Developmental and educational psychology (2018/2019)

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Course code
Name of lecturer
Daniela Raccanello
Daniela Raccanello
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

During the course the student will acquire the capacity to know/recognize, understand and explain the scientific literature focused on learning processes, referring to the main theoretical frameworks and to some basic issues related to developmental psychology during the whole life course and educational psychology, and also to the main methods.
In particular, expected learning results are:
• Knowledge and understanding of the psychological theories on the main processes of functioning and adaptation of the individual to the context, and in particular those related to learning and education of individuals along the whole life span. Such knowledge refers to basic developmental processes, related to cognitive, social, and emotional domain; to psychological processes characterizing learning processes, focused on cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and emotional aspects, with a particular attention to the main theoretical approaches from the literature;
• Ability to apply knowledge and understanding related to the exam and analysis of learning processes and individual and social changes and to the use of instruments for psychological measurement of the individuals in learning and educational contexts along the shole life span, also highlightening the psychological processes that promote achievement and wellbeing;
• Autonomy of judgement in terms of abilities to interpret data on learning contexts and processes, and to identify criteria useful to express autonomous judgements and reflections on psychological, scientific, and ethic dimensions relating to learning processes;
• Communicative abilities in terms of competences and instruments to communicate and manage information, in particular those typical of the scientific language of psychology;
• Capacity of learning in terms of awareness on the psychological processes which characterize learning contexts.


The syllabus is divided into two parts:
(A) Developmental and educational psychology.
• Educational psychology.
• Cognitive development.
• Self, social, and moral development.
• Differences in learning.
• Development of language and linguistic diversity.
• Culture and diversity.
• Behavioural theories of learning.
• Cognitive perspective on learning.
• Complex cognitive processes.
• Learning sciences and constructivism.
• The sociocognitive theory.
• Learning and motivation.
(B) Motivation and emotions in learning contexts.
• Research on school motivation: history and basic concepts.
• The meanings of learning: achievement goals.
• Being well at school: social goals.
• The individual between the need for autonomy and external regulation: the autodetermination theory.
• Interest.
• Emotions at school.
• Sense of self and identity.
• The sense of self: self-efficacy and self-regulation.
• Building motivation.
• What positive psychology is.
• Emotions.
• Optimism and hope.
• Flow.
• Happiness and subjective wellbeing.
• Eudemonic wellbeing.
• Values, motivation and aims in life.
• The time in life.
• Complexity and challenges in life.
• The freedom to choose.
• Strengths.
• Love.
• Interventions in positive psychology.
• Practical applications.
• The future of positive psychology.

Teaching activities
The course will include frontal lessons, aiming at transmitting basic notions, integrated by cooperative learning, aiming at deepening the knowledge of specific aspects of the syllabus, in particular through the study of research papers. The content of the texts and the lessons is coherent with the syllabus. Further didactic materials are available from the teacher.
During the whole academic year, in addition, the teacher will receive the students individually, at the times indicates in the website (it is not necessary to arrange specific appointments) which are constantly updated.
During the first lesson, the teacher will present the whole calendar of the didactic activities with dates and topics of the lessons, specifying the time and the rooms.

Texts for the exam:
Boniwell, I. (2015). La scienza della felicità. Introduzione alla psicologia positiva. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Boscolo, P. (2012). La fatica e il piacere di imparare. Psicologia della motivazione scolastica. Torino: UTET.
Woolfolk, A. (2016). Psicologia dell’educazione. Teorie, metodi, strumenti. Milano: Pearson.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Boscolo, P. La fatica e il piacere di imparare. Psicologia della motivazione scolastica Torino: UTET 2012
Boniwell, I. La scienza della felicità. Introduzione alla psicologia positiva Bologna: Il Mulino 2015
Woolfolk, A. Psicologia dell’educazione. Teorie, metodi, strumenti Milano: Pearson 2020

Assessment methods and criteria

The aim of the exam is to verify the extent to which the expected learning results are achieved, in terms of knowledge and understanding abilities, both theoretical and applied.
The exam is formed by a written part and an optional oral part. Both of them cover the whole syllabus. For the written part, there are one open-ended question, 20 closed-ended questions, and 5 definitions. The duration of the written part is one hour. The oral part is optional, and it consists of an integrative interview requested by the student, after passing the written part.
The evaluation of the exam is expressed in thirties. For the written part, there will be maximum five points for the answer to the open-ended question, one point for each answer to the closed-ended questions, and maximum one point for each definition. For the oral part, there will be maximum three points.
The exam will be equal for those students who attend and those who do not attend the lessons.