Model Project:Second Course Education 4112: Educational Psychology and Adolescent Development.

EDUC 4112: Educational Psychology and Adolescent Development (Maymester 2009)


Ben Kirshner, Assistant Professor            

Office: 215 (Education building)                

Phone: (303) 492 - 6112



9 – 12:15, M-F, May 11-May 29 (no class on May 25)




This course introduces you to theories of learning and adolescent development. In particular, you will deepen your understanding of learning environments that promote adolescents’ cognitive and socio-emotional development by spending time tutoring and observing in a community setting. Course “texts” will include empirical articles, theoretical articles, and your participatory observation of young people. The principal assignment for the course will be a paper about your service learning site.


Essential questions:

  • How can educational psychology help us better understand how to create effective learning environments?
  • How do adults and youth organize learning at your site?
  • What kinds of identities are youth encouraged to develop at your partner site?


Learning objectives:

  • Students understand what it means to adopt a sociocultural approach to learning;
  • Students apply theories of learning to real-world people and learning environments;
  • Students reflect on the relevance of course ideas and texts to their goals as educators;
  • Students learn how to take field notes and observe learning;
  • Students learn how to use wikis as learning tools in the classroom.


Course Virtues

  • Intellectual curiosity –Ask questions; try to figure out what’s going on in the readings; examine assumptions; think about things in new ways.
  • Effort– Try new or unfamiliar tasks; give careful thought to readings and writing assignments; proofread writing before turning it in.
  • Engagement in discussions –Listen and respond to other students’ ideas; participate in a joint endeavor to understand course topics; address your comments and questions to each other as well as the instructor; learn from each other.
  • Analytic thinking –Look for hidden assumptions in readings; compare and contrast perspectives; check theoretical ideas against your own experience; notice inconsistencies in arguments.


Performance Based Standards for Colorado Teachers

This course is designed to provide the psychological basis for educational learning and teaching practices for members of the secondary teacher education program and psychology majors interested in education. As such, this course meets* specific Colorado Department of Education (CDE)Performance-based Standards for Colorado Teachers, including:

  • Knowledge of Individualization of Instruction(Standard 6): The teacher is responsive to the needs and experiences children bring to the classroom, including those based on culture, community, ethnicity, economics, linguistics, and innate learning abilities. The teacher is knowledgeable about learning exceptionalities and conditions that affect the rate and extent of student learning, and is able to adapt instruction for all learners. This standard is met at Developing/Practicing level (D/P)


Assignments and Grading



Points (100 total)


Class participation

-    Engagement in class discussions

-    Facilitation of discussion about one reading


-    10

-    10



Participation at site (including punctuality)


Volunteer at your community site 2 times/week (total of 4 hours/week) for 3 weeks


Field notes (4 entries)



2 FN for Week 1

2 FN for Week 2

Posted by 10 pm to the wiki the day following your observation


Research paper and presentation

-    Research topic proposal

-    Introduction (draft)

-    Paper first draft


-    Final paper

-    Final presentation on research


-    Feedback/no grade

-    5

-    10


-    15

-    5


Wed., May 20*

Fri., May 22

Tues., May 26 (for peer review)

Fri., May 29

Fri., May 29

* Due by 9 am the day of class


Reflection paper


Fri., May 29 (in class)







Explanation of Assignments and Grading

  • Class participation(10 points):  You are expected to complete readings prior to class. The class participation grade is based on your participation in discussions about the readings, give feedback on peers’ work, and punctual attendance. We will often begin class with reflective prompts about the prior night’s readings.


  • Discussion facilitation(10 points): Students will work in pairs to facilitate activities or discussion about one reading. This task involves: 1) meeting with a colleague at least 2 days prior to class to design an activity around one reading; 2) email me your one-page written plan; 3) respond to my feedback; 4) facilitate the plan. There will be time in class to sign-up for an article that interests you.


  • Participation at community site(20 points): You will receive full credit for this assignment if you fulfill your agreement with your site. This agreement will oblige you to attend when you say you will attend, be punctual, be professional, and make your best effort to be helpful. (“Site agreement” to be handed out and discussed on second day of class).


  • Field notes(20 points, 3-4 pages): One of the best ways to learn about development is to spend time with youth, especially in a setting that is trying to teach or “develop” them in some way. You are expected to record four field note entries.My expectation is that by the end of this assignment, you will 1) improve your observation skills, 2) understand how development unfolds in real children’s lives, 3) learn how to relate your observations to findings from research articles, and 4) improve your writing skills. You will receive specific guidelines about how to record your field notes.


  • Research paper and presentation (35 points, 8 pages): The purpose of this paper is for you to analyze one aspect of the learning environment at your community site. Your analysis will synthesize field notes, class discussions, and readings. We will work together as a class to identify specific topics for these analyses. You may write this solo or with another student from the class. Guidelines for the research paper and the presentation, along with rubrics for evaluating these, will be handed out in class. The research presentation will be 10 minutes.


  • Service learning reflection paper – in class assignment(5 points, 1-2 pages): Students will write an in-class paper in which you reflect on the service learning experience. Questions to consider include: What kinds of service did you provide at your site? In what ways did service contribute to your learning? As a teacher, would you want to use service learning to promote learning? If so, which ideas would you take from this experience? This assignment will be completed on May 29.


Expectations regarding written work

Written work must be in Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins. Writing should observe APA guidelines (American Psychological Association, 5thEdition). This includes, for example, how references are cited (in the text and in reference section). The APA writing manual is available in the Education library.

It is important that you complete and turn in assignments on time because they are designed to build on one another and, in most cases, they will form the groundwork for our class discussions. Late assignments will be accepted only if you have received approval in advance.

Required readings

There is one required book:Adolescents at School(Edited by Michael Sadowski). It is available at the CU bookstore. All other readings will be posted electronically on CU Learn. You are expected to complete all readings prior to class and bring copies of readings to class.

Class attendance policy

As a professional expectation, you are requested to be present in class and to arrive on time.  Except for serious illness or a family emergency, my attendance policy goes as follows. 


               1st  unexcused absence –no impact on final grade

2ndunexcused absence –a deduction of a full grade from your final grade (e.g., From A to B, B to C, etc.)

                3rd         unexcused absence –you will receive a failing grade (“F”)


If you are absent, it isyourresponsibility to get in touch with me (or another student) before the next class to find out what you missed. Repeated lateness will lead to a grade reduction.


Reasonable accommodation


If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to me a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, and www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices


Religious Obligations

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. In this class, whenever possible, students should notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of the conflict to request special accommodation. The campus policy can be viewed at


Classroom behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, culture, religion, politics, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, and nationalities. See policies at and at


Discrimination and harassment

The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships apply to all students, staff and faculty. Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at





Readings should be completed prior to class meetings.Note that new readings may be substituted based on issues that emerge during class discussions. If so, this decision will be communicated at least two days in advance of the course meeting in question.



Monday, May 11              INTRODUCTION



Tuesday, May 12              ACTIVE LEARNING/CONSTRUCTIVISM (DP 5.4)


What does it mean to promote “the active mind?” in education? (Bickman)

What are typical cultural scripts for learning in the United States? (Stigler & Hiebert)



-          Bickman, “Reforming all the time”

-          Stigler & Hiebert, “Teaching is a cultural activity”




Wednesday, May 13       FUNDS OF KNOWLEDGE (DP: 6)


How do educators recognize and build on the strengths of learners?

What are funds of knowledge?



-          Horton, “Reading to vote” (pp. 96-112) (SKIP CHAPTER 8)

-          Amanti  et al., “Case study: Using students’ cultural resources in teaching”





What is intent participation? How is it different from other modes of instruction?



-          Rogoff et al., “Firsthand learning through intent participation”

-          Recommended: McLaughlin, “Community counts: How youth organizations matter for youth development”

Friday, May 12                   THE ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT


What are the stages of change in the zone of proximal development?

How is this theory relevant to teaching and tutoring?



-          Tharp and Gallimore, “A theory of teaching as assisted performance”



Monday, May 18              DEVELOPING EXPERTISE


What are the features of expertise? What is adaptive expertise?



-          Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, “How experts differ from novices”



Tuesday, May 19              MOTIVATION


What kinds of guidance promote intrinsic motivation?

How are mastery goals different from performance goals?



-          Ames, “Motivation: What teachers need to know”





What does it mean to organize a classroom that is culturally responsive?



-          Delpit, “The silenced dialogue”

-          Bailey & Pransky, “Are “other people’s children” constructivist learners too?”





Thursday, May 21            ADOLESCENT IDENTITY


What experiences and factors shape adolescent identity development?

How can educators support identity development?

(Note: these are guiding questions for the whole Sadowski book)



-          Sadowski (Ed.), Chapters:Prologue, 2 (p. 23-35, 47-50)

-          Whitehead, “Sag harbor”



Friday, May 22                   ADOLESCENT IDENTITY



-          Sadowski (Ed.), Chapter 3 (51-74)  


Monday, May 25             NO CLASS



Tuesday, May 26              ADOLESCENT IDENTITY



-          Sadowski (Ed.), Chapters 4 (85-94) & 6 (99-109)



Wednesday, May 27       ADOLESCENT IDENTITY (DP 6.3, 6.5, 6.7)



-          Sadowski (Ed.), Chapters 7  (117-133) & 9 (167-179)





How do educators bridge youth identities with academic engagement?


Readings (choose one)

-          Cammarota, “Social justice education project”

-          Morrell & Duncan-Andrade, “What they do learn in school”



Friday, May 29                   FINAL PRESENTATIONS AND REVIEW DAY