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EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

Topic 6:

Psychological Foundations of Curriculum

Definition: Psychology is concerned with the question of how people learn. Psychology provides a basis for understanding the teaching and learning process. Both processes are essential to curricularists because it is only when students learn and understanding curriculum and gain knowledge and power to use it that the curriculum has actual worth. Questions: Why do learners respond as they do to the efforts of the teachers? What are the impacts of cultural experiences on students learning? Who should curriculum is organized to enhance learning? What impact does the school culture have on students learning? What is the optimal level of student participation in learning the various contents of the curriculum? Ralph Tayler considered psychology to be a screen for helping determine what our objectives are and how our learning takes place? Jerome Bruner linked psychology with modes of thinking that underlie the methods employed in various bodies of knowledge comprising specific disciplines. Psychology is the unifying element of the learning process; it forms the basis for the methods, materials and activities of learning and it subsequently serves as the impetus for many curriculum decisions. There are three major groups in theories of learning. These are: 1. Behaviorist or association that deals with various aspects of stimulus-response and reinforces. 2. Cognitive-information processing theories, which view the learner in relationship to the total environment and consider the way the learner applies information 3. Phenomenological and humanistic which consider the whole child including his or her social, psychological, and cognitive development. The phenomenological aspects of learning deal with needs, attitudes, and feeling of the learner and entail more alternatives in learning. Edward Thorndike is considered the founder of behavioral psychology. He focused his work on testing the relationship between a stimulus and a response (classical conditioning). De defined learning as habit formation as connecting more and more habits into a complex structure. Knowledge resulted from the accumulation of these stimulus-response associations within this complex structure. Thorndike define teaching as arranging the classroom to enhance desirable connections and associations as bonds Thorndike developed three major laws of learning:

EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

1. The law of readiness when a conduction unit is ready to conduct, to do so is satisfying and not to do so is annoying 2. Law of exercise a connection is strengthened in proportion to the number of times it occurs, and in proportion to average intensity and duration 3. Responses accompanied by satisfaction are important for strengthening the connection Thorndike maintained that: 1. Behavior was influenced more likely by conditions of learning 2. Attitudes and abilities of learns could change (and improve) over time through proper stimuli 3. Instructional experiences could be designed and controlled 4. Important to select appropriate stimuli or learning experiences that were integrated and consistent reinforcement. Classical conditioning The classical conditioning theory of learning emphasizes that learning consists of eliciting a response by means of previously neutral or inadequate response. The classical conditioning experiment by Ivan Pavlov where the dog learned to salivate at the sound of bell. I.e. the dog reacted to the bell as he originally had to the food. James Watson used Pavlovs research as a foundation for building a new science of psychology i.e. emphasizing that learning was based on the science of behavior, what was observable or measurable, and not on cognitive processes. . The key to learning was to condition the child in the early years of life, based on the Pavlov method. Quote on Watsons saying give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed and my own specified world
to bring them up and Ill guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to be any type of specialist I might select a doctor, lawyer, artist and yes even into beggar man and thief, regardless of his talentsabilities, vocations and race Operant conditioning. Frederick Skinner distinguishes two kinds of responses when a response is elicited, the behaviorist termed respondent. When it is emitted, the behavior is termed as operant. I.e. no observable or measurable stimuli explain the appearance of the response. . A primary reinforce applies to any stimulus that helps satisfy a basic drive, such as for food, water or sex. A secondary reinforce is not governed by the primary reinforce they can however be converted into primary reinforces. Operant behavior will discontinue when it is not followed by reinforcement. Skinner classifies reinforces as positive or negative. Positive reinforce: Keep up the good work. A student receives positive reinforcement when a test paper is returned with a grade of A and noted with the message. Negative reinforce: Keep quiet! A teacher shouts to the class, and the student quiet down, the students sil ence reinforces the teachers shouting Skinner however believes both positive and negative reinforcement he totally rejects punishment because he feels it inhibits learning.

EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

Acquiring new operant Albert Bandura contributed extensively about how students learn through observation and modeling. He showed how aggressive behavior can be learned from viewing human adults acting aggressively in real situations as well as in films and cartoons. Thus, through a combination of reinforcing and sequencing desired responses, new behavior is shaped; this is what some people today refer to as behavior modification. Although behavior modification approaches vary according to the student and the behavior being sought they are widely used in conjunction with individualized-instructional techniques, programmed learning, and classroom management techniques. Student activities are specific, structured, paced reinforced, rewarded and frequently assessed in terms of learning outcomes or behaviors desired. Gagne describes five learning outcomes that can be observed and measured encompass all the domains of learning: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Intellectual skills Information Cognitive strategies Motor skills Attitudes. These five outcomes overlap with the three domains (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective) of the taxonomy of educational objectives.

Gagne states that learning intellectual skills require a different design of instructional events from those required for learning verbal information or from those required for learning motor skills etc. Behaviorism still experts a major impact on education. Although what influences learning differs for different students, curriculum specialists can adopt procedures to increase the likelihood that each student will find learning relevant and enjoyable. The behaviorists believe that the curriculum should be organized so students experience success in mastering the subject matter. For students who have difficulty learning, curriculum and instruction can be broken down into small units with appropriate sequencing of tasks and reinforcement of desired behavior. The contributions of behaviorists to both psychology and curriculum have been great during the twentieth century and it likely that behaviorists are aware that as we learn more about humans and their learning, we cannot adhere to rigid doctrines. Jean Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development Sensory motor stage (birth to age two). The child progresses from reflex operations and undifferentiated surrounding to complex sensory motor actions in relation to environmental patterns. The child comes to realize that objects have permanence; they can be found again. The child begins to establish simple relations between similar objects. Preoperational stage. In the stage objects and events begin to take on symbolic meaning. E.g. a chair is for seating, clothing is what we wear. The child shows an increased ability to learn more complex concepts from experience as long as familiar e.g. are provided from which to extract criteria that define the concept. Concrete operations stage. The child begins to organize data into logical relationships and gains facility in manipulating data in problem-solving situations. This learning situation occurs, however only if concrete objects are available or if actual past experiences can be drawn on. Formal operations stage. This stage is characterized by the development of formal and abstract operations. The adolescent is able to analyze ideas and comprehend spatial and temporal relationships.

EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

At this stage there are few or no limitations on what the adolescent can learn; leaning depends on his or her intellectual potential and environmental experiences. Piagets cognitive stages presuppose a maturation p rocess in the sense that development is a continuation and is based on previous growth. The mental operations are sequential and successive. Assimilation is the incorporation of new experiences into existing experiences; it represents a coordination of the childs experiences into his or her environment. The accommodation stage is where the childs existing cognitive structures are modified and adapted in response to his or her environment. Equilibration is the process of achieving balance between those things that were previously understood and those yet to be understood. Taylors three methods of organizing learning experiences are: o Continuity curriculum should possesses skills and concepts for them to be practiced o Sequence the curriculum should include pprogressive development of understanding and that each successive experience builds upon the preceding one. o Integration- refers to the relationships of curriculum experiences. Bruner considers the act of learning consists of three related processes: o Acquisition the grasping of new information; it mainly corresponds to assimilation o Transformation is the individuals capacity to process new information and to go beyond it. o Evaluation is the determination of whether information has been processed in a way that renders it appropriate for dealing with a particular task or problem. Lawrence Kohlberg outlines six developmental types of moral judgment grouped into three moral levels or stages: o Preconvention level. Children at this level have not yet developed a sense of right or wrong. o Conventional level. At this level, children are concerned about what other people think of them o Post conventional level. Childrens morality is based on what other people feel or on their precepts of authority. Vygotsky developed a theory on zone of proximal development defining it as the distance between the actual development al level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences. This are : o Verbal.lilnguistic o Logical mathematical o Visual/spatial o Bodily/kinesthetic o Musical/rhymathmic o Interpersonal o Intrapersonal o Naturalist R.M Felder and L.K. Silverman developed a set of categories on learning styles. These are: o How information is best perceived o The type of information preferentially perceived o How one prefers information to be organized o How information is processed o How one progress to understanding. Goleman developed emotional intelligence i.e. interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence. Constructivism the learner is the key player; the learner must participate in generating meaning or understanding. Problem solving and creative thinking- is based on inductive thinking, analytical procedures, and convergent processes. Creative thinking includes intuitiveness and discovery and divergent process. The need is to develop reflective-thinking , intuitive-thinking, and discovery thinking strategies that fit a wide variety of course and content situations Reflective thinking. Deweys concept of problem solving is his idea of the scientific method :

EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

Becoming aware of a difficulty Identifying the problem Assembling and classifying data and formulating hypotheses Accepting or rejecting the tentative hypotheses Formulating conclusion and evaluating them James Conant defines the problem solving approach as a series of 6 steps that can be used both by experiments and by layperson. These are Recognizing a problem and formulating objectives Collecting relevant information Formulating an hypothesis Deducing from the hypothesis Using tests by actual trial Depending on the outcome, accepting, modifying or discarding the hypothesis. Critical thinking and thinking skills are terms used to co-operate problem solving and related behaviors. The leaders of this proponents are Robert Ennis, Matthew lip man, and Robert Sternberg. The 13 attributes of critical thinkers are o Open minded o Take a position when the evidence calls for it o Take into account the entire situation o Seek information o Seek precision situation o Deal in an orderly manner of a complex whole o Look for options o Search for reasons o Seek a clear statement of the issue o Keep the original problem in the mind o Use credible sources o Remains relevant to the point o Exhibit sensitivity to the feelings and knowledge level of others Intuitive thinking is projected by Brumes where it stated that the good thinker not only has knowledge but also is a part of a process of discovery that is similar to the scholar-specialists engaging in hunches, playing with ideas and understanding relationships so that he or she can make discoveries or add to the storehouse of new knowledge. Discovery Learning. Bruner defined it as the learning that takes place when students are not presented with subject matter in its final for, when subject matter is not organized by the teacher but by the students themselves. Discovery is the formation of coding systems whereby students discover relationships that exist among the data presented. Maslow: Self-actualizing develop classic theory of human needs hierarchy. These are: o Survival needs o Safety needs o Love and belonging needs o Esteem needs o Knowing and understanding needs o Self actualization needs Motivation and achievement the humanistic approach to learning involves a certain amount of warmth, genuine, maturity, and a concern for people esp. children and youth. As educators, we need to support and nurture various learning opportunities for our students, we need to recognize several different domains of learning not only cognitive domains we need to provide rewards at least recognition for various forms and levels of achievement, including effort, improvement, imagination, intuition individuality, vitality, enthusiasm and maturity.

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EPB3063: CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY IN EDUCATION/SEPTEMBERY2012

Thus the psychology al foundation of curriculum will assist in learning more about complexities so that the curricularists can create educational programs that will nurture more advanced, more total, more complete human learning.