A Narrative Assessment of the Subject Educational Psychology Essay

Abstract

This paper provides a narrative assessment of the course on educational psychology in the perception of the student. There is a discussion of the activites undertaken in class and how these teachings methods were able to help the student in studying the subject as well as the teaching course. Some of the key points discussed in class are also incorporated to better illustrate the learning experience.

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A Narrative Assessment of the Subject Educational Psychology

            Learning is fun! If I were to discuss Dr. Howard’s Education Psychology class, this would be the most appropriate description I could ever come up with. Dr. Howard is no ordinary professor, she is one of the best I had so far because she always had her focus on the students being active learners and not passive learners who would just absorb the information relayed by the teacher. She let her students engage in assignments and exciting classroom activities. As a prospective teacher, I intend to use these strategies to also promote active learning in the classroom.

            In-service as well as prospective teachers should always try to have hands on activities to help reinforce the subject taught. I really enjoyed the class activities performed in this course for they gave me a better understanding of the content of the lesson and a better grasp of the subject’s curriculum.

            The assignments given by Dr. Howard gave me rewarding experiences. I learned a lot from them not only as a student but as a future educator. The first assignment was a review of the textbook. This assignment although seemingly simple made me realize the essence of educational psychology in the teaching field. It made me appreciate the subject more and to value those lessons taught.

            The second assignment is a one page narrative discussing what kind of teachers we would like to become and the professional knowledge and skills that we would like to possess to become effective teachers.

            Through this assignment, I was able to picture myself as a teacher having the capacity to positively shape student’s perception of things and the ability to add the knowledge they possess. To be an effective teacher, like I pictured myself to be, there is a need for mastery and familiarity with the lesson. Without mastery and familiarity, the teacher will not be able to convey the necessary information which the students need to have a better grasp of the subject. Aside from these, the teacher will have difficulty answering the queries of eager and inquisitive students.

            A teacher should always attend class properly prepared—not only equipped with the knowledge needed for the subject but also with materials that would make learning interesting for both the teacher and the student.

            I also found the assignment requiring the students to comprehensively review the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards and its various components. This assignment helped me to understand better the required skills and knowledge that new teachers must master in order to become effective teachers. I am really grateful to Dr. Howard for allowing us to obtain a copy of the standards because I now know what is expected from me and how I will be able to deliver those expectations. As a prospective teacher, I will remain cognizant of the INTASC standards, enhance my abilities and try my best to execute all the criteria that the standards advocate.

            Aside from the assignments, I also found the part of the curriculum delving on motivation alluring. Although I enjoyed and learned a lot from the other chapters of the curriculum, I found the chapter on motivation as one of the best parts of the subject because it was through this part that I was able to find the most encouragement in pursuing my educational goals. As a student, I find myself to be intrinsically motivated. There are times when I feel a need for a reward for something I did or when I perform well on a test. The longing for this reward is where I find my motivation to study hard at times. Having personally experienced this kind of feeling, I think that there is a need for teachers to find continuous motivation for their students in learning. Providing motivation for students, especially the younger ones will help in uplifting their morale as well as in keeping their thirst for knowledge and new information running. This will also make learning easier for both the teacher and the student for without the motivation to learn, infusing new information will be a futile job for the teacher and gaining new knowledge will be a difficult task for the student—studying will be such a tedious job. Learning should always be viewed by the student positively or if not, should be served by the teacher like a sumptuous meal—filled with innovation and creativity.

            More often than not, a creative way of presenting the lessons will urge the students to participate and learn without even realizing it. A linear way of teaching will definitely bore the student and even lead them to day dream instead of listening to their history or math teacher but an innovative way of teaching, maximizing every resource there is in the classroom and encouraging the particpation of the students will force the students to study and have fun at the same time.

            This is exactly the reason why learning was fun with Dr. Howard’s class. She was not a linear type of teacher, instead she was the kind who would squeeze her creative juices to make her students learn and have fun at the same time. The desire to have fun keeps her students motivated to learn.

            As a future educator, I also want to keep my students’ motivation for learning alive thus, I will promote lively interaction between me and my future students and  formulate games where the students get to have fun and learn.

            Dr. Howard also employed varying techniques and methods to get her students  involved in the lecture; among these methods is the promotion of  a lively interaction in class. During these lively interactions, Dr. Howard would often let her students relate the lessons with the students’ personal experiences. She also employed charts, powerpoint presentations and transparencies in her lectures. The use of these innovations in teaching does not only provide for an avenue for her to maximize classroom facilities but also to make learning visually stimulating.

            There are certain lessons that are better appreciated when they are taught with the use of visual aids because the student is not left with his imagination—he is given a concrete picture of what the teacher is trying to convey. In teaching, it is necessary that the student and the teacher are able to understand each other and picture the same thing. There would be a failure of teaching if the teacher is not able to properly communicate to the student what he is trying to teach.

            Among the motivation styles that Dr. Howard employed in his class, the part where I got the most motivation was her lecture on Chapter 13. The lecture helped me to adjust my attitude and learn to effectively cope with my responsibilities both as a student and as an employee. It encouraged me to balance my time properly and have a positive outlook in school and work. If not for that encouraging lecture, it would have been very difficult for me to combine work and school this semester.

            Dr. Howard also gave interesting lectures on psychologists who helped shape the society. Jean Piaget was the first psychologist she discussed in class. Piaget is a cognitive constructivist who is well known for studying children. He formulated the theory of cognitive development where he introduced the four stages of child development: sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete stage and the formal stage. Another psychologist introduced in class was Lev Vygotsky. His academic work were influenced by the teachings of Piaget. Vygotsky is a social constructivist who focused on social interaction among students. He belived that children develop language through social interaction.

            Both Piaget and Vygotsky believe that a teacher should facilitate rather than direct his students. Students are better motivated to learn when they are not being bossed around or frightened  because in the process they are studying not on their own free will but on the dictates of other people. Learning to be effective should not be forced because in such case, the student will have a lower retention of the subject compared to when he is not forced.

            Every individual is unique on its own and being such, the interests vary and they must be respected. One cannot force someone who is interested in art to study in medicine otherwise, the student will only fail. Learning is not about commanding, it is about being able to explore one’s interests freely and creatively.

            Analyzing the theory of Piaget and Vygotsky, I find myself agreeing to their teachings because the role of a teacher is not merely to infuse knowledge to the students but most importantly to facilitate learning and let the students explore what they have to share to the world and develop on this.

            I enjoyed the assignment Dr. Howard gave on comparing and contrasting the teachings of the two psychologists. The assignment was challenging and I benefitted a great deal from learning the similarities and differences in their advocacies because they provide a good guide for the educator in formulating his teaching methods and styles. Although not all theories are correct, I think that if these theories are supported by research studies with postive result, there is a greater probability that the teaching style developed in consideration of the theory will be effective both for the student and the teacher.

            However, learning does not only revolve around the teacher and the student Dr. Howard said that learning may also be influenced by various circumstances such as social and socioeconomic factors. Those who fall in the lower social class have more tendency to have a limited learning because they would first prioritize their basic needs before their educational needs.

            They also have a limited access to books and other academic materials and have a different perception of things as compared to those who fall in the higher social class because of their differences in life experiences. More often than not, personal experiences in life play a big factor in a student’s education. In illustration, a rich student may be less motivated than a poor student because the former is complacent that his money will shape his future whereas the latter need to strive hard to be able to lift his social standing. As a future educator, I should bear this in mind to better understand my prospective students’ reaction and attitude towards learning.

            Dr. Howard also discussed the various behavioral approaches to learning, information processing, instructional planning and exceptional learners. The discussion of these topics aided me in studying the other courses that I was enrolled in.

            Another teaching style of Dr. Howard which I enjoyed is when she sits and gives a review of each test taken. This method provides the students the opportunity to see their mistakes first hand and have the answers carefully explained to them. Dr. Howard also gives her students the opportunity to actually defend their answers. By giving her students the chance to justify their answers, Dr. Howard shows her willlingness to listen to the student’s reasoning and is open to the possibility that some answers may not be limited in a framed perspective. Sometimes, correct answers may be determined on how one reasons out or presents his ideas. Dr. Howard’s method of review also reflects that learning is a give and take process—that students learn from the teacher and vice versa.

            Throughout my college years, it is only Dr. Howard who employed such kind of teaching style and I really appreciated it. The students learn a lot from that kind of style because the questions are directly answered and the manner of reasoning of the professor is also determined. Once the student knows how the professor would like her questions to be answered, it will be easier for the student to provide the answers desired by the professor. This is indeed a commendable method of learning and UVI should require the professors to adop it and employ in their classes, other universities should also try to incorporate it in their curriculum.

            I also enjoyed Dr. Howard’s interaction with classmates method wherein she allowed her students sit in a circle and discuss various topics. Even though the class was small, she said that she feels like she is teaching a class that was filled to its maximum capacity. In my own perception, I think that the reason she feels this way is because every student is able to share his ideas and expound on this, the other students on the other hand are also given the chance to provide their insights on the topic. It is an interesting way to learn because you share what you know and end up having more due to the insights gained from other people. Through this activity, I realized that there is a lot to learn in this world and one of the engaging ways to learn them is through interaction with other people. Their experience plus your experience creates a very good book.

            It is also nice that the class size was small otherwise, there would be lesser probability that the teacher can employ this kind of method.

            Moreover, the method gave the teacher the chance to personally assess the students on a deeper perspective. Having a good assessement of one’s students is necessary for the teacher to be able to adjust her methodologies and address the academic needs of the students.

            In addition to this, teachers should always keep the aura of approachability. It is important for students like me to have approchable teachers because I can always ask them questions without any inhibitions inside and outside the classroom. Dr. Howard exhibits this kind of attitude and I am glad that she does because I was able to clarify things to her freely and have a confortable learning experience in class. As a prospective teacher, I aim to possess these qualities to be able to freely interact with my students all the time. I believe that students learn more when they are given the opportunity to freely ask and they understand better when answers are carefully and fully explained to them. Teachers should always take this into consideration if they are really interested in seeing their students learn from the knowledge they impart.

            Overall, I found this class as interesting and informative. I found the positive and structured learning environment which Dr. Howard provided for her students as very beneficial to my learning.  The methods she employed in teaching were very rewarding and entertaining. Not only was I able to have fun with my classmates, I was also able to gain a deeper understanding of the subject and and the teaching course. I believe that Dr. Howard’s class has provided me the motivation I need to pursue my education course and become a successful teacher someday.

            As I move towards completing my degree, it is my aim and desire to incorporate the knowledge and skills I learned from the class of Dr. Howard into my everyday planning and instruction.

 

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