Course Outline for the Psychology of Teaching and Learning
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York
College of Liberal Arts
School Psychology Program
Title: The Psychology of Teaching and Learning
Date: Winter 2005-06
Credit Hours: 4
Prerequisite: Matriculation in the school psychology program or permission of instructor
Course proposed by: Stephen Pulos, Psy.D. and Theresa Pulos M.S., CAS
Classroom: Bldg 01 Room 3367 Tuesday 5:00-8:50
Maximum students/section: 20
___Fall _X_Winter ___Spring ___Summer
Students required to take this course: All second year students in the School Psychology graduate program are required to take this course. The Psychology of Teaching and Learning serves as a foundation for understanding how children are taught and how they learn in school.
Goals of the Course:
1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the processes involved in effective classroom instruction. This includes a study of contemporary and historic theories of learning.
2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of student characteristics that account for diversity in learners and be able to articulate a model of how students learn.
3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of disorders typically serviced by school support personnel, including school psychologists, special education teachers, reading and math specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech/language pathologists.
4. Students will review teaching practices as they relate to current research on teacher effectiveness. This review will include current brain research and its implications for students’ learning and engagement.
5. Students will understand the key elements of a balanced reading approach.
6. Students will evaluate current math instruction in light of teaching-for-understanding principles, such as practices that develop both conceptual and procedural knowledge.
7. Students will be able to identify the stumbling blocks to effective learning.
Course Description: Most of the referrals to school psychologists are the result of some sort of learning problem, yet most of us know little about the causes of school learning. What variables affect school learning? Are some influences more important than others? Which of these influences are manipulable and therefore are available as interventions to improve learning? What classroom strategies work best? We will examine theories of school learning and the basic psychological principles that apply to teaching and learning. This will be accomplished through the examination of the role of teachers, which includes their responsibility for teaching curriculum, classroom management, and the social and emotional growth of students. In addition, emphasis will be placed on obtaining an understanding of learning disorders, including diagnosis and intervention strategies. It is hoped that through an increased understanding of the teaching and learning process, school psychologists will be more effective as consultants as they attempt to improve the learning process, especially for special needs learners.
Text: Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D.J., & Pollack, J. E. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
11/29 Review of Syllabus. What is learning? What is good teaching?
Applying psychology to teaching.
Assignment: Marzano Chapters 1 & 2, Bring in video
12/6 What are the most powerful influences on school learning? Which ones can be
controlled? Overview of learning theories. Discussion of effect size. Watch videos illustrating good teaching.
Student Presentation: Skinnerian Operant Conditioning
Assignment: Marzano Chapters 3 & 4; Supplemental readings
12/13 Structure of the Cognitive System. Varieties of learning and memory codes.
Different models of memory. Determinants of remembering and forgetting
Student Theory Presentation: Bloom’s taxonomy.
Assignment: Marzano: Chapters 5 & 6; Supplemental reading.
1/10 Teaching with the Brain in Mind
Student Theory Presentation: Bruner’s discovery learning theory
Assignment: Marzano: Chapters 7 & 8; Supplemental readings
1/17 Guest lecturer: Math
Student Theory Presentation: Vygotsky
Assignment: Marzano: Chapters 9 & 10; Supplemental readings
1/24 Motivating the learner. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition.
Student Presentation #1 on Disorder/Intervention
Student Presentation #2 on Disorder/Intervention
Assignment: Marzano: Chapters 11, 12, and afterward; Supplemental readings
1/31 Assessing learning environments. Teaching for self-regulation, creativity, and tolerance (habits of mind)
Assignment: Supplemental readings
Student Presentation #3 on Disorder/Intervention
2/7 Learning disorders. Guest lecturer: How to teach students who learn differently.
Assignment: Supplemental readings
Student Presentation#4 on Disorder/Intervention
2/14 Best practices in teaching English and Language Arts
Student presentation: Student Presentation#5 on Disorder/Intervention
2/21 Field experience TBA
2/28 Alternative approaches to assessment and classification. Course Wrap-up. Student presentation: Student Presentation#6 on Disorder/Intervention
Student presentation #7 on Disorder/Intervention
1. Intervention Research Paper: The student will research a common psychoeducational dysfunction/learning disorder. The report should define the problem and typical presentation and symptoms, highlight the prevalence rates, and describe, contrast and critique at least two widely-recognized intervention strategies for this problem. Your critique may include both statistical and analytical information, but be sure to go beyond your own opinion and cite references. You may choose a dysfunction/disorder from areas typically serviced by school support personnel.
You may choose a topic that two or three other students are doing in the classroom. In fact, you are encouraged to do this, but the paper you write must be your own research. You may find it helpful to identify a student in your practicum site with the same disorder for illustrative purposes. Papers should be between 6 and 8 pages long. The paper will be evaluated for inclusion of relevant research, references to informed expert opinion, and the quality of the writing, as well as the synthesis and analysis of information. Final editions of the paper will be copied and distributed to the class. Possible dysfunctions/disorder to explore include, but are not limited to:
Central auditory processing Spelling disability
Dyspraxia (apraxia) Pragmatic language delays
Receptive language disorder Expressive language disorder
Anomia Nonverbal learning disabilities
Agnosia Sensory Integration Disorder
Gross-motor dysfunction Fine-motor dysfunction
Due Date: 1/24/06
2. Presentation of a Disorder/Dysfunction to the Class: Students will present the information you learned about this disorder to the class in groups of two or three. Be sure to give special attention to intervention strategies. Engage your classmates in a discussion of the issues related to the disorder. The presentation will be graded on the basis of how well the group engages their peers in discussion and dialogue, and how well they disseminate important features and intervention strategies. All students within the group will share the grade assigned.
Sign Up for Presentation Dates
3. Presentation of a Learning Theory: Bigge and Shermis (2004) discuss eleven theories that pertain to classroom learning. We will concentrate on four: Skinner’s operant conditioning; Bruner’s discovery learning; Vygotsky’s theory of learning, and the ubiquitous Bloom’s taxonomy. Your assignment is to get together in groups of four or five to do a presentation on one of those four theories. The presentation should last for at least sixty minutes and should be done in the style of the theorist. Address what you consider to be most important about the theory. Feel free to engage the audience in simulations, dialogue, and role-play, and use any teaching techniques that you feel will “grab” the audience and help them understand key aspects of that particular learning theory. It is expected that you will assign your classmates reading material that supports your presentation. You do not need to prepare a written report; your grade will be based on the quality of your presentation. During the first class you will sign up for the theory you want to present—first come, first serve. The due date for each presentation is listed on the course calendar. All students within the group will share the grade assigned.
Sign Up for Presentation Dates
4. Class Participation: You are expected to keep up with assigned readings, and to demonstrate your developing knowledge by participating in class discussions, arriving to class on-time, asking thoughtful questions, and contributing to the overall learning process. In our interactions and discussions I like to see that you are thinking, not just memorizing. In addition to applying concepts from the readings, I would like you to speculate about the implications of these concepts, and ask whatever questions occur to you. Be prepared to go out on a limb and speculate about answers to questions raised by others, to extend or challenge the implications proposed. You will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of your participation.
Attendance and punctuality at all classes are expected. I will take attendance on randomly selected occasions. Students with more than two unexcused absences will lose a letter grade on their final grade. Academic honesty is expected. It is also expected that all students will contribute significantly to student presentations. Finally, it is expected that students will be active participants in class.
Intended Learning Outcomes, Relation to Program Goals and Associated Assessment Methods
This course seeks to fulfill objectives and abilities of the following Competencies of the Rochester Institute of Technology School Psychology program:
Learning Outcome: Student will demonstrate advanced knowledge of language, cognition, social, emotional, and psychomotor development in order to promote understanding of, and respect for, individual differences. Associated Assessment Method: Papers, classroom discussion, and quizzes related to this outcome will be evaluated using the rubric that will be handed out in class.
Learning Outcome: Student will demonstrate an advanced understanding of theories and related research pertaining to learning and development to improve the instructional environment for, and planning and development of curricular tasks involving individuals and groups. Associated Assessment Method: Papers, classroom discussion, and quizzes related to this outcome will be evaluated using the rubric that will be handed out in class.
Learning Outcome: Student will demonstrate knowledge of sociological foundations relating to the structure of the educational system to aid in helping students with learning and adjustment problems, and acting as a change agent in modifying that system, where indicated, to facilitate the educational and personal growth of students. Associated Assessment Method: Papers, classroom discussion, and quizzes related to this outcome will be evaluated using the rubric that will be handed out in class.
Learning Outcome: Student will demonstrate an understanding of the role and functions of a school psychologist in working within the educational system and the larger community. Associated Assessment Method: Papers, classroom discussion, and quizzes related to this outcome will be evaluated using the rubric that will be handed out in class.
Your grade for the quarter will be determined by your performance on the following:
1. Research Paper on a Disorder/Dysfunction 25%
2. Presentation of the Disorder to Class 15%
3. Presentation of an Important Learning
Theory and Facilitation of Class Discussion 15%
4. Quizzes 10%
5. Your contribution to in-class discussions 35%
90% and higher A
80 to 89.9% B
70 to 79.9% C
69 and below F
Students with Disabilities
Please let me know if you have a disability or any other situation or problem that might require some special accommodation. I am sure that we can work out whatever arrangement is necessary, be it special seating, testing, or other accommodation. There are resources on campus that you should know about as well. Be sure to contact me as soon as possible.