Psychology and Education

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Perspectives on learning Beahaviourist approach

Explain, in your own words, what is meant by ‘behaviourist applications to learning’.

Behaviourists focus on behaviour, rather than on thinking or the person. E.g. Pavlov

  • Classical conditioning 
  • Operant condition
  • Social learning theory

Describe two behaviourist applications to learning.

Operant conditiong:

  • Positive reinforcement, Negative reinforcement, Punishment, to shape behaviour.
  • Programmed learning, Discovery learning
  • Behaviour modification applied to (a) children who misbehave and (b) children who are disadvantaged. Social learning (e.g. Bandura) using teachers or other children as role models.


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Special Educational Needs

Describe what psychologists have discovered about special educational needs.

Special educational needs - he or she has a learning difficulty which needs special teaching.

Types of assessment:

  • The assessment of SEN is a multi-modal, multiagency assessment.
  • Administration of variety of psychometric tests. E.g. personality test, IQ tests, self-esteem inventories.
  • Assessment for specific disorders, e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADHD, autism.

Giftedness - IQ socres, with anyone scoring between 130 and 140 as borderline gifted. Score above 140 are labeled gifted.

Autistic savant - person with an autism sprectrum disorder who has an unusual gift or an outstanding skill.


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Special Educational Needs

Types of SEN: dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), autisticspectrum disorders and giftedness

Causes and effects of one specific learning difficulty or disability:

  • impairment of brain functioning.
  • brain damage
  • dyslexia - chronic neurological, lack of ability to recognize and process written symbols.
  • dyscalculia - genetic disorder, Turner's syndrome, alcohol consumption during pregancy, 
  • autistic sprectrum - biologicaly based disorders.
  • asperger's syndrome - geentics, tend to run in families, infectious disease, heavy metal toxicity, certain vaccinations.

Strategies for educating children with SEN: teachers and parental support, use of medication, counselling, use of technology (computer), segregation for gifted children - acceleration or enrichment.

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Special Educational Needs

Every person is a unique individual, particularly in relation to their educational needs.Evaluate what psychologists have discovered about special educational needs and include a discussion about individual differences. [12]

Evaluation of theory: Internal strengths and weaknesses.Theoretical issues: reductionism, determinism, ethnocentrism.Supporting/contradicting evidence.Comparisons and contrasts with alternative theory.

Evaluation of research: Strengths and weaknesses of methods, sample, controls, procedure. Evaluation of and comparisons and/or contrasts with alternative methodologies. Evaluation of issues and debates: Any relevant debate can be raised, such as qualitative versus quantitative data, snapshot versus longitudinal studies, extent of ecological validity, nature versus nurture; freedom versus determinism; reductionism versus holism. Issues can be raised such as ethics, validity, ethnocentrism, effectiveness, application to real life.

Named issue: individual differences. This psychological approach takes more of an idiographic approach i.e. it is interested in individual differences because of biology, culture,gender, ethnicity, etc.

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Intelligence

Describe Goleman’s theory of emotional intelligence. [6]

emotional intelligence (e.g. Goleman, 1995); creativity and unusual uses test (e.g. Guilford, 1950); problem solving: means-end analysis, planning strategies and backwards searching

Goleman suggests two major components:

  • understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, behaviour and all
  • understanding others, and their feelings

and five factors: 

  • knowing your emotions
  • managing your own emotions
  • motivating oneself
  • recognising and understanding other people's emotions
  • managing relationships, i.e. managing the emotions of others
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Intelligence

Suggest how you would test the reliability and validity of an emotional intelligence test. [8]

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Learning styles and teaching styles

Describe two study skills that could improve learning effectiveness. [6]

  • McCarthy’s (1990) 4-MAT system. Includes: motivation, concept development, practice and application. This is teacher-based, matching teaching styles with learning styles.
  • PQRST: preview, question, read, self-recitation, test. Intended to improve ability to study and remember material in a textbook.
  • SPELT (Mulcahy, 1986) Strategies for Effective Learning / Thinking. This is concerned with learning how to learn.
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Learning styles and teaching styles

Suggest how you would investigate which study skill is the more effective for your students. [8]

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SEN

Describe the causes and effects of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). [4]

Cause:

  • In identical twins, there is a 72-83% probability that both will have ADHD, but in non-identical same-sex twins the probability is 21-45%.
  • ADHD may be caused by a chemical imbalance such as dopamine and noradrenaline. Both these neurotransmitters are involved in ‘executive’ functions which allow selfcontrol. hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention – may all arise due to problems with executive functions.
  •  other possibilities: diet, poor parenting and family environment

Effect:

  • Hyperactivity: fidgets with hands or feet; leaves seat; runs about is always 'on the go'; talks excessively.
  • Impulsivity: blurts out answers; cannot wait for his or her turn; interrupts others.
  • Inattention: poor attention to detail and makes careless mistakes; difficulty in sustaining attention; does not follow instructions; is easily distracted
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Learning styles and teaching styles

Describe what psychologists have found out about learning and teaching styles. [8]

learning styles and teaching styles: teaching styles: The onion model (Curry, 1983); Grasha’s (1996) six styles of learning. Teaching styles: formal and informal styles (Bennett, 1976); high-initiative and low-initiative (Fontana, 1995)

  • measuring learning styles and teaching styles: Learning: Approaches to study Inventory (ASI) (Entwistle, 1981). Teaching: teacher-centred and student-centred styles (Kyriacou and Williams, 1993); Kolb’s (1976) learning styles.
  • improving learning effectiveness (study skills): the 4-mat system (McCarthy, 1990); PQRST method: learning from textbooks; Strategies for effective learning and thinking (SPELT) Mulcahy et al (1986)
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Learning styles and teaching styles

We know that students have different learning styles and that teachers have different teaching styles, but there are different ways to measure these styles. Evaluate what psychologists have found out about learning and teaching styles including a discussion of the methods used to gather data. [12]

Evaluation of theory: Internal strengths and weaknesses.Theoretical issues: reductionism, determinism, ethnocentrism. Supporting/contradicting evidence. Comparisons and contrasts with alternative theory.

Evaluation of research: Strengths and weaknesses of methods, sample, controls, procedure. Evaluation of and comparisons and/or contrasts with alternative methodologies.

Evaluation of issues and debates: Any relevant debate can be raised, such as qualitative versus quantitative data, snapshot versus longitudinal studies, extent of ecological validity, nature versus nurture; freedom versus determinism; reductionism versus holism. Issues can be raised such as ethics, validity, ethnocentrism, effectiveness, application to real life.

Named issue: methods. One or more methods and their strengths or limitations in relation to teaching and learning styles. For example, most measures use a questionnaire to assess styles.

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Perspectives on learning Humanistic approach

Outline the main features of the humanistic approach to education. [6] 

For the humanistic approach (e.g. Rogers, 1951) every individual is the centre of a continually changing world of experience. Four features are at the heart: affect (emphasis on thinking and feeling, not just information acquisition); self concept (children to be positive about themselves); communication (attention to positive human relationships) and personal values (recognition and development of positive values).

  • Maslow (1970) advocates student-centred teaching where teachers are learning facilitators rather than didactic instructors.
  • Dennison (1969) advocates the open classroom.
  • Dunn & Griggs (1988) propose that each child has a personal and unique learning style and so traditional education should change radically providing a ‘staggering range of options’. 
  • Johnson et al (1984) believe students see education to be competitive when it should be co-operative, involving circles of knowledge, learning together and student team learning.
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Learning styles and teaching styles

Explain, in your own words, what is meant by the term ‘teaching style’. [2]

  • Way in which the teacher teaches.
  • An identifiable and related group of teaching activities.

Describe one way in which learning styles have been measured. [4]

Kolb’s ‘kite’ model. Myers-Briggs type indicators also a possibility.

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Motivation

Describe what psychologists have discovered about motivation and educational performance. [8]

  • Behaviourist: emphasises extrinsic praise and reward. Brophy (1981) lists guidelines for effective and ineffective praise.
  • Humanistic: emphasises intrinsic motivation. The theories of Maslow (1970) self-actualization, White (1959) competence motivation and Bandura (1981) self-efficacy are relevant.
  • Cognitive: attribution theory of Weiner (1974) is relevant as is Rotter’s locus of control.
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Motivation

Both cognitive and behaviourist perspectives have contributed to our understanding of motivation and educational performance. Use your knowledge of what psychologists have discovered about motivation and educational performance to discuss which of these perspectives has made the greatest contribution. [12]

• direct comparison between theories

• supporting and/or conflicting evidence

• whether the theory works in practice

• a mixture of these.

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Perspectives on learning cognitive bruner

Describe how one named cognitive theory helps to explain children’s learning. [6]

Bruner's discovering learning: when students are not represented with subject matter in its final form but rather are required to organize it themselves. This required learners to discover for themselves relationships that exist among items of information.

  • The role of teachers are not to impart leanring and knowledge to their students, but rather to offer guidance and support as learners discover for themselves.
  • Bruner proposed three modes of representation: this is the way in which information or knowledge are stored and encoded in memory.

1. Enactive - involves encoding action based information and storing it in our memory. 

2. Iconic - information is stored visually in the form of images. (mental picture).

3. Symbolic information is stored in the form of a code or symbol, such as language.

Spiral curriculum: involved information being structured so that complex ideas can be taught at a simplified level first, and then re-visited at more complex levels later on. Subjects would be taught at levels of gradually increasing difficultly. Improve problem-solving skills.

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Perspectives on learning cognitive Ausubel

Expository learning: The teacher is responsible to expose learning material meanigfully so that pupils may follow and understand the concepts taught.

Recption learning: learning is based on the representational, superordinate and combinatorial processes that occur during the reception of information.

  • A primary process in learning is subsumption in which new material is related to relevant ideas in the existing cognitive sturcture on a non-verbatim basis (previous knowledge).
  • Meangingful learing results when new information is acquired by linking the new information in the learner's own cognitive structure.

Derivative subsumption - relating new information to previously learned highly similar concepts. (e.g. owls are birds, therefore they can fly) 

Correlative subsumption - chnaging what is already known to allow it to relate to new information.

Advance organisers - presents an overview of the information that helps the student organise new incoming information.

Discriminability - highlight the differences between new material and pre-existing learning as well as emphasising the similarities.

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Perspectives on learning cognitive Vygotsky

Vygotsky's work centres on what he sees as the crucial role of culture and language in the development of human abilities.

He argues that enhancing someone's language skills enhances their ability to think and therefore their understanding of the world.

For the teacher then, the key to successful learning is providing learners with the language to deal with complex concepts.

The zone of proximal development (ZPD): difference between what a learner can achieve on their own and what they can achieve with help or instruction from a more experienced person.

  • A teacher has to be aware of each learner's ZPD in order to be able to offer the right support at the right time and in order to maximise leanring.
  • One way of achieving this is through the use of variety of assessment techniques that test the learners' understanding and ability.
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Disruptive behavior in school

Describe one corrective strategy for disruptive behaviour. [6]

Behaviour modification techniques (Presland, 1990): chnage or eliminate the disruptive behaviour and replace it with more appropriate desired behaviour.

1. Defining the problem, 2. Measuring the problem, 3. Determining antecedents and consequences, 4. Deciding whether and how to change antecedents and consequences, 5. Planning and implementing the intervention, 6. Following up.

Cognitive behaviour modification: attempts to address not only the maladaptive behaviour, but also the maladaptive cognitions that lead to the behaviour in the first place.

Self-instructional training (SIT): supports children in developing their understanding of what needs to be done to succees at a task whilst, at the same time encouraging them to pay more attention to what they are doing, to take their time and think about the next move they need to make.

1. Cognitive modelling, 2. Co-working, 3. Imitation, 4. Sub-vocal performance with lip movement, 5. Sub-vocal performance without lip movement

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Intelligence

Explain, in your own words, what is meant by ‘assessment of educational performance’. [2]

Standardised assessment (via testing or not) of some educational ability.

Types of psychometric test: E.g. Stanford-Binet's intelligence test, Wechsler Adult intelligence Scale/WAIS-R, WISC (test for children),

Stanford-Binet's intelligence test: to measured the IQ in children. It contains four scales; verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract visual reasoning, and short-term memory.

Welchsler Adult intelligence Scale/WAIS-R: intelligence test for adult aged 16-74 years. 

  • Verbal scale: information, comprehension, arithmetic, similarities, digit span, vocabulary.
  • Performance scale: picture completion, picture arrangement, block design, object assembly, digit symbol.

Welchsler intelligence scale for children (WISC) - test for children.

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Intelligence

Describe one type of performance assessment used in education. [3]

There are two areas of focus:

  • Firstly answers could look at performance assessments devised by schools, which could even be something as simple as an essay or mock examination. It may be more sophisticated, which is difficult because assessment may vary according to different countries. It may be that candidates can focus on national examinations such as (in England and Wales) SATs, GCSEs and GCEs or it may be they focus on tests used by psychologists as a diagnostic aid.
  • Secondly answers could focus on standardised psychometric tests. Such tests are used in education (more globally than schools) as the question asks. E.g. Stanford-Binet's intelligence test, Welchsler intelligence test
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Intelligence

Describe one strength and one weakness of psychometric tests. [6]

Strengths:

  • Standardisation - the process of establishing both norms for interpreting scores on a test and standard procedures for administering the tes.
  • Reliablility - the ability of a test to get nearly the same score when teh same people are tested and then retested on the same tests or an alternative for the test.
  • Validity - the ability of a test to measure what it is intended to measure.

Weaknesses:

it categorises a person and labels may then be attached to them; label children as 'feebleminded'.

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Perspectives on learning

Explain, in your own words, what is meant by the term ‘perspectives on learning’. [2]

A perspective is a ‘way of looking at the world’, so in this sense perspectives on learning and different ways of looking at education. Such ways/perspectives will be behaviourist, cognitivist and humanist.

Describe one way in which the humanistic approach has been applied in education. [3]

Maslow (1970) advocates student-centred teaching where teachers are learning facilitators rather than didactic instructors.Student-centred learning is focused on each student's needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles, placing the teacher as a facilitator of learning.


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Perspectives on learning

Describe one weakness of the cognitive approach and one weakness of the behaviourist approach to education. [6]

Weaknesses of the cognitve approach:

  • Discovery learning is too time-consuming. Expository learning may be better.
  • Discovery learning is affected by set (predisposition to learn in a particular way); need state (degree of arousal); mastery of specifics (amount and detail of learning); diversity of training (variety of conditions under which learning takes place).
  • reductionism. Underlying cause of human behaviour as being the way we process 'misprocess' or fail to process information.

Weaknesses of the behaviourist approach:

  • focuses only on observable behaviour
  • it does not take into account cognitive aspects or humanistic aspects.
  • reductionism. All human behaviour reference to relatively straightforward underlying principles and to that extent they take reductionist approach.
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Disruptive behavior in school

Describe what psychologists have learned about disruptive behaviour in schools. [8]

Behaviour that 

proves unacceptable to the teacher’ (Fontana, 1995) but right away there are problems.

Major types are:

  • conduct (e.g. distracting, attention-seeking, calling out, out-of-seat)
  • anxiety and withdrawal
  • immaturity and verbal and physical aggression; bullying.

Causes of disruptive behaviour: teacher lack of effective classroom management, neglect of children by their parents, feeling of insecurity.

Specific example: ADHD, ADD (e.g. restlessness, easily distracted, difficulity in sustained attention)

Corrective and preventive strategies for modifyingdisruptive behaviour.

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Disruptive behavior in school

Evaluate what psychologists have learned about disruptive behaviour in schools. [10]

  • problems with defining, categorising and types of problems
  • the methods used by psychologists to assess problem behaviour
  • ethical issues
  • the challenges a problem child presents for teachers and educators
  • methodology used to study problem behaviours.
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Disruptive behavior in school

Giving reasons for your answer, suggest how a teacher may prevent disruptive behaviour from happening. [6]

  • Preventive strategies: aim to stop disruptive behvaiours before they even start and can be developed at both the school and classroom level.
  • School level strategies: focus on the development and implementation of policies concerned with, e.g. clearly setting out discuplinary procedures and establishing links with the local community.
  • Classroom level: based around classroom management techniques and include the establishment of a clear set of rules of behaviour and ensuring students are aware of the teacher's expectations about their behaviour.
  • Corrective strategies: based on beahvioural and/or cognitive principles.
  • Behaviour modification techniques: to change or eliminate the disruptive behaviour and replace it with more appropriate, desireable behaviour.
  • Cognitive behavioural strategies: e.g. self-instructional training, attempt to change not only the behaviour, but also the thinking that accompanies it.
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Motivation

Explain, in your own words, what is meant by the term ‘attribution theory’ in education. [2]

Attribution theory applied to education is the way that individuals attribute their success or failure either to internal (ability, effort) or external (difficulty, luck) factors.

Attributions classified on three dimentions: 

  • Locus of control - individuals believe that they can control events that affect them.
  • Stability - concerned with the fluctuation or otherwise over time of the factors that affect our behaviour. E.g. luck is an unstable attribution, because luck can change from good to bad, but our ability to perform a certain task is more or less stable, after we have reached a certain level of skill.
  • Controllability - our perception of how much influence or control we have over those factors that affect our behaviour. E.g. you can control how much effort you put into revising, but you cannont control how diffcult or easy the exam papers are going to be.
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Motivation

Describe one type of motivation and one theory of motivation in education. [6]

Type: Intrinsic motivation (e.g. reward is learning a skill) and extrinsic motivation (e.g. external praise from a teacher).

Theory: Maslow's hierarchy needs,  self-efficacy, selffulfilling prophecy, locus of control, attribution theory.

  • Behaviourist: emphasise extrinsic praise and reward. Brophy (1981) lists guidelines for effective and ineffective praise.
  • Humanistic: emphasise intrinsic motivation. The theories of Maslow (1970) selfactualisation, White (1959) competence motivation and Bandura’s (1981) self-efficacy are relevant.
  • Cognitive: attribution theory of Weiner (1974) is relevant as is Rotter's locus of control. Other: McClelland (1953) achievement motivation and Birney (1969) motivated due to fear of failure.
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SEN

Describe what psychologists have discovered about special educational needs. [8]

One type may be children who are gifted; a second may be children at the other end of the scale who have learning difficulties or disabilities.SEN is where a child has asignificantly greater difficulty in learning than most children of the same age, or a child has a disability that needs different educational facilities from those that schools generally provide.

SEN includes any type of learning abnormality and most typically this would include autism, dyslexia (and related difficulties e.g. dyscalculia), ADHD or any other learning abnormality. The focus could be on the suggested causes of such abnormalities or could be on the problems a typical child may have in a classroom.

  • Dyslexia this accounts for 80% of all learning difficulties. Features: letter reversal or rotation – the letter 'd' may be shown as 'b' or 'p'; missing syllables – 'famel' for 'family'; problems keeping place when reading; problems pronouncing unfamiliar words.
  • Dyscalculia affects mathematical performance in around 1% of the population.

Special needs can include giftedness.

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SEN

Evaluate what psychologists have discovered about special educational needs. [10]

the strengths and weaknesses of psychological perspectives

  • the implications for teachers
  • whether theory applies in practice
  • comparing/contrasting differing approaches
  • the methods used to gather data
  • competing explanations
  • the implications for children.
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SEN

Evaluate what psychologists have discovered about special educational needs. [10]

the strengths and weaknesses of psychological perspectives

  • the implications for teachers
  • whether theory applies in practice
  • comparing/contrasting differing approaches
  • the methods used to gather data
  • competing explanations
  • the implications for children.
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SEN

Giving reasons for your answer, suggest how a specific learning difficulty can be assessed. [6]

Alternatively the classroom teacher may observe a difficulty. Solity and Raybould (1988) suggest that teachers adopt an assessment-through-teaching approach. They may then refer the child for more specialist help. In the UK a SENCO is the first stage, followed by assessment by an educational psychologist who may administer specific assessment tests.

  • Psychometric tests such as personality inventories, IQ tests, and self-esteem inventories.
  • Assessments for specific disorders such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, autism.
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Learning styles and teaching styles

Describe what psychologists have found out about teaching and learning styles. [8]

the way in which a child learns best – may be formal or may be via discovery; may be practically-based or reflective. Learning styles are for learners and teaching styles are the way in which teachers present material to be learned. Anything that could be considered a teaching approach or style is acceptable.

learning styles are determined by approach to, or perspective on, learning and so candidates could consider styles adopted if following a behaviourist or cognitivist or humanist approach.

  • Learning styles have direct implications for teaching styles. Possible styles include lecturing, discussing, reciting, dictating, questioning, guided discovery, peer tutoring, etc.Advantages and disadvantages of each are relevant.
  • An alternative is to consider Kolb’s (1976) learning styles whereby a preferred learning style can be identified through a learning kite. Four styles are possible: dynamic, imaginative, analytical and common-sense.
  • Curry’s onion model (1983): instructional preference, informational processing style and cognitive personality style.
  • Grasha’s (1996) six categories for learning: independent, dependent, competitive, collaborative, avoidant and participant.
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