The top 20 teaching and learning principles

 

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.

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