Educational Psychology - Socioeconomic Status Term Paper

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He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of its cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug-for his wife. Should the husband have done that? (Kohlberg, 1963)."

Kohlberg was not interested so much in the answer to the question of whether Heinz was wrong or right, but in the reasoning for the participant's decision. The responses were then classified into various stages of reasoning"

Van Wagner, K).

Kohlberg's discovered stages were 6: Stage 1- Obedience and Punishment, Stage 2 - Individualism and Exchange, Stage 3 - Interpersonal Relationships, Stage 4 - Maintaining Social Order, Stage 5 - Social Contract and Individual Rights and Stage 6 - Universal Principles - "Kolhberg's final level of moral reasoning is based upon universal ethical principles and abstract reasoning. At this stage, people follow these internalized principles of justice, even if they have a conflict with laws and rules"

Van Wagner, K)..

His theory is dealing with moral thinking. But in real life theory remains a theory, we don't always do what it is supposed to be right, there are other criteria we are taking into consideration. Even so, Kohlberg stages are important for education, for his contribution in the possibility of categorizing the moral part in student's evolution.

Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who was involved into the development of education program for the Soviet Union. His new psychological approach has become the base of the social development theory of learning. Vygotsky focused on the connections between people and their culture and the interactions between their experiences.

Vygotsky's Social Development Theory rests on two main principles: the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) and the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally thought of being a teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers.

The Zone of Proximal Development is the place where a student can perform a task under adult guidance or with peer collaboration that could not be achieved alone. Vygotsky claimed that learning occurred in this zone" (Mace, K., 2005).

After Vygotsky, the most important thing in learning is the interaction. Teachers are regarded not only as simple instructors, but mainly as collaborators in classes. They must guide their students and help them get the information, not merely pass the information. In education, interactivity must be encouraged and all the help that a student can get from his social environment is welcome.

Other factor that influence learning and teaching is the social and economic statute. This is very important because of the role it has on student's practical and social life. "Social and economic background describes an access to, and control over, wealth, prestige and power" (Sirin, S., 2003).

Students with a low economic statute are definitively different from the ones who have a high economic background.
It is very important for a child, and even more for an adolescent, to know that he's having something to support him. Of course, moral support is very important too, but sometimes, without materialized support, children feel helpless.

That is influencing their motivation and automatically the learning capacity. A student who is not motivated for a further studies continuity can loose his interest in school and in learning new things. That is why knowing the background of the students can be essential sometimes. If a teacher is aware of this aspect, he/she can change his teaching method toward a child who has this kind of problems.

Relationships between contextual support, perceived educational barriers, and vocational/educational self-efficacy and outcome expectations were examined for a group of 114 ninth graders from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Results of this exploratory pilot study indicated that sibling and peer support accounted for a significant amount of variance in vocational/educational self-efficacy beliefs. Vocational/educational self-efficacy beliefs also significantly predicted vocational outcome expectations, and contextual supports and barriers did not account for any unique variance associated with vocational outcome expectations" (Saba Rasheed Ali, McWhirter & Chronister, 2005, para. 1).

In conclusion, it can be said that children differences definitively exist and had to be taken into consideration in education. Students are categorized by age, but, more than that, they must be treated as individuals with their own life, own development, and own interests.

Teachers always had to find new ways of making their classes interesting for their students and be careful with their needs and stages of evolution.

As presented above, there are many ways to categorize a student in order to find out more about him, about his personality, his cognitive and moral abilities, without ignoring his social part (background, social interactions).

So, in education, learning should be done in parallel, by both students and teachers, because an education without interaction is not possible. Knowledge should be achieved by the teachers, who, with the help of all the theories and study materials existing today, should teach their students following, if it is not possible everyone's personal situation, at least, grouped teaching.


Davis, Doug and Clifton, Alan, "Psychosocial Theory: Erikson," Haverford, 1995, retrieved November 18, 2006 at

Huitt, W., & Hummel, J., "Piaget's theory of cognitive development." Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University, 2003 retrieved November 18, 2006 at

Mace, K. (2005). Vygotsky's social development theory. In B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved November 19, 2006, at

Saba Rasheed Ali, University of Iowa and McWhirter, E.H. & Chronister, K.M., University of Oregon, "Self-Efficacy and Vocational Outcome Expectations for Adolescents of Lower Socioeconomic Status: A Pilot Study," JOURNAL of CAREER ASSESSMENT, Vol. 13, No. 1, February 2005, 40-58, 2005 Sage Publications, retrieved November 18, 2006 at

Sirin, Selcuk Rogers, "The relationship between socioeconomic status and school outcomes: Meta-analytic review of research, 1990 -- "2000," BOSTON COLLEGE, 2003

Van Wagner, Kendra,. "Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development," Your Guide to Psychology, retrieved November 18, 2006 at

Van Wagner, Kendra, "Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development," Your Guide to Psychology, retrieved November 18, 2006 at

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