EDST 253: Educational Psychology

This course will focus on three major topics and how they relate to current educational policy debates. The first topic will be an examination of the fundamental purpose of school. We will discuss theoretical and empirical perspectives on why schools exist and ways in which school purpose varies by school type (e.g., public, private, charter) and location (e.g., by state and country). The second topic to be covered relates to the implementation of school mission. In this context, we will reflect on how theories of child development, student motivation, classroom management, and pedagogy inform instructional practice. Finally, the third major topic that will be covered is how to determine whether schools are achieving their stated goals. We will examine the appropriate (and inappropriate) uses of assessment for understanding whether students are learning, whether teachers are effective, and whether a school has a positive or negative climate.

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