The Causes of Behavior: Readings in Child Development and Educational Psychology

The Causes of Behavior: Readings in Child Development and Educational Psychology

The Causes of Behavior: Readings in Child Development and Educational Psychology

The Causes of Behavior: Readings in Child Development and Educational Psychology

Excerpt

A number of universities and colleges offer courses that combine the content of educational psychology with that of child and adolescent psychology or human development. The selections in this book were assembled as a result of the editors' experience in teaching such courses.

The book is organized as follows. The introductory section outlines the organization of the book and gives some information to help in reading and interpreting statistics. Each part thereafter deals with a theme from among the explanations of behavior emphasized by important theorists or schools of thought about developmental psychology or human behavior. Those articles directly applicable to educational issues are thus presented in the framework of a broad understanding of behavior. Since the stress of the book is on various approaches to understanding the behavior of children rather than on educational psychology in any narrow sense, it is the editors' belief that the book would serve equally well for courses oriented toward human development which have no specific concern with educational psychology. We have tried to convey this flavor in our title.

During a period of several years the value of many of the selections has been explored by assigning them and getting students' evaluations of them on a number of dimensions (amount of information contained, quality of presentation, ease of reading, amount of interest aroused, and, all things considered, how worthwhile the student considered the reading of the article to have been). Indeed most of the journal articles were reproduced in a preliminary version of the book which enabled such reading and rating assignments to be free from the pressures inherent in taxed library facilities. The final selection of articles, therefore, represents the opinions not only of the editors, but of several generations of their students.

Our experience semester after semester indicates that most reading assignments provoke a considerable variety of reactions. The article which some students consider the most valuable of all is one which other students rate as having limited merit. Only the rare article is rejected by a preponderant majority of students as being too difficult, or as lacking in worth. Such articles were, of course, eliminated. But, as a result of the general diversity of opinion, we recognize that not all students (or all teachers) will necessarily be pleased by each of the articles included. We have attempted to offer a collection that changes pace frequently and that ranges widely in topics covered, in techniques of investigation used, in level of difficulty, and in the views espoused by the authors. In order to show the variety of existing methods and to convey some of the information that exists in areas not yet subjected to precise re-

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