Course Number: EDU3110H
Department of Secondary Education
Professor: Dr. Claude Brodeur
General Purpose. The chief topic of study in this course is the psychology of learning and teaching as an interpersonal process. Related topics, to mention a few, are classroom management, interpersonal perception, student-teacher communication (including such subjective factors as gesture, facial expressions, tone of voice, classroom arrangement and other environmental influences), small and large group discussion, and cooperative learning.
Learning. By the idea of learning I mean any change that occurs in us as a result of experience. This includes how we use our minds and how we behave socially. Are social skills and moral values any less important than the development of mental ability and physical performance? Are some ways of interacting with students more positive than others, thus, perhaps enhancing our ability to reach out to our students while providing for them a learning environment that appears to them positive, supportive and caring?
Motivation. What interpersonal processes and environmental factors, if any, may affect a person's attitudes, including the very desire to learn itself? Are there personal traits or habits that are more likely to encourage students to learn or likely to promote good classroom management? Or do we sometimes by our own unconscious behavior unwittingly discourage students from learning from us and from each other?
Discipline. The objective here is to develop in students the social skills of cooperation and sharing and the ability to work with others positively and constructively. Often discipline is considered a matter of classroom management. In this course we shall want to examine discipline from the viewpoint of interpersonal dynamics.
Communication. My experience confirms the widespread belief that problems related to learning, motivation and discipline are not only affected by the teaching methods we choose but also as a consequence of the way we speak to each other, as well as when and how we choose as teachers to intervene at any given moment to help or correct. The messages we transmit through gesture, tone of voice and bodily posturing can be extremely important in the process of helping the student to learn.
A variety of approaches will be used. Some short lectures, large group discussion, small group discussion, videotapes, film, student-teacher presentations, cooperative learning, journal research, handouts, resource centre, problem-solving, to name a few.
Your final grade will be based on a TERM PROJECT, an OBSERVATION REPORT and a SELF-REFLECTION REPORT. These will cover one or more topics described in the introduction (learning, motivation, communication, discipline).
TERM PROJECT. I will be assisting you during class time to choose a Term Project. This project may take a variety of forms, such as a research report, an essay, a classroom lesson, a videotape, a lesson plan (with analysis from a psychological point of view), a handbook, a film strip, an audiotape analyzing teacher-student verbal interaction, etc. The Term Project will be due before the last class in April and will count for 50% of the final grade.
OBSERVATION REPORT. The Observation Report will consist simply of a description of an actual classroom situation that you observed or experienced. This report will include at least three questions that could be used for small group discussion. The Observation Report is due before the Christmas Recess and will count for 30% of the final grade.
SELF-REFLECTION REPORT. The Self-Reflection Report will be due no later than the last class in April. In this report you will report what you have learned during the year. I prefer the emphasis to be positive and to include what you have learned that has been helpful to you, and to reflect upon your experience this year and what you have done to help yourself to learn. You will be given written guidelines to assist you in completing this assignment at the appropriate time. The Self-Reflection Report will count for 20% of the final grade.
I am usually in my office except to attend meetings, which can be frequent and scheduled at unpredictable times. With your consent, I would prefer to see you by appointment. An office appointment may be made in class or by telephone. If I am unavailable when you call, the Department's Secretary, Rosa Mariotti, will be glad to schedule an appointment for you.