Archive forFebruary, 2017

Psychological and Social Factors of Learning

The way that we as humans develop and construct knowledge is very complex, but luckily some very smart psychologists have configured different theories to help explain it. Some of these psychologists include: Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, and many more. Their theories of brain development and learning are the basis of a lot of teaching practices used in and outside the classroom. The developmental theories that we discussed during Module 2 directly apply to teaching because in order to effectively teach a student, there are some things you must know about them prior to the learning taking place. The main factor of how learning differs from person to person is their age. One child who just started 1st grade is going to learn a whole lot differently than a child who is going into 6th grade. The reason for this is the different stages of Psychological development.


There are several different theories on what the stages of psychological development are. There’s Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial Development, Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, and many others. One problem with these theories is that they are general and don’t necessarily apply to everyone. Someone might be a young adult age, but are still stuck in the Identity vs. Role confusion stage, or there could be an 8 year old who hasn’t yet completed the pre-operational stage. These types of things should be kept in mind when applying these theories to your classroom teaching, not all students are at the same level.


Aside from the psychological factors of learning in a classroom, social factors also play a huge role in learning. Parents, friends, classmates, media, family, financial situation, class, race, all have an impact on a student’s ability to learn. According to another psychologist, Abraham Maslow, every human has a hierarchy of needs. This is shown in the figure below where you start at the bottom and you cannot move up until the needs below have been met. So how this applies to teaching is that, how can we expect a student to come to class ready to learn and do school work if they haven’t even met their three basic needs? For example, a student who comes from a poor family who can’t always afford to put food on the table goes to school hungry, their basic physiological need to eat has not been met, therefore they are unable to move up the ladder. Or say, a student who gets bullied at school and is constantly on edge does not have their need for safety met, therefore no quality learning can take place. These social factors should be taken into consideration just as much as the psychological ones when getting to know your students.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds.svgIn my own teaching career, I definitely plan to take these theories into consideration. Depending on the grade level I end up teaching I will consider my students’ cognitive development level along with their lives outside of school. If a student of mine is struggling or seems to be disconnected I will try to find out why before jumping to conclusions that they are unintelligent or lazy, because there is probably something else going on in their life or possibly some of their needs are not being met. Overall, many aspects go into giving and receiving a quality education and all should be carefully considered by the teacher in order to maximize the students’ learning.

Sources Cited:

6. (2014, October 08). Zone of Proximal Development. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

Erikson’s Theory and Career Development – IResearchNet. (2016, November 26). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

J. (2007, February 10). Conservation task. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

K. (2013, December 20). Piaget’s stages of cognitive development | Processing the Environment | MCAT | Khan Academy. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

M. (2011, March 25). A typical child on Piaget’s conservation tasks. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (2017, February 18). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from’s_hierarchy_of_needs


Teachers’ Role as Researchers

The relationship between teachers and researchers is very important in the field of education. It allows for new ideas to be experimentally designed and tested in order to determine what practices do and don’t work in a classroom setting. Although the job titles and training may be different for both researchers and teachers, I believe they can also be used interchangeably. In order for a teacher to be successful, they must be constantly thinking ahead and adapting their teaching practices along with the changing world. This means that teaching practices used even 5 years ago, may no longer be relevant to today’s society. For this reason, it is necessary for teachers to also be researchers.


There is so much easily accessible information out there, because of the technology we have, which can be both a good and a bad thing. It is good because we have all the information we could ever need right at our finger tips, but it can also be bad because it can be overwhelming to sort through and decide which sources are useful and relevant and which ones are not. Using information literacy to evaluate and select which research to use can help simplify the research process. What this means for my future career is that my education does not end once I graduate college, I must be constantly learning and researching throughout my entire teaching career to ensure I am using the most effective, up to date teaching practices.the-great-homework-debate1

Whether or not teachers should be assigning homework to their students is a controversial debate in the educational world. A lot of research has been conducted to determine the affectivity of homework and its correlation with academic achievement. In my opinion, the amount of homework that should be given and for which subjects varies from different grade levels, but for right now I am going to focus on my own topic and level on students that I intend to teach. So, do I believe that students of the middle and high school levels should be given math homework?, the short answer is yes. I do though, have a strong opinion on how homework should be assigned. From my own personal experience in school being the student that gave the smallest possible effort in order to just get by, I remember which homework I fully completed on time, which homework helped me review what I had learned in class, and which homework I believe increased my academic achievement. On the contrary, I also remember which homework felt like busy work, a waste of my time, and something that would not actually help me learn or retain information in the long run. This homework usually got tossed in the trash as soon as I got home, and if a student like me did that, I don’t doubt there are many other students who do the same. Due to this experience, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what constitutes effective homework.


Through some of the research I did, I found other articles supporting my thoery with scientific evidence backing them up. One article in particular titled: “Teachers’ Feedback on Homework, Homework-Related Behaviors, and Academic Achievement” discussed the importance of teachers giving feedback on homework in order to create effectiveness. I completely agree with this theory because without giving feedback 1.) the students have no incentive to even complete the homework, and 2.) the students won’t know which ones they did correctly/incorrectly therefore no learning or improvement can take place. Another article I read called “Homework Hysteria” collected research on how too much homework is not effective and can create stress in the household. For example, if a student has 5 classes and each teacher assigns about an hour of homework, that equals 5 hours of homework in just one night for that student! Along with extracurricular activities, this leaves little to no time for family, friends, and a good night sleep. Therefore, the homework that is assigned should be concise and not excessive.

Overall, research is a very important component in good teaching and should be used throughout one’s teaching career in order to continuously expand ideas and practices in the classroom. Purposeful research should be done through using information literacy in order to sort through and find the sources one actually needs and ensure they are accurate, scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. The research surrounding homework is important to consider when attempting to maximize academic achievement while still taking into consideration the students’ overall workload. All of the ideas I have discussed I plan to consider when beginning and throughout my whole teaching career.


Sources Cited:

(2007, December 10). Homework hysteria. Maclean’s. p. 2.

Culyer, R. O. (1996). Making homework work. Education Digest, 61(9), 52.

Goss, J. (2012, November 02). This is how I feel as I’m doing my research statistics homework tonite….Ahhhh is it August yet?! Retrieved February 05, 2017, from

Locke, J. Y., Kavanagh, D. J., & Campbell, M. A. (2016). Overparenting and homework: the student’s task, but everyone’s responsibility. Journal Of Psychologists & Counsellors In Schools, 26(1), 1-15. doi:10.1017/jgc.2015.29

Nunez, J.C., Suarez, N., Rosario, P., Vallejo, G., Cerezo, R., & Valle, A. (2015). Teachers’ feedback on homework, homework-related behaviors, and academic achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 108(3), 204-216. doi:10.1080/00220671.2013.878298

The great homework debate. (2015, March 17). Retrieved February 05, 2017, from

Turk Hij Den Biyol Derg. (n.d.). Retrieved February 05, 2017, from