Education | Learning: Theory into Practice
P312 | 9775 | Erin Carr

Required Materials:

Slavin, R. E. (2003). Educational psychology: Theory and practice
(7th ed.).  Boston, MA; Allyn and Bacon.

Reserved reading assignments available through e-reserve.

Course Description & Objectives:

Welcome to P312! You are lucky to be a part of the first year of this
new class in the recently restructured Secondary Education Anchor
Program in Teacher Education at Indiana University.  P312 is one of
the two coordinated classes in the training program for secondary
teachers.  Together these courses are designed to provide you with
the latest scientific information about how people learn and develop
so that you can better understand your role in the educational
process.  In P312, we will focus on the topics of learning,
motivation and assessment to help us design effective learning
environments for our students.  In the corresponding course, P313
Adolescent Development in a Learning Community, you will learn about
the unique characteristics of adolescent learners that will need to
be taken into consideration as you work with your students.

This course is designed to provide you with the basic distinctions
and concepts necessary to apply various theories of learning,
motivation and assessment to the teaching and learning process.
These theories are tools that you can use to make your classrooms and
experiences of your students more productive and useful. This course
will introduce and illustrate the proper use of these tools in
providing insights into defining and solving problems of teaching and
learning.  The emphasis will always be on the use of these theories
to solve realistic and relevant problems drawn either from your own
personal experience or from cases we will study.

In this course you will be exposed to different learning theories
which explain how people learn, how people get motivated, and how
people should be assessed.  These theories are lenses by which
professionals in education make sense of what is going on in learning
environments. We are going to study these theories as tools and not
as absolute truth. Theories can be used for specific purposes
depending on the context of the learning process. Also, theories
carry with them a world-view; a conception of what it means to be
human, what it means to learn something, to teach something, to know
something, to be a person. It is important that we examine these
world-views so that we can better judge the appropriateness of using
a particular theory into our practice.

P312 is based on a set of core principles developed by the Interstate
New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), which is the
educational task force responsible for constructing model standards
for the licensing of new teachers.  These principles outline the
knowledge, dispositions, and performances deemed essential for
prospective teachers in all subject areas.  More information on the
principles and task force can be found at  This course will address five
principles by covering the topics of student development and learning
(Principles 2.1A and 2.1B), individual and group motivation and
behavior (Principles 5.1A and 5.1 B), and assessment strategies
(Principle 8.1A).  The assignments associated with these principles
are discussed later in the syllabus.

Like all other courses offered by the IU School of Education, this
course is developed within a framework of six major principles (for
more information: http://education.
Below is a brief description of ways in which this course reflects
these principles.

Community: Group building activities during the first week, as well
as class discussions and small group work through the semester will
be the basis for a creation of a community of learners within the
classroom.  The collegiality that will develop will be used to push
students into seeing themselves more as teachers and less as students.

Critical Reflection: Using original literature to facilitate critical
reflection on important issues relevant to educational psychology
will be commonplace in this course.  Several debates will be
organized between groups that highlight controversial issues in the
field of educational psychology. Examples of topics to be discussed
include: (1) should students be rewarded for learning? (2) What’s
wrong with memorizing? (3) Does television violence significantly
affect the behavior of children? (4) Can a zero-tolerance policy lead
to safer schools? Furthermore, daily reflections will promote
critical thinking on topics covered in readings and class discussions.

Intellectual, Personal & Professional Growth: Learning activities
that develop a variety of skills, assessment tools that develop both
lower and higher level thinking, and an overall emphasis on
application of knowledge will be the foundation for an intellectually
demanding classroom. Additionally, through various course
requirements, students will be pushed to develop their own philosophy
of learning and understanding that integrates their prior
experiences, personal opinions, and knowledge gained from this course.

Meaningful Experience: This component will be facilitated through
discussions and other activities that tie course content to the
students’ personal and professional lives and focus on the use of
information in future contexts.  Additionally, application of course
content will be required in your Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF)

Knowledge and Multiple Forms of Understanding: Multiple forms of
understanding will be encouraged in this class through the effective
use of numerous types of learning activities and assessments.
Students will leave this course well versed in learning theories with
a beginning understanding of the content in relation to their
teaching focus area. Additionally, integration of content area
knowledge will be accomplished through the use of examples are from
the various content areas.

Personalized Learning: Students will be allowed to choose the
specific topics associated with some assignments.

Course Expectations & Policies:

Attendance: Attendance is extremely important! The P312 participation
grade is based on your responses to the 5-minute reflections that
take place at the very beginning of each class. If you are not
present, you cannot get your points. You are allowed two “free” class
absences during the semester to accommodate any unforeseen problems
that may arise (“mental health” days, sickness, etc).  Remember to be
smart about it! Prolonged absence due to extraordinary circumstances
will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. In all cases of absence
documentation will be required (e.g., physician’s note in the case of
illness, etc.).  If you miss class is your responsibility to get the
notes for that day.

Readings & Discussion: Due to the technical nature of this material,
independent reading is necessary in order to be prepared for our
daily discussions.  As you read, learn the “edu-speak,” generate
questions, and form your own opinions. This type of “active” reading
will help prepare you for class so that we can dive into interesting
and provocative discussions.  See the course calendar for reading
assignments and dates.

Late Papers & Assignments: All written assignments must be submitted
at the beginning of class on the due date (whether you are present in
class or not)! Late assignments will lose 10% each day it is late.
You will be given a zero for missed quizzes, tests, and activities
unless in extraordinary circumstances and you have made arrangements
with me in ADVANCE.  If you are having a problem, please let me know—

Syllabus Changes: I reserve the right to make changes to the syllabus
as necessary.  I will try to keep changes to a minimum.  If changes
are made, I will notify you immediately.

Email Accounts: I use email a great deal to communicate to the class.
Please check your IU account regularly to receive updates and
information.  I check my email account many times a day and try to
respond to students promptly.

Oncourse: I will post all course assignments on Oncourse. If you need
an extra copy of anything, please go there first.

Inquiry Learning Forum: This course will make use of the virtual
field experience on the ILF.  You will be provided with training on
how to use this site. (

Honor Code: This course promotes academic honesty.  I expect you to
show integrity and honesty in all of your academic work.  You are
responsible for abiding by all policies and regulations regarding
academic and personal conduct as stated in the Code of Student
Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct
( Students who are caught
cheating or plagiarizing will receive a zero for the assignment and
may fail the course.

Students with Disabilities: If you have a visual, auditory, physical,
&/or learning disability, accommodations can be made for you if you
contact me and present documentation indicating qualification for
services from the Office of Disabled Students Services.  Contact the
Office or Disabled Student Services for eligibility requirements.

Respect for Diversity: Our classroom will be a place where diversity
is accepted and valued.  The differences between class members will
be embraced. Language that degrades and individual or group because
of gender, ethnicity, nationality, race, socioeconomic status,
religious preference, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.

Writing Tutorial Services:  For obvious reasons, future teachers
should be concerned about proper spelling and grammar. Please
thoroughly edit your papers before you turn them in.  I will provide
you with a list of “grammar hints” that should be closely followed.
If you want help improving your writing skills, please visit Writing
Tutorial Services, 206 Ballantine Hall (855-6739,  They are extremely helpful (and
free!).  Of course, I am always happy to help as well.

Grading Procedures:

Your grade in this course will be based on your performance on a
variety of tasks:

5-minute Reflection 100 (10%)
Personal Theory of Learning and Understanding  150 (15%)
Hot Topic Project 140 (14%)
(2) Theory Application Papers 120 (12%)
Unit 1 Examination 100 (10%)
Movie Analysis	150 (15%)
Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF) Video Case Analysis 120 (12%)
Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF) Lesson Redesign 120 (12%)

The maximum number of points is 1,000.  Grades will be based on the
total point accumulation as follows:
A+ = 970-1000 (97-100%)	
A = 930-960 (93-96%)	
A- = 900-920 (90-92%)	
B+ = 870-890 (87-89%)	
B = 830-860 (83-86%)	
B- = 800-820 (80-82%)
C+ = 770-790 (77-79%)	
C = 730-760 (73-76%)	
C- = 700-720 (70-72%)
D+ = 670-690 (67-69%) 	
D = 630-660 (63-66%)	
D- = 600-620 (60-62%)
F = 590 & Below (59%)

Please note: It is a requirement of the School of Education that you
achieve a minimum of C to “pass” this class and continue in the
teacher education program. A grade of C- or lower will result in
having to retake the course and the lab.

Course Assignments/Requirements:

P312 is divided into three units, each of which centers on a guiding

Unit 1: What are learning theories and how can they help us?
Unit 2: How are students motivated?
Unit 3: What is “understanding” and how do we assess it?

5-minute Reflection (100 points total):
This is your informal opportunity to tell me what you think about the
various topics we will be covering in class and will be used to
determine your participation grade. When you arrive for class, you
will see an interesting quote or question on the overhead. For the
first few minutes of class, you may write on this topic or any other
educational psychology topic you wish.  When you are finished, put
your reflection on my desk.  I will read and comment on your
reflection before the next class period.  I will not be “grading”
these per se; if you give a thoughtful response, you will get full
credit.  These reflections take place during the first 5 minutes of
class.  Therefore, if you are late, you cannot make them up.  This
kind of informal journaling serves many purposes: It is a great way
for you to figure out what you really think about the topics we will
be discussing in class, it solidifies your understanding of our
course material, and it lets you communicate with me. (You may write
questions or concerns on your reflection as well.) Also, your
reflections will help me get to know you better! You will want to
keep your reflections; they might prove helpful to you as the course
progresses. Please keep them organized in a binder or folder. (An in-
class activity will address INTASC principle 8.1A).

Personal Theory of Learning and Understanding (150 points):
You will turn in a two-page essay titled “My Personal Theory of
Learning and Understanding” on the third day of class. You will
rewrite and extend this paper for your final paper. This may seem
like an odd assignment (Why is she making us write a paper so early?
We haven’t even discussed any of these topics yet!) The reasons for
this assignment will be clear by the end of the semester. Most
students find it particularly enlightening (Paper will address INTASC
principle 2.1B, 5.1BA, 5.1B, 8.1A).

Hot Topic Project (140 points): Students will work in teams of
approximately 4 people to research and debate one side of a hot
topic, a current issue relevant to educational psychology.  The
project consists of two components: a five-page group paper and class
debate.  Please see additional handout for more information.

(2) Theory Application Papers (60 points each):
During the first part of the semester, you will be asked to write a
two-page paper on two of the theories we discuss (behaviorism, social
learning theory, Vygotsky’s social cognitive theory, cognitive
information processing theory, and constructivism). These assignments
serve two purposes: First, they provide an opportunity to explore how
you might use each learning theory in your own classroom. (Why are we
learning all this stuff, anyway?) Second, these short papers will
also help hone your writing skills so that you will do well on the
bigger papers that come during the second half of the semester.
(Papers will address INTASC principle 2.1B).

Unit 1 Exam (100 points):
This exam will cover behaviorism, social learning theory, Vygotsky,
cognitive information processing theory and constructivism (Exam will
address INTASC principle 2.1B).

Movie Analysis: (150 points):
For Unit 2 you will analyze the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer in
terms of the motivation theories discussed in class. (Movie analysis
will address INTASC principle 5.1BA, 5.1B).

Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF) Video Case Analysis: (120 points):
Towards the end of the semester you will complete a case analysis
using a video of an actual classroom from the Inquiry Learning Forum.
This assignment will help you hone your observation skills as you
develop into a true connoisseur of educational practice. (ILF video
analysis will address INTASC principle 8.1A).

Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF) Lesson Redesign: (120 points):
For your final project, you will be collaborating with three of your
classmates to produce a new instructional design for one of the
lessons you viewed on the ILF. Your group will have to meet outside
of class. However, you will also be able to work on this project
during class time. Group work can be challenging, but there are lots
of safeguards in place to reduce your stress level. (Lesson redesign
will address INTASC principle 8.1A).

TENTATIVE Schedule: Class Topics, Readings, and Assignments:


Tuesday 1/13	Introduction to Course and its Importance	No

Thursday 1/15	Introduction to One Another	No Reading 	

Tuesday 1/20  	What makes a good teacher?
Introduction to Research Designs	Slavin Ch. 1
	DUE: Personal Theory of Learning and Understanding

Thursday 1/22	Research Designs Continued
Why are you here?	Reserve Reading: (Whitbeck: Born to Be a
Teacher: What Am I Doing in a College of Education?)	Bring in
Favorite QUOTE

Tuesday1/27	Learning from speculation to science
What is Learning?
Theories as lens and tools	Reserve Reading: (National Research
Council: Learning from Speculation to Science)	

Thursday1/29	Behavioral Learning Theory	Slavin pp. 137-159
Tuesday  2/3	Behavioral Learning Theory	Slavin pp.159-169
Thursday 2/5	Social Learning Theory	Reserve Reading: (Smith: The
Theory Heard ‘Round the World)	

Tuesday   2/10	Vygotsky’s Social Cognitive Theory	Reserve
Reading (Omrod pp. 36-42 &
Driscoll: Vygotsky: The Social Formation of the Mind)	

Thursday 2/12	DEBATE	No reading	DUE DATE for Behaviorism or
Social Learning Theory application paper

Tuesday   2/17	Cognitive Information Processing	Slavin pp.

Thursday 2/19	Cognitive Information Processing	Slavin pp.
194-217	DUE DATE for Vygotsky application paper

Tuesday   2/24	Cognitive Information Processing /
Meaningful Learning and Schema Theory	Reserve Reading: (Driscoll:
Meaningful Learning as Assimilation to Schema) 	

Thursday 2/26	Constructivism	Reserve Reading:
(Rogers: A Sixth-Grade Teacher Experiments) & Slavin Ch. 8	

Tuesday 3/2	DEBATE	 No Reading	DUE DATE for Cognitive
Information Processing application paper

Thursday 3/4	Catch-up & Review	No Reading 	DUE DATE for
Constructivism application paper

Tuesday 3/9	MIDTERM EXAM	Study for Exam!	



Thursday 3/11	Motivation	Slavin Ch. 10	



Tuesday 3/23	DEBATE	No Reading	

Thursday 3/25	Motivation	Reserve Reading: (Sylwester & Dweck:
Caution! Praise can be Dangerous) 	TENTATIVE (!)

ILF video case analysis

Tuesday 3/30	Effective Learning Environments	Slavin pp. 365-378
Reserve Reading: (NRC: The Design of Learning Environments)	

Thursday 4/1	Classroom Management	Slavin pp. 378-405
Movie analysis

Tuesday 4/6	Classroom Management	Reserve Reading TBA	

Thursday 4/8	DEBATE	No reading	



Tuesday 4/13 	Transfer and Learning	Reserve Reading: (NRC:
Learning and Transfer)	

Thursday 4/15	Preparing for Instruction	Slavin Ch. 7	

Tuesday 4/20	Assessing Student Learning	Slavin Ch. 13	

Tuesday 4/22	Standardized Tests/Assessments	Slavin Ch. 14
ILF lesson redesign

Tuesday 4/27	DEBATE	No reading	

Thursday 4/29 	Pulling it together
LAST CLASS	No reading	DUE: Final Paper