7205.08 - Psychology for Teachers

Course number
Psychology for Teachers
This course is integrated with the course in pedagogy and general didactics (7213.09). The primary goal is to introduce students to selected aspects of the study of psychology. Students will gain a solid understanding of how children develop, learn, think, communicate and so on. This will prepare the students for their future vocation, when they (1) plan courses, (2) teach, (3) assess their work and (4) document educational approaches and results. In order to meet this goal, students must gain a clear understanding of the following: • What psychology is • What research fields are relevant to psychology • The character of psychology as an academic discipline • What research methods and approaches are central in the practice of psychology Students will gain a solid understanding of the following: • How children, from conception to adulthood, develop and mature • How environmental and genetic factors influence this development • How the brain develops, matures, changes and works, including how brain activity is a constant interplay between inherited cells and the everyday experiences of the child • How personality is shaped, how inherited factors (such as our inborn temperament) and environmental factors (such as parents, classmates, school and teachers) are at play in moulding us into the people we become • How perspectives on children have changed through time, and how this change has influenced pedagogical approaches in institutions and schools Students shall familiarise themselves with the following: • How children learn • What the relationship is between the concepts of teaching and learning • What ideas about teaching, teaching contexts, approaches to learning and ways of learning are currently being researched in the field of pedagogy • What the difference is between basic concepts such as learning, teaching, situated learning, memorisation, non-verbal learning and experiential learning • How can learning be evaluated (Is it possible to get accurate knowledge about what the student actually learns? Is it possible to measure learning, weighed and measured as if it was a bush or tree?) Students must be aware of the following: • The logic and applied ideas on which our educational system is built • How students’ attitudes, ways of thinking, self-awareness, self-confidence and well-being are influenced by a school’s environment, its character as a place to learn and work, its environment, traditions, habits, operational structure and social context • How habit and habitual ways of thinking often hinder innovation in education In addition, students should be informed of the following: • The pedagogical challenges children with special needs pose to the work of teachers • The most common diagnoses of school children with special needs. (e.g. retardation, autism / Asperger syndrome and ADHD) What are the symptoms, what unique problems and challenges are such students faced with in their education? To whom can one turn for help and guidance? What pedagogical tools may be of help? What are the future prospects of such students?
The course is in five parts. Each part focuses on a particular topic. The latter parts build upon the previous, and as the course progresses, the relationship between each part will be developed. Part one. We are going to explore psychology as a discipline and as science. Schools of psychology will be related to various scientific approaches, so that the student is made aware of the relationship between Positivism and Behaviourism, Marxism and Russian Psychology, Humanism / Phenomenology and Humanistic Psychology, Constructivism as a scientific perspective and Constructivism as a theory of learning, Constructivism / Poststructuralism and theories on language, power and discourse, and so on. In addition, we will explore various research methods in psychology. We will gain insight into (1) quantitative research (questionnaires and statistics), (2) qualitative research (interviews, observation) and (3) comparative research (e.g. the PISA test). Also, academic psychology will be compared to folk psychology, and the importance of scientific concepts (as validity, reliability and objectivity) in psychology will be considered. Part two. We will explore developmental and personality psychology. Among the many, a few theories will be considered, e.g. the theories of John Bowlby, Daniel Stern, Heinz Kohut (Jan Tønnesvang), Erik Erikson, Albert Bandura and Abraham Maslow. In addition, the most recent results from brain research will be considered. Part three. The students will engage themselves in learning and cognitive psychology. Various theories will be explained and analysed, e.g. the Russian psychology of Vygotsky, the cognitive learning theory of Jean Piaget, the operative Constructivism of Niklas Luhmann and the theory of Situated Cognition of Jean Lave and Etiénne Wenger. The students will also consider the concept of intelligence, which has been discussed in the field of education for many years. Howard Gardner’s theory, which has been highly esteemed in Scandinavia in recent years, will be compared to older theories on intelligence. Part four. Institutional psychology is an independent part of this course. Taking our bearings from R. P. McDermott’s ”The acquisition of a child by a learning disability,” we will make a discourse analysis of the school system. We will consider how the norms, rules, procedures, traditions and habits of schools influence the individual student. Part five. This part is on clinical psychology. Some of the issues students will be informed on are F70-F79: Mental retardation, F84: Autism / Asperger syndrome and F90-91: ADHD.
Assessment method
• The electronic logbook and the conference hours with the practicum advisor at Føroya læraraskúli have to be approved by the advisor, before the student is allowed to take the exam for the course. • After the practicum (27 April to 15 may 2009), the students will write an examination paper. • The paper is not in psychology, but is a joint project in two courses, psychology, and pedagogy and general didactics. • The paper is a group project. • Two to three students are in each group. • The assignment shall, in some way, be grounded in the practicum, and, if at all possible, the students who form a group for the practicum should stay in the same group for the examination paper. • The subject formulation for the examination paper is due on Friday, 20 March, at 14:00 (i.e. the Friday of week 12) • The paper, in five copies, is due on Monday, 8 June 2009, at 14:00 (i.e. the Monday of week 24). The five copies of the paper are to be turned into the office at Føroya læraraskúli. • The paper is to be defended orally in week 25. • The paper is defended by the group, not individually. • The grade is awarded individually (i.e. the examiner can, if appropriate, award different grades to the individual students of a group, although they have written and defended the paper as a group) • If a group consists of two students, the paper should be a maximum of 15 pages. (each page being 2400 characters) • If a group consists of three students, the paper should be a maximum of 20 pages. Both internal and external examiners will be employed. The grade will be based on the 13-point scale. When the paper is assessed and examined, the following will be considered: (1) How well do the students employ psychological, pedagogical and didactical theories and conceptualities in the way they develop and argue their hypothesis (2) How well do the students integrate the theoretical aspect of the course with the practicum (3) How well is the paper written and organised (4) Language usage, syntax and spelling (5) Use of scientific sources and literature, and use of the APA style guide