Introduction to Educational Psychology

Type of instruction


Part of degree program
Typically offered in

Autumn/spring semester

Course description

Aim of the course:
….is to describe the process of education as a socialization process equally emphasizing parentchild
and teacher-student relationships, and in line with ecological approaches provide
description of interactions among processes at society, family and educational institution levels,
so as students can identify the processes described in theories as they surface in the applied field.
As a part of discussing educational models, psychological theories and their impact on teaching
methods, the organizational aspects of educational institutions and on peer-relations among
students are also be identified so that students will be able to identify possible causes of problem
situations. To heighten awareness of social norms and standards of behavior towards persons
with special needs the course will emphasize the identification of individual differences among
students (special needs, exceptional children) and the different models of service provision and
their impact on student wellbeing. To heighten awareness regarding historical roots of the science
and the social embeddedness of psychological processes, the organizational aspects of
educational institutions will be analyzed, their role in primary prevention (evidence based efficient
models) and their effect on student learning outcomes, including traditional and student-centered
approaches, as well as the evolution of school psychological services, present trends and future
challenges will be discussed.

Learning outcome, competences

  • knows the most important expressions and phenomena of social psychology (social cognition, attitude organization, cognitive styles, individual and social systems of views, social behavior, helping and aggressive behavior, social roles, social identity) and the fundamental texts and contexts of the development of European identity;
  • has appropriate knowledge in the main fields of analysis and interpretation of the typical research questions of psychology;


  • is sensitive to and interested in noticing psychological phenomena and problems;
  • his/her behavior in human relationships is ethical and humane;
  • when using his/her knowledge, s/he is empathic, tolerant, flexible, and creative;


  • is able to interpret psychological phenomena and knows the historical rootedness of psychology as science;
  • is able to see causal relationships, can think logically, and can prepare comprehensive reviews;
  • can perceive human behavior distinctly and can recognize situations efficiently;

Content of the course
Topics of the course

  • Ecological systems and the family (Ecological perspectives of child rearing: basic processes of socialization; Life-cycle of the family, family dysfunctions; Parenting styles and their correlates in different cultural contexts)
  • Individual differences (Students’ cognitive and temperament styles as a basis of individual differences; Socialization of children with special education needs; Meeting special education needs in schools: models of service provision; Specific learning disabilities: dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and ADHD; Giftedness and talent: identification, types and models of service provision)
  • Key processes in schools (Normative crises in schools: transition planning & social-emotional learning; Learning and motivation)
  • Schools as organizations (School as an organization – school climate & values; Teacher vs. student centered classrooms; Helping professions in schools– school psychology: an international perspective)

Compulsory reading list
Choose at least four articles for each main topic!

Ecological systems and the family

 Kagitcibasi, C. (2002). A Model of Family Change in Cultural Context. Online Readings in
Psychology and Culture, 6(3).
 Trommsdorff, G. (2002). An Eco-Cultural and Interpersonal Relations Approach to
Development over the Life Span. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture,
 Super, C.M. & Harkness, S (1994) The Developmental Niche. In Lonner. W. J. and Malpass,
R. S. (Eds.)(1994). Psychology and culture. (95-100) Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and
 Harkness, S. & Super, C.M.(wd) Themes and Variations: Parental Ethnotheories in Western
Cultures. In Rubin, K. Chung, E.B. (Ed.), Parental beliefs, parenting, and child development in crosscultural
perspective. (61-81) New York: Psychology Press.
 Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994) Ecological models of human development. In International
Encyclopedia of Education, Vol.3. (2nd Edition) Oxford: Elsevier.
 Bronfenbrenner, U. and Evans, G., W. (2000) Developmental Science in the 21st Century:
Emerging Questions, Theoretical Models, Research Designs and Empirical Findings. Social
Development, 9(1), 115–125. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9507.00114
 Spagnola, M & Fiese, B.H. (2007) Family routines and rituals. Infants and Young Children, 20
(4), 284-299.
 Rohner, R. P., & Khaleque, A. (2002). Parental Acceptance-Rejection and Life-Span
Development: A Universalist Perspective. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture,
 Schwarz, B., Mayer, B., Trommsdorff, G., Ben-Arieh, A., Friedlmeier, M., Lubiewska,
K., Mishra, R. and Peltzer, K. (2012) "Does the Importance of Parent and Peer Relationships
for Adolescents’ Life Satisfaction Vary Across Cultures? Peer Reviewed Articles. Paper 41.
 Hedegaard, M.(2009)Children’s Development from a Cultural–Historical Approach:
Children’s Activity in Everyday Local Settings as Foundation for Their Development. Mind,
Culture, and Activity, 16, 64–81. DOI: 10.1080/10749030802477374
 Ou, S.R., and Reynolds, A.J. (2008) Predictors of Educational Attainment in the Chicago
Longitudinal Study. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(2), 199–229.

Individual differences

 Montgomery, M.S. and Groat, L.N. (n.d) Student learning styles and their implications for
learning. The Centre for Research on Learning and Teaching. Occasional papers No. 10.
 Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D. and Bjorl, R. (2009) Learning styles: Concepts and
evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9 (3), 105-119.
 Hassall, R., Rose, J. & McDonald, J. (2005) Parenting stress in mothers of children with an
intellectual disability: the effects of parental cognitions in relation to child characteristics and
family support. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 49 (6), 405-418. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-
2788.2005.00673.x URL:
 Eisenhower, A.S., Baker, B.L. and J. Blacher, J. (2005) Preschool Children with Intellectual
Disability: Syndrome Specificity, Behaviour Problems, and Maternal Well-Being. Journal of
Intellectual Disability Research, 49 (9), 657-671.
 Thomas, S.B. and Dykes, F. (2011) Promoting Successful Transitions: What Can We Learn
From RTI to Enhance Outcomes for All Students? Preventing School Failure, 55(1), 1–9. DOI:
 Reynolds, C.R. and Shaywitz, S.E. (2009) Response to Intervention: Ready or Not? Or, From
Wait-to-Fail to Watch-Them-Fail. School Psychology Quarterly, 24( 2), 130–145.
 Karande, S. (2012) Quality of Life in Children Diagnosed with Specific Learning Disability
or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In D. Petersen and D. Hollar (Eds.) Handbook
of children with special health care needs.(73-87) New York, NY: Springer
 Rubinsten, O., Henik, A. (2009). Developmental Dyscalculia: heterogeneity might not mean
differentmechanisms. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(2) 92-99.
 Rimm, S. (2008) Underachievement Syndrome: A Psychological Defensive Pattern. In S.
Pfeiffer (Ed.) Handbook of giftedness in children. (139-161) New York, NY: Springer
 Scott Barry Kaufman, S.B. and Sternberg, R.J. (2008) Conceptions of giftedness. In S. Pfeiffer
(Ed.) Handbook of giftedness in children. (71-93) New York, NY: Springer
 Li, H., Lee, D., Pfeiffer, S.I., Kamata, A., Kumtepe, A.T., and Rosado, J. (2009)
Measurement Invariance of the Gifted Rating Scales—School Form Across Five Cultural
Groups. School Psychology Quarterly, 24 (3), 186–198.

Key processes in schools

 Carter, E.W., Trainor, A.A., Sun, Y. and Owens, L. (2009) Assessing the Transition-Related
Strengths and Needs of Adolescents With High-Incidence Disabilities. Exceptional Children,
76(1), 74-94.
 Kellems, R.O. and Morningstar, M.E. (2010) Tips for Transition. Teaching Exceptional Children,
 Malka, A. and Covington, M.V. (2005) Perceiving school performance as instrumental to
future goal attainment: Effects on graded performance. Contemporary Educational
Psychology, 30,60–80.
 Gullone, E., Hughes,K. E., King, J.N., Tonge, B. (2010). The normative development of
emotion regulation strategy use in children and adolescents: a 2-year follow-up study. Journal
of School Psychology, 51 (5), 567-574.
 Fried, L. (2010). Understanding and enhancing emotion and motivation regulation strategy
use in the classroom. The International Journal of Learning. 17 (6), 127-139.
Schools as organizations
 Anthony L. Hemmelgarn, Charles Glisson, Lawrence R. James (2006). Organizational culture
and climate: Implications for services and interventions research. Clinical Psychology: Science and
Practice, 13 (1),73-89.
 Hattie, J. (2005). The paradox of reducing class size and improving learning outcomes.
International Journal of Educational Research 43, 387–425.
 Koth, C.W., Bradshaw, C.P. & Leaf, P.J. (2008). A multilevel study of predictors of student
perceptions of school climate: The effect of classroom-level factors. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 100 (1), 96–104.
 Elovainio , M., Pietikäinen, M., Luopa, P., Kivimäki, M., Ferrie, J.E., Jokela, J., Sakari
Suominen, S., Vahtera, J. & Marianna Virtanen, M. (2011). Organizational justice at school
and its with pupils’ psychosocial school environment, health, and wellbeing. Social Science &
Medicine, 73, 1675-1682.
 Garrett, T. (2008) Student-Centered and Teacher-Centered Classroom Management: A Case
Study of Three Elementary Teachers. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 43(1), 34-47.
 Doyle, W. (2009). Situated practice: A reflection on person-centered classroom management.
Theory Into Practice, 48 (2),156–160.
 Freiberg, H.J. & Lamb, S.M. (2009). Dimensions of Person-Centered Classroom
Management. Theory Into Practice, 48, 99-105. DOI: 10.1080/00405840902776228
 Shernoff, D. J., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2009). Flow in schools: Cultivating engaged learners
and optimal learning environments. In R. Gilman, E. S. Huebner, & M. Furlong (Eds.),
Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools (pp. 131-145). New York:
Routledge. URL:
 Thomas D. Oakland and Shane R. Jimerson (2007). School Psychology Internationally: A
retrospective view and influential conditions in: S.R. Jimerson, T.D. Oakland, P.T. Farrell
(eds). Handbook of international school psychology. (pp.453-462). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage
 Jacqueline L. Cunningham (2007). Centripetal and centrifugal trends influencing school
psychology’s international development. In S.R. Jimerson, T.D. Oakland, P.T. Farrell
(eds). Handbook of international school psychology. (pp.463-474). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
 Shane R. Jimerson, Kelly Graydon, Michael Curtis, and Rene Staskal (2007).The International
School Psychology Survey: Insights from school psychologists around the world. In S.R.
Jimerson, T.D. Oakland, P.T. Farrell (eds). Handbook of international school psychology. (pp.481-
500). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage
 Peter T. Farrell, Shane R. Jimerson, and Thomas D. Oakland (2007). Summary and synthesis
of international school psychology. In S.R. Jimerson, T.D. Oakland, P.T. Farrell
(eds). Handbook of international school psychology. (pp.501-510). Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage