Summer 2012 -- Message from new President of TEP SIG

When I talk about the Teaching Educational Psychology SIG to other members of AERA, the
most frequent response that I get is “There’s a whole SIG about that?” People are surprised to learn that there is a cohesive research community engaged in something that seems so
specialized as the teaching of one college course.

My response is generally that not only is there a whole SIG about that, but we make a vital contribution to AERA’s larger endeavor to promote research that will improve education.

The scholars in Division C investigate the teaching-learning process, and those of us in Division G are working to understand how that process interacts with the social context in which it occurs. The researchers in Division K investigate how most effectively to prepare
teachers to engage in the teaching-learning process. But the TEP SIG is where all this comes together – our work offers insights about how to teach teachers to understand the teaching- learning process, given its context.

Many readers may recall the now-classic research by Spillane and Zeuli (1999) that found that unless teachers understood constructivist learning theory deeply and accurately, even the most well-trained and dedicated among them were unsuccessful in implementing constructiv- ist-based instructional reform. In fact, there have been innumerable studies that reveal that teachers’ conceptions of the teaching-learning process shape their instruction in subtle but powerful ways (e.g., Bryan, 2003; Warfield, Wood , & Lehman, 2005; Webb, Nemer, and Ing,
2006; Yerrick, Parke, and Nugent, 1997). Its not enough just to teach teachers how to teach;
they must have robust and deeply-held understandings of the teaching-learning process to undergird their moment-to-moment decision making. But research has also established that conceptions of teaching and learning are difficult to change (Wideen, Mayer-Smith, and Moon,
1998). Educational psychology instruction must therefore be potent and transformative, and
it must infuse teacher preparation programs from start to finish.

In the TEP SIG we investigate how educational psychology instruction can effectively allow teachers to develop deep, robust understandings of how people learn and how learning and teaching interact with context. Far more than “a SIG about teaching one little college course,” the TEP SIG is a site for the discussion, development, and dissemination of research
that provides a crucial ingredient in the educational endeavor.

We invite you to submit your research, on any aspect of teaching educational psychology, to the SIG for presentation at the next annual meeting. This year, with our annual meeting theme, Education and Poverty: Theory, Research, Policy and Praxis,” we are especially inter- ested in work that examines how best to help our students understand the ways poverty shapes the teaching-learning process. At the same time, we welcome submissions on any topic
that has implications for the teaching of educational psychology.

Stacy DeZutter
TEP SIG Chair 2012-2013

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