays are to be submitted online through the course website discussion board. (if you do not have web access please see instructor for alternative).
On the off weeks you will also be expected to read and respond to at least one other person’s reflection. This response can be brief, as in just a few comments. Please respond to someone that someone else has not responded to yet. This will be credited as 1 point each. (I know, this adds up to 19 points – so you get 1 free point!)Scaffolding Case Study
Rationale / Overview. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your understanding of scaffolding. For the assignment, you will conduct an interview with one (1) K-8 student. Your task is to explore her/his skills and competencies in an area of the curriculum. You will use the information you gather from this conversation and from the student’s work to develop a scaffolding plan for your student. This assignment will be completed in pairs, so will be working with a partner to carry out this assignment. However the written reports will be submitted individually.
Preparing for the assignment. This assignment has four parts—preparing for the assignment, observing/interviewing the student, analyzing the observation and interview, and developing a scaffolding plan. The first part, involves choosing a skill to examine, collecting student work and planning the interview and observation. I’ve provided the list below to help you organize yourself.
(1) To begin, you must select a skill to examine. The content area is entirely open for you to choose (e.g. you may select writing, reading, math, science, social studies, etc). You should then select a specific skill within that content area (e.g. organizing paragraphs, sorting objects into categories, identifying patterns in numbers, drawing pictures with a variety of colors and shapes). Here, you want to avoid choosing a task based on rote memorization (naming the continents, reciting the definition of a word) since it will be difficult to develop differentiated scaffolding plans for your student.
(2) Next, you will need to think about what kinds of student work you can use to assess your students’ proficiency in the skill you have chosen. This consideration may also influence your decision of what skill to examine. You should avoid skills that are difficult to capture in student work or difficult to assess with any precision.
(3) Once you’ve decided on a skill, you’ll need to find either the low or the high end of the spectrum with regard to proficiency. Remember, when choosing a student for this assignment, that you have to interview her/him. I recommend that you record your interview (video or audio), so that you can refer back to it when you write up your analysis.
(4) Finally, you’ll need to develop your interview. The interview should begin with the student either engaging in a task that requires them to use the skill you’ve chosen (e.g. a math problem, a sorting activity, a piece of text to read), or it should begin with the teacher and student going over an example of student work (e.g. a piece of writing, a drawing, a test). The idea here is to focus the conversation on a tangible experience, which will help the student to understand your questions and respond meaningfully. For the interview, you should prepare a list of questions that will help you understand three things: (a) the student’s understanding of the task; (b) the skills or strategies that the student currently possesses; and (c) the skills and strategies that are still developing in the student.
(5) You are now ready to collect your student work and conduct your interview. Once again, remember that the whole point of the student work and the interview is to gain insight into her/his proficiency and thinking process with the skill you’ve chosen for the assignment.
Completing the assignment. Once you have collected the information that you need, you will need to prepare your write-up. There will be four sections to the write-up: Sections I and II may be written collaboratively or individually. EACH person in the pair must develop his or her OWN write-up of Section III and IV.
(1) Section I: BACKGROUND. In the first section of your write-up you should describe the skill that you have chosen. This section can be brief. First, simply identify the skill, describe any prerequisite competencies, and list any component sub-skills that your student may need to be successful. Also explain why you picked this particular skill. Second, lay out what you see as the zone of proximal development for this skill. Also give any background about the student that might be pertinent (e.g. Second language learner, specific learning difficulties, if they have had significant successes or failures in this area).
(2) Section II: OBSERVATION/INTERVIEW. In this section you need to describe what the student did. Use descriptive language and avoid analytic and judgmental language as much as possible (“Just the facts, ma’am”). If you were able to interview the students, give a synopsis of the questions and answers.
(2) Section III: ASSESSMENT. In section two, you need to analyze your student’s proficiency. Your job here is to explain where your student’s strengths and weaknesses lie with respect to your chosen skill. In other words, specify where your student lies in the ZPD for this skill. The most important thing to remember, as you prepare this section, is to base your conclusions on your analysis of student work and the interview you’ve conducted. Please quote (or paraphrase) statements from the interview and refer to student work to back up your assertions (you may include any student work in an appendix to the assignment).
(3) Section IV: SCAFFOLDING PLAN. In section three you must develop a plan for scaffolding your student’s development of the skill. In you scaffolding plan, describe any activities or aids that you will use to help the student move to the next level in this skill or ability. In this section, please be sure to define concepts that you apply from theory.Lesson / Analysis
Rationale: This lesson/analysis assignment gives you the opportunity to put your knowledge about learning and cognition into practice. It requires you to "construct" your understanding of learning theory by designing and analyzing a lesson plan.
Assignment: Develop one lesson plan that implements the principles of teaching and learning covered in this course. Next, write an analysis explaining how your lesson maximizes learning from the perspectives used.
Part I: Lesson Plans. Your lesson should span at least one whole class period (though you are free to develop lessons that span more than one class period). The format of the lesson plan is flexible, but you should follow some standard template (e.g. Lesson Plan Template). The length of the lesson plan will vary according to the detail that you provide. You should also provide a brief outline of the context of the lesson—that is what is the larger unit of which this would be a part, and where in that unit does this fit.
Part II: Analysis. Next, you must analyze your lesson. The purpose of the analysis is to explain how your lesson implements the principles of teaching and learning. Your analysis should include the following three elements:
(1) a brief overview of the theory with explanations of any of the concepts that you plan to apply to your lesson plan (please write this section as if it would be read by someone who is unfamiliar the theories used). This section should be roughly 1-2 pages long.
(2) applications of these concepts to specific learning activities in your lesson; and
(3) an analysis of how your lesson maximizes the potential for student learning by applying learning theory.
Please dedicate 2–3 pages (double spaced) to section (1) and 3–4 pages (total) to sections (2) and (3) to your analysis.
NOTE: While it is important that you write clear lesson plans, the most important part of this assignment is the analysis. The analyses are the main way for you to demonstrate your understanding of the course concepts by applying them to your practice as a teacher.
You are free to use prepared ("ready-made") lesson plans from outside sources such as textbooks, teacher manuals, professional journals, or the Internet. However, if you do so, you will be expected to adapt that lesson for this assignment. (You are also expected to cite the source from which you adapted the lesson).Lesson Plan Format
OUTLINE OF UNIT
SUMMARY: Brief summary of lesson content
AUDIENCE: who are the students—e.g. grade level, content area, type of students
TIME: How long should this lesson take
GOALS: These are broad concepts/skills/knowledge that you hope students will build
OBJECTIVES: These are more measurable and short term than goals. These are what the students will actually accomplish and do.
MATERIALS: This is like the ingredients in a recipe. List all materials one would need to carry out this lesson.
PROCEDURES: This is where you explain step-by-step how to teach the lesson. What does the teacher do? What are the students doing? It should include approximate times.
ASSESSMENT: How will you know if you have achieved your objectives? This does not need to be a formal test. It could (should) include observation of the students as they work.