Mercer County Community College Division of Liberal Arts

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Mercer County Community College

Division of Liberal Arts

Trenton, New Jersey 08690


Educational Psychology

Three Credits

DATE: Spring 2005



INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth DeGiorgio


Location: Liberal Arts Building Room 150

Phone: (609) 586-4800 extension 3862


FAX: 609) 588-5148

OFFICE HOURS: Monday 11:00am - 12:00pm (LA150)

Tuesday 1:00pm - 2:00pm (LA150)

9:30pm- 10:00pm (LA150)

Wednesday 11:00am – 12:00pm (LA150)

Thursday 10:00am – 10:30am (LA150)

* All other office hours by appointment

REQUIRED TEXTS: Ormond, J.E... (2003) Educational Psychology: Developing Learners (4 th.ed.). New Jersey: Merill; Prentice Hall, Inc.

and study guide

*Companion website:

* Additional readings as assigned by instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an in depth study of fundamental concepts and principles that have broad applicability to classroom practice and supports the preparation and continuing development of educational and human-service professionals.

Topics such as, student development, student diversity, learning, cognitive processes, motivation, and instructional and assessment strategies will be explored.

RELATIONSHIP TO THE PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION PROGRAM: This course is an option for all students seeking to enter a baccalaureate degree program in education or the human service professions.

Students are provided with the psychological principles of learning, development, motivation, and behavior to help them apply those principles in becoming more effective teachers.

This course adheres to the “Model Standards for Beginning Teacher Licensing and Development” as established by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC). These standards identify a “common core of teaching knowledge and skills” that INTASC deems necessary for effective, high quality teaching. More information about INTASC and the model standards can be found online at:

PSY201 specifically addresses INTASC standards (described as principles) 2.1A, 2.1B, 5.1A, 5.1B, and 8.1A as explained below.

Principle 2.1 A (Understands how children learn and develop)

Evaluation Criteria: Students will read and critique several case studies. They will answer questions and analyze the situations from a developmental perspective focusing on the appropriateness of lessons and teacher expectations. In addition, students will also demonstrate their understanding of development and learning by successfully answering developmental exam questions.

Principle 2.1 B (Understands how children learn and develop)

Evaluation Criteria: Each student will develop a personal Philosophy of Teaching and Learning. At the end of the course students will submit a written philosophy statement that incorporates theories and concepts learned and that also describes their understanding of child development.

Principle 5.1 A and B (Understands individual and group motivation)

Evaluation Criteria: Case studies (text, video, or ILF) focusing on motivational issues will be read or watched. Students will analyze specific situations in terms of types of motivation, effectiveness of practices, and reasons for various behaviors observed. IN addition, the Reflective Teaching Journal includes the observation and analysis of teaching strategies used to promote extrinsic and/or intrinsic motivation. Motivation questions will be included in the final examination.

Principle 8.1 A

Understands formal and informal assessment strategies

Evaluation Criteria: Several methods will address assessment strategies. Students will help create rubrics and criteria for grading course assignments. Students will complete an observational activity based on assessment in which they will create a rubric, grade student artifacts, and discuss their observations. Students will participate in creating their final exam questions.



(Subject matter or discipline(s), Professional field of study, Pedagogical knowledge, Pedagogical content knowledge, Professional knowledge)

Standard #1: Enhances knowledge of subject content.

Students use their understanding of the nature of learning, cognitive processes, and behavior of children and adolescents to be able to apply the principles to classroom practice.

As a result of this course, students will demonstrate an understanding of the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas and the importance of each content area in learning. They will also be able identify resources to deepen their understanding.

This will be assessed through the review of resources in the educator learning center (, discussion topics and cooperative learning activities.

Standard #2: Improves understanding of the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of each learner and ensures that educators utilize appropriate teaching skills to enable students to meet or exceed their potential.

As a result of this course, students will demonstrate an understanding and value the importance and complex characteristics of learners. Students will be able to adjust instructional strategies based on knowledge of how students learn and develop. Students will design learning environment that enhance student learning and critical thinking.

This will be assessed through the design and evaluation of meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for all students.

Standard #3: Reflects best available interpretations of relevant knowledge, including empirical research and the consensus of professional opinion in teaching, learning, and leadership

As a result of this course, students will keep abreast of current educational research and integrate new understandings into content and instruction.

This will be assessed through the reviews of research journal articles.

Standard #4: Encourages educators to develop a variety of classroom based assessment skills.

Students will demonstrate an understanding about the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They will use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies to positively influence children’s development.

This will be assessed through the design of assessment plans, team activities, review of observation videos and classroom discussions.

Standard #5: Provides for integrating new learning into the curriculum and the classroom

As a result of this class, students will be empowered to connect their learning to what they will teach and to incorporate new concepts into practice.

This will be assessed through presentations and lesson designs.

Performance (Skills)

(The ability to use content, professional and pedagogical knowledge effectively and readily in diverse teaching settings in a manner that ensures that all students are learning.)

Standard #6: Is based on knowledge of adult learning and development

As a result of this course, students will be able to understand motivation, the stages of development, and personal goals and needs. They will also be able to apply what is known about motivation for growth and the development of positive self esteem.

This will be assessed through the review of case studies and group activities.


(Values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behaviors toward students, families, colleagues, and communities and affect student learning, motivation, and development as well as the educator’s own professional growth—guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility and social justice.)

Standard #7: Is periodically assessed to show its impact on teaching practice and/or student learning

As a result of this course, Students will be able to

identify and conduct themselves as members of the teaching profession.

They will know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to practice. Students are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

This will be assessed through assessments, attendance at workshops, conferences, conducting research, reviewing journal articles.


Classroom experiences include discussion, activities, role-play, lecture, class presentations, case studies, fieldwork, and individual projects.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Guidelines and rubrics will be provided

1. Class Participation/Preparation (5 points per class = 75 points)

Students are expected to read text and supplementary readings as assigned. Students are also expected to attend class prepared to actively participate in class discussions, assignments, and activities. Communication skills are strengthened and a great deal is learned through interactions with peers in class.

2. Lesson plan/Activity design (100 points)

Lesson plans/ Activities will address the key features of a positive learning environment and attend to the healthy, respective, supportive, and challenging dimensions.

Student teams are required to develop lesson/activity plans with clear and concise learner objectives and outcomes

and present theirs ideas to the class.

Additional information and formats will be provided in class.

3. Field Experience/ Observation (400 points) guidelines will be provided.

Team observations (12 hours) will be conducted and presented to the class. Guidelines will be provided.

4. 4 Exams (400 points)

Exams may include multiple choice, true-false, short answer/essay, and analysis/application questions. Material may include text readings, supplemental readings as assigned, class lecture, discussion, and activities.

5. Individual and Cooperative learning activities (10 points each)

Groups will conduct a variety of instructional activities related to the concepts in Educational Psychology. Discussion topics and guidelines will be provided.


All lecture dates/topics are tentative. Any modifications to this schedule will be announced in class.

Session Date Topics Due

Week 1 Course Overview Requirements guidelines/forms/handouts

Student inventory/writing personal goals

Educational Psychology

Educational Research


Week 2 & 3 Cognitive and linguistic development


Linguistic development

Week 4 Personal, Social, and Moral Development

Week 5 Individual/Group differences

(Abilities, learning styles, temperaments,

Developmental profiles)

Week 6 Students with special needs


Week 7 Cognitive psychology


Week 8 Knowledge Construction

Conceptual change

Week 9 Higher-level thinking skills

Problem solving

Week 10 Behaviorism

Applied behavior analysis

Week 11 Social Cognitive Theory

Week 12 Motivation and Affect

Week 13 Cognitive factors in Motivation


Week 14 & 15 Instructional strategies/assessment


Special Accommodations

Students with disabilities should meet with the appropriate disability service provider on campus as soon as possible. In order to receive accommodations, students must be registered with the appropriate disability service provider on campus as set forth in the student handbook and must follow the college procedure for self-disclosure, which is stated in the Guide to Services and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. Students will not be afforded any special accommodations for academic work completed prior to the completion of the documentation process with the appropriate disability service office.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is the use of another’s words or ideas without acknowledgment. It is the equivalent of theft. Some plagiarism is extreme and willful (i.e., buying term papers). Other forms of plagiarism may arise from carelessness or ignorance (i.e., misusing quotation marks or citations). Plagiarism of any kind is not acceptable nor will it be tolerated.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory. More than 2 absences will result in the lowering of your final grade. Excessive absences will result in a WI (withdrawn from class by instructor).Please try to attend all classes. In addition, if you come to class late or leave early, your grade will also be affected. Three late arrivals or early departures or a combination of these will equal one class absence. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class. In the event of an unavoidable absence, it is the student’s responsibility to keep abreast of all assignments and material covered. Networking with fellow students via phone or email will help resolve any concerns during your absence.


Professional behavior is expected of all students. Students should refrain from talking while peers or the instructor is talking and should participate to the best of their abilities in all class activities. Cell phones must be turned off during class. Anyone who does not adhere to this policy will have points deducted from the class participation grade.

Work Quality

It is assumed that all work will be of professional quality. All assignments must by typed and in APA format. Any student’s work containing numerous spelling, typographical, or grammatical errors will result in the loss of points. Work that is illegible will be returned ungraded and zero (0) points will be earned.

Late Assignments

Late assignments will not be accepted. Absence from class is not a legitimate excuse for turning in a late assignment.


Clarizio, H. F., Mehrens, W. A. & Hapkiewicz, W. G. (6th Ed.). (1994). Contemporary issues in educational psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Cobb, N. J. (1998). Adolescence: continuity, change, and diversity. Mountain View CA: Mayfield Publishing Co.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (1996). Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. Harper Collins.

Divine, J. H. (1992). Suzuki and competition. American Suzuki Journal, 20(2), 30, 47.

Divine, J. H. and Cobb, G. (Fall 2001). The effects of infant simulators on early adolescents. Adolescence, Vol. 36, No.143.

Ernst, Ken. (1972). Games students play (and what to do about them.). Celestial Arts Publishing.

Gill, Vickie. (1998). The ten commandments of good teaching. Corwin Press.

Goleman, Daniel. (1995). Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books.

Gould, Stephen J. (1981). The Mismeasure of Man. Norton & Co.

Hine, Thomas. (1999). The rise and fall of the American teenager. Avon Books.

Kottler, Ellen, et als. (1998). Secrets for secondary school teachers: how to succeed in your first year. Corwin Press.

McCrone, J. (1991). The ape that spoke. New York: William Morrow.

Orange, Carolyn. (2000). 25 biggest mistakes teachers make and how to avoid them. Corwin Press.

Sarason, Seymour B. (1999). Teaching as a performing art. Teachers College Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press.

Learner-Centered Psychological Principles: A Framework for School Redesign and Reform


The following 14 psychological principles pertain to the learner and the learning process 1. They focus on psychological factors that are primarily internal to and under the control of the learner rather than conditioned habits or physiological factors. However, the principles also attempt to acknowledge external environment or contextual factors that interact with these internal factors.

The principles are intended to deal holistically with learners in the context of real-world learning situations. Thus, they are best understood as an organized set of principles; no principle should be viewed in isolation. The 14 principles are divided into those referring to cognitive and metacognitive, motivational and affective, developmental and social, and individual difference factors influencing learners and learning. Finally, the principles are intended to apply to all learners -- from children, to teachers, to administrators, to parents, and to community members involved in our educational system.


  1. Nature of the learning process. The learning of complex subject matter is most effective when it is an intentional process of constructing meaning from information and experience.

    There are different types of learning processes, for example, habit formation in motor learning; and learning that involves the generation of knowledge, or cognitive skills and learning strategies. Learning in schools emphasizes the use of intentional processes that students can use to construct meaning from information, experiences, and their own thoughts and beliefs. Successful learners are active, goal-directed, self-regulating, and assume personal responsibility for contributing to their own learning. The principles set forth in this document focus on this type of learning.

  2. Goals of the learning process. The successful learner, over time and with support and instructional guidance, can create meaningful, coherent representations of knowledge.

    The strategic nature of learning requires students to be goal directed. To construct useful representations of knowledge and to acquire the thinking and learning strategies necessary for continued learning success

across the life span, students must generate and pursue personally relevant goals. Initially, students' short-term goals and learning may be sketchy in an area, but over time their understanding can be refined by filling gaps, resolving inconsistencies, and deepening their understanding of the subject matter so that they can reach longer-term goals. Educators can assist learners in creating meaningful learning goals that are consistent with both personal and educational aspirations and interests.

  1. Construction of knowledge. The successful learner can link new information with existing knowledge in meaningful ways.

    Knowledge widens and deepens as students continue to build links between new information and experiences and their existing knowledge base. The nature of these links can take a variety of forms, such as adding to, modifying, or reorganizing existing knowledge or skills. How these links are made or develop may vary in different subject areas, and among students with varying talents, interests, and abilities. However, unless new knowledge becomes integrated with the learner's prior knowledge and understanding, this new knowledge remains isolated, cannot be used most effectively in new tasks, and does not transfer readily to new situations. Educators can assist learners in acquiring and integrating knowledge by a number of strategies that have been shown to be effective with learners of varying abilities, such as concept mapping and thematic organization or categorizing.

  2. Strategic thinking. The successful learner can create and use a repertoire of thinking and reasoning strategies to achieve complex learning goals.

    Successful learners use strategic thinking in their approach to learning, reasoning, problem solving, and concept learning. They understand and can use a variety of strategies to help them reach learning and performance goals, and to apply their knowledge in novel situations. They also continue to expand their repertoire of strategies by reflecting on the methods they use to see which work well for them, by receiving guided instruction and feedback, and by observing or interacting with appropriate models. Learning outcomes can be enhanced if educators assist learners in developing, applying, and assessing their strategic learning skills.

  3. Thinking about thinking. Higher order strategies for selecting and monitoring mental operations facilitate creative and critical thinking.

    Successful learners can reflect on how they think and learn, set reasonable learning or performance goals, select potentially appropriate learning strategies or methods, and monitor their progress toward these goals. In addition, successful learners know what to do if a problem occurs or if they are not making sufficient or timely progress toward a goal. They can generate alternative methods to reach their goal (or

reassess the appropriateness and utility of the goal). Instructional methods that focus on helping learners develop these higher order (metacognitive) strategies can enhance student learning and personal responsibility for learning.

  1. Context of learning. Learning is influenced by environmental factors, including culture, technology, and instructional practices.

    Learning does not occur in a vacuum. Teachers play a major interactive role with both the learner and the learning environment. Cultural or group influences on students can impact many educationally relevant variables, such as motivation, orientation toward learning, and ways of thinking. Technologies and instructional practices must be appropriate for learners' level of prior knowledge, cognitive abilities, and their learning and thinking strategies. The classroom environment, particularly the degree to which it is nurturing or not, can also have significant impacts on student learning.


  1. Motivational and emotional influences on learning. What and how much is learned is influenced by the learner's motivation. Motivation to learn, in turn, is influenced by the individual's emotional states, beliefs, interests and goals, and habits of thinking.

    The rich internal world of thoughts, beliefs, goals, and expectations for success or failure can enhance or interfere with the learner's quality of thinking and information processing. Students' beliefs about themselves as learners and the nature of learning have a marked influence on motivation. Motivational and emotional factors also influence both the quality of thinking and information processing as well as an individual's motivation to learn. Positive emotions, such as curiosity, generally enhance motivation and facilitate learning and performance. Mild anxiety can also enhance learning and performance by focusing the learner's attention on a particular task. However, intense negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, panic, rage, insecurity) and related thoughts (e.g., worrying about competence, ruminating about failure, fearing punishment, ridicule, or stigmatizing labels) generally detract from motivation, interfere with learning, and contribute to low performance.

  2. Intrinsic motivation to learn. The learner's creativity, higher order thinking, and natural curiosity all contribute to motivation to learn. Intrinsic motivation is stimulated by tasks of optimal novelty and difficulty, relevant to personal interests, and providing for personal choice and control.

3. Curiosity, flexible and insightful thinking, and creativity are major indicators of the learners' intrinsic motivation to learn, which is in large part a function of meeting basic, needs to be competent and to exercise personal control. Intrinsic motivation is facilitated on tasks that learners perceive as interesting and personally relevant and meaningful, appropriate in complexity and difficulty to the learners' abilities, and on which they believe they can succeed. Intrinsic motivation is also facilitated on tasks that are comparable to real-world situations and meet needs for choice and control. Educators can encourage and support learners' natural curiosity and motivation to learn by attending to individual differences in learners' perceptions of optimal novelty and difficulty, relevance, and personal choice and control.

4. Effects of motivation on effort. Acquisition of complex knowledge and skills requires extended learner effort and guided practice. Without learners' motivation to learn, the willingness to exert this effort is unlikely without coercion.

Effort is another major indicator of motivation to learn. The acquisition of complex knowledge and skills demands the investment of considerable learner energy and strategic effort, along with persistence over time. Educators need to be concerned with facilitating motivation by strategies that enhance learner effort and commitment to learning and to achieving high standards of comprehension and understanding. Effective strategies include purposeful learning activities, guided by practices that enhance positive emotions and intrinsic motivation to learn, and methods that increase learners' perceptions that a task is interesting and personally relevant.


  1. Developmental influences on learning. As individuals develop, there are different opportunities and constraints for learning. Learning is most effective when differential development within and across physical, intellectual, emotional, and social domains is taken into account.

    Individuals learn best when material is appropriate to their developmental level and is presented in an enjoyable and interesting way. Because individual development varies across intellectual, social, emotional, and physical domains, achievement in different instructional domains may also vary. Overemphasis on one type of developmental readiness--such as reading readiness, for example--may preclude learners from demonstrating that they are more capable in other areas of performance. The cognitive, emotional, and social development of individual learners and how they interpret life experiences are affected by prior schooling, home, culture, and community factors. Early and continuing parental involvement in schooling and the quality of language interactions and two-way communications between adults and children can influence these developmental areas. Awareness and understanding of developmental differences among children with and without emotional, physical, or intellectual disabilities can facilitate the creation of optimal learning contexts.

  2. Social influences on learning. Learning is influenced by social interactions, interpersonal relations, and communication with others.

    Learning can be enhanced when the learner has an opportunity to interact and to collaborate with others on instructional tasks. Learning settings that allow for social interactions, and that respect diversity, encourage flexible thinking and social competence. In interactive and collaborative instructional contexts, individuals have an opportunity for perspective taking and reflective thinking that may lead to higher levels of cognitive, social, and moral development, as well as self-esteem. Quality personal relationships that provide stability trust, and caring can increase learners' sense of belonging, self-respect and self-acceptance, and provide a positive climate for learning. Family influences, positive interpersonal support and instruction in self-motivation strategies can offset factors that interfere with optimal learning such as negative beliefs about competence in a particular subject, high levels of test anxiety, negative sex role expectations, and undue pressure to perform well. Positive learning climates can also help to establish the context for healthier levels of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Such contexts help learners feel safe to share ideas, actively participate in the learning process, and create a learning community.


  1. Individual differences in learning. Learners have different strategies, approaches, and capabilities for learning that are a function of prior experience and heredity.

    Individuals are born with and develop their own capabilities and talents. In addition, through learning and social acculturation, they have acquired their own preferences for how they like to learn and the pace at which they learn. However, these preferences are not always useful in helping learners reach their learning goals. Educators need to help students examine their learning preferences and expand or modify them, if necessary. The interaction between learner differences and curricular and environmental conditions is another key factor affecting learning outcomes. Educators need to be sensitive to individual differences, in general. They also need to attend to learner perceptions of the degree to which these differences are accepted and adapted to by varying instructional methods and materials.

2. Learning and diversity. Learning is most effective when differences in learners' linguistic, cultural, and social backgrounds are taken into account.

The same basic principles of learning, motivation, and effective instruction apply to all learners. However, language, ethnicity, race, beliefs, and socioeconomic status all can influence learning. Careful attention to these factors in the instructional setting enhances the possibilities for designing and implementing appropriate learning environments. When learners perceive that their individual differences in abilities, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are valued, respected, and accommodated in learning tasks and contexts, levels of motivation and achievement are enhanced.

3. Standards and assessment. Setting appropriately high and challenging standards and assessing the learner as well as learning progress -- including diagnostic, process, and outcome assessment -- are integral parts of the learning process.

Assessment provides important information to both the learner and teacher at all stages of the learning process. Effective learning takes place when learners feel challenged to work towards appropriately high goals; therefore, appraisal of the learner's cognitive strengths and weaknesses, as well as current knowledge and skills, is important for the selection of instructional materials of an optimal degree of difficulty. Ongoing assessment of the learner's understanding of the curricular material can provide valuable feedback to both learners and teachers about progress toward the learning goals. Standardized assessment of learner progress and outcomes assessment provides one type of information about achievement levels both within and across individuals that can inform various types of programmatic decisions. Performance assessments can provide other sources of information about the attainment of learning outcomes. Self-assessments of learning progress can also improve students self appraisal skills and enhance motivation and self-directed learning.


1. Class Participation/Preparation (5 points per class = 75 points)

Dates of absence__________________________________________________

2. Lesson plan/Activity design (100 points)

3. Field Experience/ Observation (400 points)

4. 4 Exams

Exam #1_______________

Exam #2_______________

Exam #3_______________

Exam #4_______________

5. Individual and Cooperative learning activities (10 points each)

Total points possible:

Total points earned: ___________

Final Grade = Total points earned/total points possible


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