Unit 15:Psychology and The Teaching Focus

Welcome to Unit 15

The previous two units in this module have focused on firstly the child, and secondly the curriculum. Now we will shift the focus onto the teacher and HOW should children be taught. We are going to use just one theory to get you to think about your own approach and teaching style, especially related to all of the learning that should have occurred so far such as Child Development from Unit 1, and Child Centred Learning features from later units in Module 1.
Lets begin with a simple activity:


Look at the list of words or features on this list, some are physical features of a classroom, and some are psychological features. Think about the difference between them in terms of the learning environment that is created by the teacher and how you would look out for them if you went into a school to observe a lesson.


Constructivist Words


Now, as you think about this list watch this short video and note down how many of the features, physical and psychological, you can see in all of the images from the video:

The physical elements are quite easy to see, but you have to infer about the psychological ones. For example you can infer that:

  1. The children are collaborating with each other
  2. The teacher is engaging with them
  3. There are many opportunities for experiencing, discussing etc
  4. Child development stages are being met via the myriad of activities

If you look at the notes just below the video screen you can see that they refer to something called Constructivism.

The easiest way to learn about Constructivism is to watch another video about one of the simplest approaches to the subject. Essentially this shows that Constructivism is like a ladder with 6 rungs from “remembering” on the bottom rung, through “understanding” and up to “creating” on the top rung. Learning is therefore described as needing to pass through these 6 stages, where initially a child merely remembers facts and information, before progressing to understanding that information/facts, then being able to apply the information etc. The role of the teacher therefore becomes one of FACILITATING the child’s learning through these 6 stages, and it is very clear that “teacher centred learning” just doesn’t progress beyond the remembering stage and children are taught in a rote manner to be able to pass exams via replicating facts and information.

Take a look at the video now:

Focus on the 6 stages and think about your own teaching style or whether you have observed facilitation instead of lecturing in classrooms. Which one is it? You should now think back to some of the later units in Module 1 in which we described the observation of teachers using our Pedagogy Observation Tool to distinguish whether they are Teacher Centred or Child Centred. Look at it again now, can you understand it better after these videos?

Pedagogy Assessment

Now here is a final video to understand further the BENEFITS of using a child centred constructivist approach:


These four units on the basics of educational psychology are very difficult to teach/train via this type of medium. Our normal approach is to run this as a complete day in the training room with a group of 12 teachers split into two teams.They take part in discussions about what you have just read, answer questions from the trainer, before then spending two further days observing followed by practice of running a lesson which is a facilitation instead of a rote lecture. This is then REAL skill development, and we hope that you understand how we are limited within this unit. It is up to YOU to read more about Constructivism and Child Centred Learning before trying it out for yourself.