P251 Educational Psychology 
for Elementary Students

Spring 2003, Section 5518

Class: Tue. 2:30 to 3:45, ED 1204 

Instructor: Sasha Barab, Ph.D., Education #2232

sbarab@indiana.edu, (812) 856-8462, http://inkido.indiana.edu/barab


Associate Instructor: Anna Arici, aarici@indiana.edu
Associate Instructor: Michael Thomas, micthoma@indiana.edu

A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops
(Henry Adams, 1907, great-grandson of John Adams)

The following sections are available:

Course Purpose / Course Overview / Resource Materials

Course Policies / Course Requirements / Portfolio Components

Quizzes and Exams / Schedule / INTASC Core Standards / M201 Syllabus

Course Purpose

This course acknowledges that teaching and learning are, and always have been, an integral aspect of human interaction. All people teach, all people learn. Individually and in collaborative groups, you will investigate the application of educational psychology principles to teaching and learning. You will develop a foundation of knowledge and experiences that will help you in making sound decisions as a professional in the field. In this class, you will learn about the cognitive, social, emotional, developmental, motivational, and contextual factors that impact teaching and learning.


These educational psychology concepts will be tied to classroom applications such as behavior management, teaching methods, testing, and motivating students. It is my belief that through a deep and critical understanding of educational psychology theory and how it relates to the practice of teaching you will become more aware of your students, the classroom, and how to best support their learning process. A central goal of this course is to bring together research and practice, arming you with theoretical and practical tools so that you can be a great teacher.


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Course Overview

Intro: The Professional (That’s You!)

  • Educational Psychology (Chp. 1)
  • Expert Teachers and Decision Making
  • Educational Psychology Research

Unit 1: The Kids

  • Cognitive and Linguistic Development (Chp. 2)
  • Personal, Social and Moral Development in Adolescents (Chp. 3)
  • Individual Differences; Gender Roles, Intelligence, and Learning Styles (Chp. 4)

Unit 2: The Theories

  • Behaviorist Theory of Learning (Chp. 9)
  • Cognitive Theory of Learning (Chp. 6 & 8)
  • Social Cognitive Theory of Learning (Chp. 10)
  • Situated Cognition Theory of Learning (TBA)

Unit 3: The Classroom

  • Motivating Students (Chp. 11 & 12)
  • Instructional Strategies (Chp. 13)
  • Classroom Management and Effective Environments (Chp. 14)
  • Assessment, Grading and Standardized Testing (Chp. 15 & 16)

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Resource Materials


Ormrod, J. E. (2003). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Jackson, D. L., & Ormrod, J. E., (1998). Case studies: Applying Educational Psychology. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.


Course Packet: Available at Collegiate Copies, 1434 E. Third Street, 339-3769.


Oncourse Website: http://oncourse.iu.edu (use your IU username/password, and follow link to P255(not M201).

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Course Policies

Equal Opportunity Classroom

No one will be discriminated against for any reason, including gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, language spoken, differing opinions, physical or mental differences, by the instructor or by any member of class. I believe collaboration is one of the greatest assets of learning and teaching. As professionals, we will be discussing a number of important, and sometimes delicate, issues in class. To maintain an open and non-threatening environment, everyone must teacher each person with respect and dignity.


Academic Integrity and Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct

As an educator, you will unfortunately have to deal with an occasional student that attempts to gain credit falsely through academic dishonesty. Naturally, you cannot permit deceitful practices, and in turn, I expect you to show integrity in all of your academic work as well. All university policies for academic honesty as stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin apply in this course. If you are unfamiliar with any of these, make yourself familiar with them immediately. In addition, all guidelines stated in the student code of rights, responsibilities and conduct will be expected and applied in this course. You may download the code t http://campuslife.inidiana.edu/Code.


Adaptations or Modifications

Please let me know within the first week if you require adaptations or modifications to any assignment, exam procedure, or due date because of special circumstances. I will gladly accommodate religious holidays, learning disabilities, or other appropriate needs if you let me know in advance.


Prepared and Alert Attendance

This class is driven by discussion, group work and cooperative learning activities, which means the attendance of each person is critical. Regular attendance and alert participation are expected by the School of Education as part of your requirements for graduation. You are allowed 4 unexcused class absences (two weeks of classes) during the semester to accommodate any problems that may arise. Any absences that have documented and warranted circumstances will not count against this total. If you are going to miss a class, please e-mail or call beforehand to make appropriate arrangements.



Due to the technical nature of this material, independent reading is a necessity to be prepared for our daily discussions and discussions of current educational topics. As you read, learn the “ed language,” generate questions, and form your own opinions. Teachers talk about these things during their prep hours (and in job interviews); you’ll be doing the same in our class. All of us have a responsibility to come to class prepared so we can dive into interesting and provocative discussions. See the course calendar for reading assignments and dates.


Contesting a Grade

If you wish to contest a grade, please see me an e-mail detailing your reasoning within 48 hours of receiving the grade. This will allow both of us to think, reflect, and discuss the matter without taking away class time from other students.


Late Work

All assignments must be sent to me electronically and are due by the start of that day’s class. Please be careful to get work in on time, as any late item will automatically lose 5% of the possible points for each day that it is late.


Is this the place for you?

This course emphasizes collaboration and discussion with your peers, intensive field work and reflection, and it requires several hours per week for reading and homework. Consequently, if you depend heavily on lectures, prefer to work alone, or do not have adequate time for reading and assignments or to commit to reflecting on field work, this may not be the class for you. Most students agree that this 5 credit course is not the class to take when your schedule is already tight with work, school and personal commitments.


Changes to the Syllabus

I reserve the right to change the syllabus as deemed necessary to ensure adequate student progress. Any changes will be made in class, based on student input and general class agreement.

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Course Requirements

Portfolio Components (see following pages for further description)


Philosophy of Education I                                             30 points

Philosophy of Education II                                            40 points

Praxis Reflection Paper                                                 60 points

Personal Choice Project                                               60 points

Professional Portfolio                                                    50 points

Resume (see M201)                                                     (P/F)

Letter of Introduction (see M201)                                 (P/F)

Field Experience Journal & Assignments (see M201)    (P/F)


Quizzes/Tests/Performance (see following pages for further description)


Quiz Sites (best 4 of 5)                                                 60 points (15 pts each)

Midterm Examination                                                  100 points

Final Examination                                                        100 points


General Grading Guidelines


A         Extraordinary high achievement; shows unusually complete command of the subject matter;

represents an exceptionally high degree of synthesis and application.

B          Very good, solid, above average quality of work; good synthesis and application.

C         Satisfactory quality of work; average level of synthesis and application.

D         Minimally acceptable performance.

F          Unacceptable work, does not meet objectives of course.


**Please note: In terms of requirements for the School of Education, you must achieve a minimum of C to “pass” this class and continue in the education program. A grad of C- or lower will result in having to retake the course and the lab.


Assessment Description

Instead of basing course grades solely on written tests or term papers, we will be creating portfolios over the duration of the semester. A portfolio is a collection of academic products designed to show growth, self-reflection, and achievement over time in a variety of assignments. The assignments are divers to allow room for group work, individualized projects, observations, reflections, and creative expression. I encourage your to develop and continue your portfolio, as it can serve as a powerful tool during job interviews as a concrete example of your capabilities.

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Portfolio Components

See M201 Lab Syllabus for the following Portfolio components:



Letter of Introduction

Observation Journal/Reflections


The following are the P255 Portfolio assignments:


Philosophy of Education Paper I (30 points)

This paper is designed to help you become a reflective thinker about yourself, your views, and your role as an educator. Drawing on your experience in secondary school, develop your thoughts about what matters most in teaching, learning and education. How should things be done and why? What are the goals of education in your opinion? How can you realistically achieve these goals and be an effective educator?

This paper should be a min. of 4 pp. in length, typed (no longer than 12 font), double spaced. (See grading criteria http://inkido.indiana.edu/syllabi/p251/grading_criteria.html web page for further guidance for all written products).


Philosophy of Education Paper II (40 points)

After a semester of experience and learning, you are now armed with powerful information and tools. Of course, how you incorporate Ed Psych tools into your teaching persona is entirely up to you. Take time to reflect on how your feel about the concepts you have learned thus far and how you will use them to be an effective educator. Reflect on why you want to teach, how you will teach and what you believe are the most essential elements of teaching, learning and education. Synthesize what you have learned about how students learn and develop, strategies for effective teaching, motivation, management, etc. Your personal philosophy should be supported by specific theories and concepts studied in this course.

This paper should be a min. of 5-6 pp. in length, typed (no longer than 12 font), double spaced. (See grading criteria http://inkido.indiana.edu/syllabi/p251/grading_criteria.html web page for further guidance for all written products).


Praxis Reflection Paper (60 points)

Describe four instances of “theory in action,” where you link actual classroom observations from your journal to the theories discussed in the text. You will probably observe all sorts of problematic situations while you are out in the field (or you may supplement these with your previous experiences in schools). Think of these instances as mini case studies. In this paper you should apply a theory or concept from the readings to your case studies. Analyze and critique how the teacher (which could be you) dealt with the situation and how else it could be handled. Support your opinion with research findings. Remember to keep the info anonymous. 6 pages.


Personal Choice Project (choose ONE of the five) (60 points)

This project is designed to allow you the flexibility to investigate an educational topic that is of particular interest to you. You may select from one of five project formats that you would enjoy in researching your topic. The goal here is to let you decide how you want to learn and express your progress, so be creative and enjoy.


1) Critic’s Corner

You may do any one of the following: read a series of 5-6 articles on a topic that interests you, or watch 3-4 movies related to teaching and learning, or analyze 4-6 poems or songs that have lyrics influenced by teaching or learning.

  • Whichever of the above you choose, write a 5 page paper that links these articles, movies, or lyrics to at least 3 chapters of our text. Think about this from the point of view of a newspaper critic, pointing out strengths and weaknesses in terms of application to educational settings. This should be written in newspaper column style with introductory and concluding paragraphs.


2) Coffee Talk

  • You are on your prep hour at school and you walk into the teacher’s lounge to discover Piaget, Vygotsky, Maslow, Skinner, and Erikson are there. You ask them about 3 specific classroom questions (e.g., examples involving discipline, motivation, learning, etc.). Write a paper tracing the conversation between each of these theorists in response to your questions. Be sure to accurately reflect the stance that each would take. 5 pages.


3) Hot Topic in Education

  • Educational journals often have entire issues dedicated to the discussion of one particularly hot topic in education. All the articles relate to the same issue, and the lead articles is written by a guest editor that introduces the topic and ties all the subsequent articles together. You are the guest editor of the next edition. Pick a topic and find 3-4 articles that debate an appropriate issue. Summarize, compare and contrast the articles and make reflective comments in a 4 page intro article. (attach the research articles)


4) Build a Better School

  • Better schools can be big business. The government gives grant money each year to educators and entrepreneurs that have new ideas for creating smarter schools. Identify some current issues and problems in the schools and generate some solutions. Develop your blueprint for a smart school (e.g., principles, goals, objectives, funding …) How is your school different and better? Who has the power? How will it be evaluated? Link your suggestions to information from the text or other resources. Feel free to develop a company name, budget, etc… 5 pages.


5) Creative Choice

  • You can also choose your own personal project. You get to be creative and make something that you think would be really cool. Maybe make a TV add about a new type of instruction or build a website. You could even make a movie. The important point is that you integrate theories from book and show how they can inform the practice of teaching and learning. First clear your project with the instructor before you begin.


Professional Portfolio (50 points)

The portfolio assignment provides me an authentic outcome measure with respect to your experience, and provides you with an authentic and integrated product that demonstrates your abilities to a future employer. In this way, the professional portfolio helps you prepare for professional job-hunting, and provides an opportunity for you to define your professional goals and package them to share with future employers. The portfolio is NOT supposed to be simply a record of the work you did in the course. DO NOT assemble your portfolio simply to document your course work. The portfolio is also NOT a document produced to a standard specification. It must be unique to you and your professional goals -- one of the primary measures of success for your portfolio is the degree to which it supports your statement of professional goals. (See the portfolio guidelines http://inkido.indiana.edu/syllabi/p251/portassign.html web page for further guidance).

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Quizzes and Exams

Oncourse Quizzes (60 points, 15 points each)

Oncourse is a website that allows us to communicate and work outside of class. IN addition to having class announcements and e-mail (separate from the Shakespeare system), it also allows you to take quizzes and get immediate feedback on the Web. One of the best features is that you can access it any time, and take your assigned quizzes from any computer that has WWW access. Instead of a larger in-class exam, you will be taking 4 smaller, incremental quizzes on Oncourse. (There are 5 quizzes, but you may drop the lowest score, or not take one.) These quizzes are spaced to each cover approximately two chapters. Open-book quiz taking is allowed and encouraged. My goal here is for you to complete your assigned text reading and use it as a resource to help solve problems. There is no reason you should not get an A on each quiz. IN fact, I have set up the Oncourse quizzes to allow you to retake each quiz until you achieve 100% mastery. I will demonstrate in class how the site works (it’s very basic) and after that you may take each quiz on your own schedule. To ensure that the class stays together on readings and quizzes, there is a deadline for taking each quiz. As of 1pm (classtime) on the due date, the individual quiz will be closed. Please be careful to not put off taking the quiz. If the deadline has passed and you have not taken it, it will count as your one score to be dropped.


Midterm and Final Examinations (100 points each)

There will be a midterm that covers the first half of the class, including assigned chapters of text, all class notes, student discussions, and activities. The final exam will subsequently cover the remaining chapters, notes and discussions from the second half of the course. The format will be a combination of multiple-choice, short-answer and essay questions. The goal is to assess your foundation of theoretical knowledge and your ability to apply it to educational scenarios. The essay questions will stress synthesis and application of what you have learned and require you to reflect on your own experiences and practices.

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Class Schedule

Class Dates
Due Dates/Tests/Guests
Read (Before Class)
Discussion Topics
Class Overview
Chp. 1
Educational Psychology,
Expert Teachers
Resume due (in lab)
Ed Psych Research,
Coping with Tragedy
letter of Introduction due (in lab)
Research Methods
Oncourse Quiz (chp 2-3)
Chp. 2
Vygotsky, Language
Chp. 3
Social Development
Moral Development
Oncourse Quiz (chp 4, 9)
Chp. 4
Intelligence, Learning Styles
Gender, Students at Risk
Philosophy of Education I due
Students at Risk
Chp. 9
Midterm Review (in lab)
Midterm Examination
Chp. 6
Cognitive Theory
Chp. 8
Memory, Higher-Level Thinking
Chp. 10
Social Cognitive / Situated Theory
Chp. 12
Spring Break
Spring Break
Spring Break
Spring Break
Spring Break
Spring Break
Oncourse Quiz (chp 11-12)
Chp. 12
Motivating Students
Motivating Students
Personal Choice Project due
Chp. 13
Instructional Strategies
Oncourse Quiz (chp 13-14)
Instructional Strategies
Chp. 14
Classroom Management
Classroom Management
Philosophy of Education II due
Chp. 15
Oncourse Quiz (chp 15-16)
Chp. 16
Classroom Assessment, Grading
Professional Portfolio due
Last of field observations forms submitted (in lab)
Praxis Reflection Due
Theory to Practice
Review for Final Exam
Final Exam (Thur, 10:15-12:15, Room 1204)
MC, Short Answer and Essay


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Indiana University School of Education Principles and INTASC Core Standards

The IU School of Education provides a core of six principles as a framework for the development of education classes. P251, Educational Psychology for Middle School Teachers, is organized around these principles which include: community, critical reflection, meaningful experience, intellectual/personal/professional growth, knowledge and multiple forms of understanding, and personalized learning. This course incorporates these principles in daily activities, assignments, field experiences, and discussions. More information and explanation can be found online at: http://education.indiana.edu/~tep/elemed/praxis.html


In addition, this course also 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: http://www.ccsso.org/intascst.html


P251 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: Over the course of P251, 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 for M101 includes the observation and analysis of teaching strategies used to promote extrinsic and/or intrinsic motivation. Finally, 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 ILF observational activity based on assessment in which they will create a rubric, grade student artifacts, and discuss their observations. Finally, students will participate in creating their final exam questions.

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Last updated January 1, 2003

URL: http://inkido.indiana.edu/P251
Address questions and comments to Sasha Barab