Identify and Explain a Current Institutional and/or Classroom Practice/Policy
This assignment has three parts A,B,and C. It should be linked to each other. Part A 2 pages. Part B 4 pages. Part C 4 pages.
We have studied about some theories such as, (Skinner-Radical Behaviorism),(Bandura’s theory) (Gagne- information processing) (Piaget, Montessori, and Dewey-constructivism theories)( Vygotsky-social constructivism). (Freire-critical theory ) (Reggio Emilia-constructivism theory)( Maslow- Humanism) (Rogers- Humanism)( Bruner’s theory).
SYNTHESIS PAPER PART A- Identify and Explain a Current Institutional and/or Classroom Practice/Policy Paper (20 pts)-approximately 2 pages.
Select a specific current institutional or classroom practice/policy that you want to work with this term. You will want to be specific. The topic of the paper is up to the student, and the possibilities are many. Students may choose to analyze a school or a school system; a federal, state, or local educational policy; a particular school policy or practice; the environment or practices of a particular classroom; or even a specific lesson or activity. For example, you might want to examine a school?s attendance policy, or a grading policy, or a teacher?s management or instructional plan.
The goals for PART A of the TERM PAPER are four-fold:
1. identify the practice or policy you will describe and work with this term as you begin to examine learning theories and see how they manifest themselves in a variety of ways,
2. explain what the policy or practice is,
3. identify the stakeholders the policy or practice impacts and explain how,
4. explain how this practice or policy relates to you.
Refer to the rubric presented in class & your Moodle class site.
SYNTHESIS PROJECT Part B-Examination of Learning Theories in the Current Institutional and/or Classroom Practices, 40 pts.
Students will employ the ideas and theories introduced in ED 611 to analyze a current institutional or classroom practice. The specific topic of the paper is up to the student, and the possibilities are many. Students may choose to analyze a school or a school system; a federal, state, or local educational policy; a particular school policy or practice; the environment or practices of a particular classroom; or even a specific lesson or activity.
For example, if your school has a strict policy around behavior and student conduct, you could examine the policy and explore the theoretical perspective best aligned with it describing how the policy came into being, how it is aligned (or not) with the theoretical perspective you’re writing about, the consequences of the policy, the effect of it… and so on. The goal is to think carefully about why we do the things we do in education and link them to major ideas from the field of educational psychology. Need another example? How about analyzing the workings of the No Child Left Behind act from the perspective of motivational theory, or classroom practices and relationships from a socio-cultural point of view, or of a particular lesson in light of what cognitive theory tells us about retention and transfer. There is lots of room to tackle something of personal interest, so do it!
Whatever the topic chosen, students will be expected to: Refer to rubric posted on Moodle.
? Include PART A REVISED (based on feedback and reflection; Writing Center for proofing making corrections before submitting on Moodle)
? provide an analysis and evaluation of it using one or more of the theoretical frames discussed in ED 611 (associationism, behaviorism, Deweyian theory, cognitive psychology, situative or social perspectives; your own research, readings, discussions, theory presentations),
o What theories manifest themselves in your selected practice or policy and what evidence do you have to support these beliefs?
? employ at least 3 scholarly sources (using APA format)-does not count in page requirements,
? craft a paper that is approximately 5 pages in length, double-spaced (not counting PART A).
The description should lay out the features and goals of the practice being examined. The interpretation piece should apply your chosen theoretical framework(s) to that practice, describing how the practice fits with, or does not fit with, the theoretical ideas you are employing. The evaluation piece should state your conclusions about the practice you have analyzed: based on your application of your chosen theoretical framework to your chosen practice, is the practice sound? Or is it not? Back up your conclusions with references from course material in APA format. Your essay should we well-written, organized, proofed, and fun for your instructor to read.
SYNTHESIS PROJECT Part C-ReDesign Paper ?(40 pts)-approximately 5 pages.
In this part of the SYNTHESIS PROJECT, you have the opportunity to redesign the practice or policy you have been working with this term using ideas from ED 611. Your design project should include the revised parts 1 & 2, and employ at least 3 scholarly sources. Remember to employ APA style for in-text citations, and for your references page.
? Prepare a 4 page essay that describes out your redesign with statements that support the benefits of each change for those who are impacted and how each change is linked to a learning theory.
? Include how the redesign impacts motivation for those involved and what intelligences are included and why. Illustrations and/or diagrams are permitted.
? Include the previous two parts revised.
Consider the following in your redesign of your ideal institutional or classroom practice or policy:
1. If Re-Designing a classroom practice or policy: Using theories and practices from ED 611, create your ideal classroom. Lay out the rules, policies, procedures, and management practices and priorities. Discuss environmental considerations, including room arrangement and seating, your goals in relating to your students, and your goals in terms of classroom atmosphere and students? treatment of one another. Describe your teaching style and pedagogical goals. Other details are welcome. You may also use this option to describe how you are incorporating theories and practices from ED 611 into your classroom right now.
2. If Re-Designing an institutional or school practice or policy: Using theories and practices from ED 611, create your ideal school. Describe the layout, administration, teaching loads and styles, and class sizes. Discuss the curriculum, discipline policies and management practices, of your school. Give some idea of the teaching and assessment practices you will promote. Share the overall goals and priorities of the school, and show how they are embodied in the practices you describe. Other details are welcome.
This an example of student’s work may help you to know more about my assignment.
Learning to Behave
A Review of Theory in Behavior Management Classroom Practice
Over the past year, I have worked at the Teaching Research Institute Child Development Center (TRI-CDC) as an assistant teacher. During this time, I have implemented and been witness to distinctive guidelines used to manage student behavior and interactions. The children I worked with at TRI-CDC ranged in age from thirty months to six years old. One may question the validity and practicality of using guidelines to manage the behavior of such young children; however, these procedures are essential to the learning that takes place in this environment. It is taken for granted that students must ?learn? to behave.
While the curriculum used to instruct students is play-based, the guidelines used by the teachers to manage the behaviors of students are rigid and purposeful. Furthermore, these guidelines are rooted in many educational psychology theories. More specifically, the behavior procedures share influences in behaviorism and Situative theory. With these philosophies in mind, the structure of classroom management allows students to be successful with acquiring positive behaviors and skills through operant conditioning and positive reinforcement; they are helped in their endeavors by learning experiences that create zones of proximal development, and learn in communities of practice. And while some may disagree with such practices or the theoretical underpinnings, these young students show great success and acquire many important skills that help them in all other aspects of their learning.
Features and Goals of Behavior Intervention Guidelines
The teachers and staff at the child development center are trained to implement Behavior Intervention Guidelines, otherwise known as ?BIG?. This form of behavior management was developed by TRI-CDC in order to ?consistently respond to common behaviors exhibited by young children? (Teaching Research Institute, 2010, p. 1). This system identifies three types of behaviors that are frequently expressed by young children: aggression, inappropriate attention seeking, and non-compliance (Teaching Research Institute, 2010, p. 2). There are actions to be taken for when such behaviors occur, as well as when the behaviors do not occur. An example of inappropriate attention seeking situation where the behavior did not occur, may be addressed as follows: A child approaches a teacher and expresses a need or want using a clear and confirmatory statement. The teacher would acknowledge this feat by responding with a statement such as ?I liked that you used your words to get my attention.? (Teaching Research Institute, 2010, p. 2). If the student were to approach the teacher and request something by whining, or is hard to understand because they are upset, the teacher may respond by saying ?I cannot understand you. When you calm down, I will listen to your words.? The BIG guidelines allow the child?s feelings to be valued, but reinforces a desired behavior. When social reinforcement fails, the teacher then is required to physically assist the child.
When children exhibit non-compliant behaviors, they are not persuaded or rewarded to act in an appropriate way. Rather, they are given choices (e.g., ?You may put away the crayons or the scissors.?) or they are given the option to be helped (e.g., ?You can put away the crayons you were using by yourself, or I will help you.?). The teacher has to be mindful of how old the student is and must be knowledgeable of where the student is in their development of early skills. For example, it would be counterproductive to ask or expect a three year old to clean up an entire area of toys by themselves. Therefore, one would give them a set number of items to put away so that they would be successful with the task, while ultimately reinforcing the desired behavior.
Many behaviors are reinforced through teacher guidance, but the goal is ultimately for students to have the language, experience, and skills to be able to direct and exhibit appropriate ways of behaving on their own. Most students learn very quickly how to mediate aggressive behaviors with such guidance. Students often need a lot of teacher direction and assistance when they first engage in aggressive behaviors, such as quarrelling over a toy, name calling, or hitting. Teachers will go as far as to dictate what students are to say to help them resolve a matter, while using a visual to reinforce the process of conflict resolution. With constant and consistent language, students are eventually able to mediate most situations on their own. However, most students remain reliant on the visual to help them to remember the steps.
Theoretical Framework of BIG
Behavior Intervention Guidelines were developed to assist young students in gaining many skills that facilitate and aid in learning. Moreover, through such practices, students become active and productive members in a learning environment. While student success is at the forefront of such guidelines, the theoretical underpinnings of such practices are equally as important to consider. Drawing from many areas of educational psychology, these guidelines align mainly with behaviorist and Situative theories and incorporate best practices and optimal learning environments.
As previously noted in many of the aforementioned examples of how BIG may be implemented into a classroom, behavior is mainly socially reinforced and only in extreme cases are students reinforced through physical contact. Furthermore, it is through aspects of operant conditioning that allows children to learn to behave through ?the natural consequences of [their] actions? (Heffner, 2001, Operant Condition section). Student?s responses are then strengthened by use of positive reinforcements. Whether it be an utterance that guides children actions, or physical assistance, some measure is taken to repeatedly affirm desired behaviors as to make such actions intuitive and expected.
There is much debate about the effects behaviorist approaches can have on children. Kohn (1993) brings to the forefront the many harmful effects rewards, praise, and the like can have on children and their learning. Even though this behavior management system is based in conditioning and reinforcement practices, it does so in a way that does not promote rewards. Kohn (1993) acknowledges the value of such behavior guidelines as he notes:
?More and more teachers and managers are coming to recognize that excellence is most likely to result from well-functioning teams in which resources are shared, skills and knowledge are exchanged, and each participant is encouraged and helped to do his or her best. (p. 54).
BIG is the result of teachers like those mentioned above, and the goals of the behavior management system are met in a similar fashion as those mentioned by Kohn. Furthermore, this type of management is successful in assuring that students eventually become intrinsically motivated to perform, behave, and function in the classroom.
Even though children are reinforced into desirable behavior, this is not done without consideration of learning and the development of new skills. Because BIG is used to teach students how to behave, teachers must guide students to the understanding and practice of such skills that they would not be able to achieve on their own. From the influences of Vygotsky, teachers consider the ?actual developmental level? of the students they are working with in order to provide corrective behavior actions that lead students to an understanding of good behavior (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 32). In this regards, those who follow such guidelines must adopt a cognitive scientist view of child development. Unlike Piaget?s discrete stages of learning, the young students of TRI-CDC are immersed in an environment that ?creates zones of proximal development; that is, learning awakens a variety of internal processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers? (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 35). Learning to behave is taught, just as any other piece of knowledge or skill. Doing so enables students to thrive in the social environments of school.
Learning to behave is so vital to the development of young students, because only when they are able to do so, can they engage in meaningful and successful learning endeavors with their peers. This makes social engagement a critical aspect of this practice, and is reflective of Smith?s (2009) idea of ?communities of practice?. With preschool aged students, and learning to behave as the frame of reference, there inevitably a great need for children and adults to work together to achieve learning. Smith (2009) notes that ?Rather than asking what kind of cognitive processes and conceptual structures are involved, [social participants] ask what kinds of social engagements provide the proper context for learning to take place? (Legitimate Peripheral Participation section). As language and social engagement are the vehicles through which learning to behave is achieved, it is clear that clear that the BIG are largely based in this theory.
Evaluation of BIG
Many of the theories included in this paper have mostly been studied and applied to learning, and learning is typically associated with skills like reading, adding and subtracting, and learning where to put the period in a sentence. However, when considering the education of such young students, learning to behave is just as important as the aforementioned skills. The guidelines to ensuring their success with this knowledge and skills, borrows from many theories in educational psychology. The behaviorist underpinnings of the behavioral guidelines allow for the transmission of desired behaviors. However, this feat is achieved without rewards and the detrimental effects thereof. And the expectations for student?s behavior are set high, but teachers know that that such young students can excel when offered assistance in critical points in their learning. By following the research of Vygotsky students and teachers, and older students and younger students, partner in their learning to achieve ?higher mental functions? (McLeod, 2007, Effects of Culture section). This interdependence of participants makes learning socially situated and engages students in a community of practice. It is through the blending of theories and blurring the psychological disciplines that a truly effective approach to managing student behavior has been created.
As previously mentioned I have not only watched BIG practiced in classrooms, but I have implemented the practices myself. These guidelines allow students to be successful with acquiring positive behaviors and skills through operant conditioning and positive reinforcement, they are helped in their endeavors by learning experiences that create zones of proximal development, and learn in communities of practice. With such strong theoretical backing, it is of no surprise at the results these procedures yield. With consistency, students as young as thirty months eventually are able to be work cooperatively with others, listen and follow directions, and engage in activities where they both teach and learn from their peers. With teacher guidance and direction, they learn to follow a routine and exhibit behaviors that are not only positive and desirable, but facilitate their learning.
Heffner, C.L. (2001). Psychology 101. AllPsych Online. Retrieved March 28, 2009 from: http://allpsych.com/psychology101/index.html
Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by rewards the trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A’s, praise, and other bribes. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Co..
McLeod, S.A. (2007). Simply Psychology. Retrieved March 28, 2008 from: http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
Smith, M.K. (2009). Communities of practice. The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved June 20, 2010 from http://www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm.
Teaching Research Institute. (2010). Behavior Interventions Guidelines Introduction [Fact Sheet]. Print.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). In Mind in Society. (Trans. M. Cole). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.