September 2015, Vol 46, No. 8
Print version: page 55
The APA-supported Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education has condensed the most important psychological science on PreK–12 teaching and learning into 20 principles:
Students' beliefs or perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functioning and learning.
What students already know affects their learning.
Students' cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development.
Learning is based on context, so generalizing learning to new contexts is not spontaneous but instead needs to be facilitated.
Acquiring long-term knowledge and skill is largely dependent on practice.
Clear, explanatory and timely feedback to students is important for learning.
Students' self-regulation assists learning, and self-regulatory skills can be taught.
Student creativity can be fostered.
Students tend to enjoy learning and perform better when they are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated to achieve.
Students persist in the face of challenging tasks and process information more deeply when they adopt mastery goals rather than performance goals.
Teachers' expectations about their students affect students' opportunities to learn, their motivation and their learning outcomes.
Setting goals that are short-term (proximal), specific and moderately challenging enhances motivation more than establishing goals that are long-term (distal), general and overly challenging.
Learning is situated within multiple social contexts.
Interpersonal relationships and communication are critical to both the teaching-learning process and the social-emotional development of students.
Emotional well-being influences educational performance, learning and development.
Expectations for classroom conduct and social interaction are learned and can be taught using proven principles of behavior and effective classroom instruction.
Effective classroom management is based on (a) setting and communicating high expectations, (b) consistently nurturing positive relationships and (c) providing a high level of student support.
Formative and summative assessments are both important and useful but require different approaches and interpretations.
Students' skills, knowledge and abilities are best measured with assessment processes grounded in psychological science with well-defined standards for quality and fairness.
Making sense of assessment data depends on clear, appropriate and fair interpretation.