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Educational Psychology

Cem Balçıkanlı
Language Acquisition
2010 Spring
• Educational Psychology

• Approaches to Educational

• Positivist School

• Cognitive Psychology
• Education is something carried out by one person, a
teacher, standing in front of a class and transmitting
information to a group of learners who are willing and
able to absorb it.

• The successful educator is the one who understands

the complexities of the teaching/learning process and
can draw upon this knowledge to act in ways which
empower learners both within and beyond the
classroom situation.
Different psychological approaches

• Learning of vocabulary items - ??

• Learning of structures - ??

• Learning training - ??
Educational Psychology

An application of psychology to education by

focusing on the development, evaluation and
application of theories and principles of
learning and instruction that enhance lifelong
Education & Learning
• Learning is a part of the process of education.

• Educative- means giving a broader value and

meaning to the learner’s life.

• How about the learning activities you have

• Teachers should maintain a continuous
process of personal reflection, within which
they become aware of the personal and
cultural values and beliefs that underpin their
own and other people’s actions.

• Teachers can come to understand fully their

own implicit educational theories and the ways
in which such theories influence their
professional practices.
Approaches to Educational Psychology

• A number of changes and fashions in its

brief history

• An understanding of how theories emerge

and connect or conflict with each other
enable the teacher to evaluate their
respective contributions to language
The Positivist School
• They ignored the human mind in their attempts to
understand and predict human behavior.
• They rather sought to find the principles of human
learning by investigating the behaviour of animals under
defined conditions.

• Knowledge and facts exist within the real world and

can be discovered by setting up experiments in which
conditions are carefully controlled.



It is an approach to psychology that has its roots

within positivism and which has had a profound
influence on language teaching all over the world.

What do you know about Behaviourism?


They concentrated almost exclusively upon the

nature of the incoming stimuli and the way these
could be altered to provoke different kinds of
* The founder of modern behaviourism
* A system of principles to account for human behavior in
strictly observable terms.
* Learning is the result of environmental rather than genetic
* This theory explains learning in terms of operant
conditioning. i.e. An individual responds to a stimulus by
behaving in a particular way.
* If the behavior is reinforced (i.e. rewarded or punished),
the likelihood of that behavior occurring on a subsequent
occasion will be decreased or increased.
Four simple procedures

1- teachers should make explicitly clear what is to be

2- tasks should be broken down into small,
sequential steps
3- students should be encouraged to work at their
own pace by means of individualized learning
4- learning should be programmed by incorporating
the above procedures and providing immediate
positive reinforcement.
How about language learning/teaching?

* A powerful influence on the development of ALM.

* Language is seen as a behavior to be taught.
* Pattern drills, memorisation of dialogues, choral

• stimulus- language patterns.

• responds- students’ responds.
• reinforcement- grade.
Limitations- ALM
1- Learners are fairly passive ones.

2- There is little concern for what goes on inside the

learners’ heads.

3- There is little attention to the meaning that the

language conveys.

4- There is no room for the actual process of

interaction and negotiation of meanings.

5- There is no tolerance for making mistakes.

Even though it has certain limitations, why do
you think ALM dominated language teaching
around the world?
Brainwashing or Education?
Cognitive Psychology
• Concerned with the way in which the human mind
thinks and learns.

• The mental processes are of significance.

• How people build up and draw upon their

memories and the ways in which they become
involved in the process of learning.
Cognitive Psychology & Language

The learner is seen as an active participant

in the learning process, using various
mental strategies in order to sort out the
system of the language to be learned.
Approaches to CP
• The ways in which human thought has been
investigated have themselves varied considerably.

Information processing


Intelligence and Intelligence Testing

Information processing
• The way in which people take in information,
process it and act upon it.

• Attention, Perception and Memory are the focus of

the information processing.
• Models and scripts to account for the way in which
the human mind works.
• They claim to be able to predict the kind of mental
processes that will be necessary for effective
learning to take place.
Information processing

• Attention, where an information processing approach

has provided invaluable insights into the workings of
the human mind.

• Some learners have considerable difficulty in paying

attention to their work.
• Attention, a process of filtering out an overwhelming
range of incoming stimuli and selecting out only those
stimuli which are important for further processing.
• Attention, a cognitive resource which can be drawn
upon as a means of concentrating our mental efforts.
Information processing & Language Learning

The ability to select (ir)relevant information and

focus their attention on how this can be remembered
and used distinguishes efficient from inefficient

• This model describes the memory process in terms

of a sensory register where stimuli are initially
recorded for a brief amount of time before being
passed into short-term memory.
• Working memory refers to whatever one has in
mind at any particular time, which tends to be o a
short duration.
• It is necessary to find ways of breaking down
complex material into related chunks before
consigning these to the long-term memory.
Memory & Language Learning
• Vocabulary items & memorization.
• Mnemonic strategies…
• Linkword… (Gruneberg, 1987)
• Advance organisers…
* some kind of topical introduction to a lesson that
orientates learners to the subject matter and
relates new learning to what the learners already
Intelligence and Intelligence Testing
• What is intelligence? ???!!!!!!
• Some form of inborn, general ability which enables
some of us to learn better or faster than others.
• Intelligence is the main factor in predicting success or
failure in school.
• Psychometricians- to seek ways to measure the so-
called (general intelligence).
• Intelligence tests and their use for the purposes of
prediction or placement and diagnostic tools to explain
learning failure.
Intelligence and Intelligence Testing
• 1956- MLAT (Carroll and Sapon)
People possess a fixed amount of ability at language
learning and this ability can be measured.
• 1964- Intelligence A, B and C (Vernon)
A represents the intelligence with which we are born.
B refers to the intelligence we display in all aspects of our
every day lives which is continually changing and very much
C represents what is measured by IQ tests.
• 1983- Multiple Intelligences (Gardner)
At least seven intelligences are clearly identifiable.
Problem-solving oriented…
Intelligence- Language Learning
• We can help ALL learners become better at
language learning.

• We see everyone capable of succeeding, given

appropriate teaching.

• We can help learners to develop the strategies

needed to learn more effectively (through learner

• Learning how to think effectively is an issue to be



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