Previous research shows that student educational experiences influence their learning as well as their future success. Beyond offering opportunities for academic acceleration and ability grouping, what can be done to help make sure talented students are learning and developing?
The American Psychological Association’s Center for Psychology in Schools and Education has published a synthesis of psychological research principles aiming to help implement evidence based practices and how to apply them in gifted education environments.
Top 20 Principles from Psychology for PreK–12 Creative, Talented, and Gifted Students’ Teaching and Learning
The 20 principles are organized around five themes, with each principle introducing the concept and providing examples of how educators can implement the principles in schools.
One interesting take away from this synthesis is that kids (whether gifted or not) respond to these principles of effective teaching and learning similarly. The application of the principles for gifted students might be different and may become relevant at younger ages, but the same learning principles are relevant for all students.
Aimed at practitioners, this freely available resource can help bridge the research-application gap by synthesizing and translating research findings into language and ideas that can be applied in the classroom.
Top 20 Principles
How do students think and learn?
1: Students’ beliefs or perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functioning and learning.
2: What students already know affects their learning.
3: Students’ cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development.
4: Learning is based on context, so generalizing learning to new contexts is not spontaneous but instead needs to be facilitated.
5: Acquiring long-term knowledge and skill is largely dependent on practice.
6: Clear, explanatory, and timely feedback to students is important for learning.
7: Students’ self-regulation assists learning, and self-regulatory skills can be taught.
8: Student creativity can be fostered.
What motivates students?
9: Students tend to enjoy learning and perform better when they are more intrinsically than extrinsically motivated to achieve.
10: Students persist in the face of challenging tasks and process information more deeply when they adopt mastery goals rather than performance goals.
11: Teachers’ expectations about their students affect students’ opportunities to learn, their motivation, and their learning outcomes.
12: Setting goals that are short term (proximal), specific, and moderately challenging enhances motivation more than establishing goals that are long term (distal), general, and overly challenging.
Why are social context, interpersonal relationships, and emotional well-being important to student learning?
13: Learning is situated within multiple social contexts.
14: Interpersonal relationships and communication are critical to both the teaching– learning process and the social-emotional development of students.
15: Emotional well-being influences educational performance, learning, and development.
How can the classroom best be managed?
16: Expectations for classroom conduct and social interaction are learned and can be taught using proven principles of behavior and effective classroom instruction.
17: Effective classroom management is based on (a) setting and communicating high expectations, (b) consistently nurturing positive relationships, and (c) providing a high level of student support.
How to assess student progress?
18: Formative and summative assessments are both important and useful but require different approaches and interpretations.
19: Students’ skills, knowledge, and abilities are best measured with assessment processes grounded in psychological science with well-defined standards for quality and fairness.
20: Making sense of assessment data depends on clear, appropriate, and fair interpretation.
To read the original report in its entirety, please visit http://www.apa.org/ed/schools/teaching-learning/top-twenty-principles.aspx.