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Critical Educational Psychology

Stephen Vassallo

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Introducing students and scholars to the emerging field of critical educational psychology.

The field of critical studies recognizes that all knowledge is deeply embedded in ideological, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Although this approach is commonly applied in other subfields of psychology, educational psychology—which is the study of human learning, thinking, and behavior in formal and informal educational contexts—has resisted a comprehensive critical appraisal. In Critical Educational Psychology, Stephen Vassallo seeks to correct this deficit by demonstrating how the...

Introducing students and scholars to the emerging field of critical educational psychology.

The field of critical studies recognizes that all knowledge is deeply embedded in ideological, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Although this approach is commonly applied in other subfields of psychology, educational psychology—which is the study of human learning, thinking, and behavior in formal and informal educational contexts—has resisted a comprehensive critical appraisal. In Critical Educational Psychology, Stephen Vassallo seeks to correct this deficit by demonstrating how the psychology of learning is neither neutral nor value-free but rather bound by a host of contextual issues and assumptions.

Vassallo invites teachers and teacher educators, educational researchers, and educational psychologists to think broadly about the implications that their use of psychology has on the teaching and learning process. He applies a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches to examine the psychology of learning, cognitive development, motivation, creativity, discipline, and attention. Drawing on multiple perspectives within psychology and critical theory, he reveals that contemporary educational psychology is entangled in and underpinned by specific political, ideological, historical, and cultural contexts.

A valuable resource for anyone who relies on psychology to interact with, assess, and deliberate over others, especially school-aged children, Critical Educational Psychology resists neatly packaged theories, models, and perspectives that are intended to bring some basis and certainty to pedagogical decision-making. This book will enhance teachers’ ethical decision-making and start important new conversations about power and opportunity.

Reviews

Reviews

This stimulating, challenging analysis encourages readers to develop questions of their own... Students, teachers, and administrators should all discuss the questions Vassallo raises.

Stephen Vassallo's book is written for reflexive classroom teachers wanting to change the way they educate. It adeptly shows how psychology can be reconsidered to advance teaching and learning. A vital contribution to the field of educational psychology.

If you believe that what psychologists know about education is equivalent to what physicists know about gravity, Critical Educational Psychology is not for you. However, if, like many of us, you are uncertain, even confused, about what we know about student learning and motivation, the teaching of creativity and critical thinking, educational assessment, and classroom management, Vassallo’s book will reward your attention.

Vassallo has written a comprehensive critical engagement with educational psychology formulated from within, that reviews its key concerns and frameworks to show their limitations without rejecting either the theories or the practices they inspire. It offers students and practitioners not only a scholarly and clear analysis but also ways of applying those critical arguments as tools to change practice. This book is a rare and important contribution.

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Book Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Educational Psychology's Value for Teaching
A Critical Pause
Analyses in Educational Psychology
Engaging with the Analyses
1. Knowing Your Students
The Composition of Students
Way

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Educational Psychology's Value for Teaching
A Critical Pause
Analyses in Educational Psychology
Engaging with the Analyses
1. Knowing Your Students
The Composition of Students
Ways of Knowing Students
Know Thyself
Conclusion
2. Principles of Motivation
Background
Approaches to Motivating Students
Critical Analysis
Conclusion
3. Higher Order Thinking
Creativity
Self Regulated Learning
Critical Thinking
Problem Solving
Critically Engaging with Higher Order Thinking
4. Theories of Developmen
Background
Dominant Theories
Contemporary Theory
Critical Analysis
A New Starting Point
5. Teaching as Management
Two Orientations to Management
Ethical Management
Conclusion
6. Attention
Conceptualization
The Crisis of Attention
Critical Analysis
Conclusion
7. Assessment and Measurement
Background
Conceptualization
Types of Assessments and Measurements
The Ethics of Assessment and Measurement
Conclusion
Conclusion
References
Index

Author Bio
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Stephen Vassallo, Ph.D.

Stephen Vassallo is an associate professor of education at American University. He is the author of Self-Regulated Learning: An Application of Critical Educational Psychology.