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Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning

reviewed by Erin E. Peters-Burton & Jordan Goffena - April 06, 2018

coverTitle: Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning
Author(s): M Cecil Smith & Nancy Defrates-Densch (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1681233967, Pages: 460, Year: 2016
Search for book at Amazon.com

Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning, an edited book focused on the teaching and learning of key educational psychology topics, embraces the nexus between the science of psychology and the art of education that was a catalyst for the formation of educational psychology over a century ago. The authors of the chapters, all known for their excellence in teaching, carefully use principles of educational psychology to demonstrate strategies for teaching major topics in educational psychology using student-centered methods. These topics include learning theory, motivation, human development, research methods, statistics, and assessment. The book provides valuable information about teaching and learning in a succinct and organized format consisting of four sections pinpointing topics and the intended audience.

Educators value research-based practice as a foundation for effective instruction. As such, this book is geared toward the interests of three primary groups: teacher educators, professors who teach educational psychologists, and graduate students who wish to become members of the academic community in educational psychology. A primary aim of this book is to help professionals incorporate research from educational psychology into teacher education and educational psychology classrooms. Teacher educators will be most interested in Section One, which explains an assortment of methods for teaching learning theory, Section Two, which describes methods for teaching a variety of motivation theories, and Section Three, which is devoted to helping these teachers understand aspects of human development in order to create a classroom culture conducive to learning. In addition to the first three sections, professors who are responsible for educating the next generation of educational psychologists will be interested in Section Four, which is dedicated to the teaching of research methods, statistics, and assessment in an effective, student-centered manner. Graduate students will benefit from the strategies and methods provided throughout the book. It is not always guaranteed that graduate students will have an opportunity to teach classes within their program; to that end, this book serves as a guide for those on the journey to become professors. Further, this book would help any student who anticipates a career in education to learn about strategies and techniques for becoming an effective teacher through the process of applying educational psychology research to inform their teaching practices.

Section One focuses on methods of teaching theories of learning for educators who are preparing to teach a range of students. The concepts addressed in the chapters from Section One range from teaching specific learning theories to teaching across various learning theories. The authors in this section offer specific approaches for teaching by deconstructing the complexity of the theories down to their underlying principles. The authors also offer strategies for integrating seemingly disparate theories together, and encourage the use of models, beliefs, and personal interests to guide teaching and learning.

Section Two aims to help both teachers and educational psychologists in their use of motivational theories to teach motivation. This section identifies a breadth of motivational theories that can be effectively incorporated into the classroom. Student engagement and effort toward learning is positively related to academic performance, and this book demonstrates how educators can use this research to guide the teaching of the same theories. This section is useful for teacher educators as they will be able to better understand how to teach future teachers to effectively motivate students to learn academic content. Further, professors of educational psychology will learn how to provide real world examples to their students as they teach motivational theories.

Section Three includes chapters devoted to methods of teaching human development for future teachers. Typically, the one required human development course in teacher preparation programs is often a future teacher’s only exposure to how children develop over time, and the ideas explained in the book are important for optimizing this experience. Conversely, as the authors state in this section, educational psychologists gain valuable skills in recognizing student behavior, but not necessarily skills in designing and implementing learning environments. In response, each author offers their own unique way of connecting developmental science to practice in their description of the significance of the issues, challenges, and promising practices for teaching and learning human development. All of the methods offered in this section are clearly explained and tangible so that they may be easily implemented into courses.

Section Four tackles perhaps the most notorious of all courses for college students: statistics. In addressing promising ways to teach statistics, the authors examine the role of beliefs, attitudes, anxiety, and motivation of students in the chapters. Again, the authors deftly connect the relevant literature in educational psychology to teaching practices in order to prepare the next generation of educational psychologists. This section not only addresses concrete ways to create student-centered statistics classes, but also offers suggestions for improving the teaching of large scale data analysis, multilevel modeling, qualitative coding schemes, program evaluation, authentic research experiences, and assessment. This section is notable for its depth in offering promising teaching solutions for statistics courses and for the breadth of ideas for teaching topics necessary for the education of educational psychologists. The editors acknowledge that the volume does not address some critical issues in education such as technology, learner diversity, or teacher-student relationships. However, the inclusion of these topics might have made this book overwhelming.

Two themes can be identified throughout Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning that reflect the connection between theories and practice. Key teaching practices found throughout the book are supported with empirical evidence found in the field of educational psychology. Additionally, the use of themes or big ideas to connect traditionally disparate ideas, such as learning theory and motivation, emphasizes the multiple pathways through which educational psychologists approach the study of learning. Both themes help to demonstrate the significance of the application of research in educational psychology for educators. Challenges and Innovations in Educational Psychology Teaching and Learning offers the discussion of valuable issues, challenges, and promising teaching strategies for teacher educators; professors who teach learning theories, motivation, research methods, statistics, and assessment; as well as doctoral students learning to become educational psychologists. Anyone who reads this book will gather valuable tools for future teaching.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 06, 2018
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22327, Date Accessed: 1/22/2022 6:14:40 PM

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About the Author
  • Erin Peters-Burton
    George Mason University
    E-mail Author
    ERIN E. PETERS-BURTON is the Donna R. and David E. Sterling Endowed Professor in Science Education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Dr. Peters-Burton’s research interests are inspired by her strong commitment to social justice, and she pursues projects that help students who feel excluded in science classes become more aware of the scientific enterprise and how scientific knowledge is generated. She is interested in the nexus of the nature of science, self-regulated learning, science teacher pedagogical content knowledge, and educational psychology. Her recent publications include “Understanding inclusive STEM high schools as opportunity structures for underrepresented students: Critical components” in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, “Self-regulated learning microanalysis as a tool to inform professional development delivery in real-time” in Metacognition and Learning, and the MSTEM Road Map Curriculum Series published by National Science Teachers’ Association Press. She is currently working with high school science teachers to develop interventions for improving students’ self-regulation of learning for science practices, and on an NSF-funded project to develop logic models for successful STEM-focused elementary schools.
  • Jordan Goffena
    George Mason University
    E-mail Author
    JORDAN GOFFENA is currently a third-year Ph.D. student studying Educational Psychology at George Mason University. Jordan’s research interests are at the intersection between sport psychology and educational psychology, and focuses on applications of self-regulated learning, the role of autonomy-support in sport coaching, and teaching effectiveness and student learning in the sport psychology classroom. Jordan currently works as a graduate research assistant for Dr. Peters-Burton in the Center for Social Equity through Science Education at George Mason.
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