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This is a comprehensive literature review on the intersection between social psychology and education. Social psychology and education relate in various disciplines of sociology, psychology, and education. Understanding the relationship between social psychology and education is necessary to enable learners comprehend human behavior in education. These fields address various contents related to teaching instructions, learning cultures, theoretical concepts about social learning and group behaviors. These fields also explore research methods in social studies. This review shows that past studies are relevant to learners in areas of education and social psychology because they aid in understanding social psychological approaches in education.
Scholars have explored individual traits and their effects on education achievements. Areepattamannil, Freeman, and Klinger (2011) examined impacts of motivation among students in learning science, self-belief, and science instructional practices. They used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) analysis and concluded that a learner’s “motivational beliefs, self-efficacy, self-concept, and enjoyment of science had positive predictive effects on science achievement” (Areepattamannil, Freeman, and Klinger, 2011). They also accounted for various controlling variables like demographic characteristics of students.
Brophy explores various approaches teachers can apply in classroom instructions in order to motivate learners (Brophy, 2004). The author concentrates on motivational principles in a classroom perspective. He explores motivational principles related to curriculum goals, classroom dynamics and learner differences. In this context, the author demonstrates the effectiveness of integrating both intrinsic and extrinsic strategies in learning. Brophy also focuses on aspects of motivation like individual attributes, confidence, expectations, self-efficacy, and their influences on teacher and student dynamics. Still, he looks at learner differences and problems, as well as emerging topics, including “self-identity concepts, cross-cultural comparisons, situational interest, stereotype threat, and the rediscovery of John Dewey’s motivational ideas” (Brophy, 2004).
Understanding factors, which influence learners, have also attracted attentions of many scholars. Ainley, Hidi, and Berndorff (2002) found out that interest variables and other factors related to texts influenced learners’ topics of interests. They concluded that topics of interests influenced “affective response, affected persistence, and persistence to learning” (Ainley et al., 2002). The study provided new insight on how student activities affected learning processes. They also noted that learners’ interests depended on a psychological state of positive influences. As a result, persistence enhanced learning outcomes.
Hong, Lin, and Lawrenz tested the effectiveness of integrating “science and societal implication on adolescents’ positive thinking and emotional perceptions about learning science” (Hong et al., 2012). They observed that students who participated in the study as the experimental group had best performances on emotional perception and positive thinking. Overall, they observed that learners’ positive thoughts and emotional perceptions affected their learning in science. Therefore, these authors recommended that teachers should “integrate science and societal implications when teaching adolescents” (Hong et al., 2012).
Social psychology and education relate in many ways. Social psychology and education scholars show that integrating these disciplines help in understanding human learning in a classroom setting, efficacy of educational approaches, psychology involved in teaching and learning, and social aspects of societies and schools.
Therefore, we can understand how learners acquire knowledge and develop. It accounts for learner differences, teacher characteristics and other emerging areas in social psychology and education. We have to recognize that diverse fields of social psychology and education also rely on other disciplines and contribute to them. This accounts for the need to integrate various findings in social psychology and education into teaching processes.
Ainley, M., Hidi, S., and Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, Learning, and the Psychological Processes that Mediate their Relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 545–561.
Areepattamannil, S., Freeman, J., and Klinger, D. (2011). Influence of motivation, self- beliefs, and instructional practices on science achievement of adolescents in Canada. Social Psychology of Education,14(2), 233-259.
Brophy, J. (2004). Motivating Students to Learn (2nd edn.). New York: Routledge.
Hong, Z., Lin, H., and Lawrenz, F. (2012). Effects of an Integrated Science and Societal Implication Intervention on Promoting Adolescents’ Positive Thinking and Emotional Perceptions in Learning Science. International Journal of Science Education – INT J SCI EDUC, 34(3), 329-352.