Learning Theory and Educational Psychology
The program provides candidates with opportunities and experiences to display an understanding of learning theories and factors influencing learning and teaching such as cognition, memory, attention skills, perceptual-sensory processes, emotional state, motivation, organizational skills, gender, cultural differences and linguistic differences. Candidates know how to evaluate the congruence between instructional strategies and pupil learning assets and deficits.
Candidates demonstrate knowledge about theories of learning and factors that influence learning, including the role of cognition, memory, attention skills, perceptual-sensory processes, emotional state, motivation, organizational skills, gender, cultural differences and linguistic differences, and the “fit” of the learning environment with the pupil. Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in the relevant courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of “Credit” for the field practicum. The specific content areas are listed and discussed below with the corresponding social work courses which address the area.
Understanding of theories of learning and factors influencing learning and teaching
S Wrk 212, Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach, identifies developmental considerations that organize learning needs, abilities and preferences. Major theories of learning such as classical and operant conditioning, social learning and cognitive behaviorism are addressed in Week 8.
Foundation knowledge of factors influencing learning is presented in both human behavior courses: S Wrk 212, and S Wrk 213. S Wrk 212 examines individual and family factors that can influence learning, including medical problems, attention and organization skills, learning disabilities, perceptual-sensory processes, memory, motivation and family dysfunction. S Wrk 212 also identifies group and organizational factors that impact teaching and learning such as school climate or inter-group conflict. S Wrk 213 addresses issues of culture and diversity and their impact on human behavior, including the learning process. Field instructed practice, S Wrk 280/281 and 282/283, provides candidates with the experience of applying theoretical models of learning in their work with clients, in the service of changing behavior and enhancing personal, social and occupational functioning. Both of the School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, present specific content on the identification of factors that influence teaching and academic success, such as a poor match between a student’s learning abilities and the classroom environment, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, poor nutrition, and language differences. For example, major learning theories are revisited in S Wrk 274 as the basis for ClassroomManagement.
Evaluate the congruence between instructional strategies and pupil learning assets and deficits
Evaluation of the congruency between instructional strategies and pupil learning assets and deficits is primarily a function of assessment. The theoretical underpinnings of assessment are learned in the foundation human behavior courses, S Wrk 212 and S Wrk 213. S Wrk 212 provides knowledge of the effects of emotional, intellectual, physical and social characteristics on functioning within major life activities such as learning performance for school-age clients. It also provides a framework for recognizing the significance of group activities in the lives of pupils, and the role of group activity in validating cultural factors for children. S Wrk 213, Diversity and Oppression, presents a framework based on social power that provides insight into understanding the experience of diverse pupils in dominant cultural settings. This course also identifies the importance of experiencing culturally validating environments.
The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221), provide the theoretical and practice foundation for conducting multi dimensional assessments from an ecological systems framework. This framework necessitates examination of factors such as language, ethnicity, poor nutrition, physical and emotional abuse, poverty and other social variables. As an example, see the S Wrk 221 Take-Home Assignment #4: The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) provides more detailed practice methodologies for conducting multi dimensional assessment. Class assignments include case presentations and written papers demonstrating thorough assessment of various systems level factors impacting functioning. The Seminar in Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations (S Wrk 246) presents a perspective for examining cultural sensitivity in organizational settings and methods for creating more culturally sensitive organizational settings. The School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, examine the school setting and provide knowledge and skill in the identification of factors within that environment that facilitate pupil’s growth and development as well as problems that interfere with pupil’s academic success. This examination includes consideration of cultural factors in the promotion of a positive, supportive learning environment.
Assessment of pupils in the school setting occurs as part of Advanced Field Instructed Practice, S Wrk 282/283. The PPS learning agreement addendum requires assignments in which Candidate demonstratesknowledge of learning theories and factors influencing learning.Such multi dimensional assessment includes examining the congruence of teaching strategies and student learning style, including learning assets as well as learning deficits such as poverty, attention deficits, and learning disabilities.