The Experience of Education: Immersed Reflections

Home/ The Experience of Education: Immersed Reflections
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2011094

Semester and Year Offered: Second semester

Course Coordinator and Team members: Shivani Nag

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Students should be comfortable with either Hindi or English, preferably both.


This course will attempt to place experience in the centre stage of educational discourse through the discipline of educational psychology. By using a psychodynamic and socio-political perspective, it will highlight the myriad social and psychological locations to which students and teachers hold their allegiance and through which their experience of education is constantly negotiated and re-negotiated. . The journey of inner worlds and their idiosyncratic relationships to theory would necessarily urge the course participants to embark on an intensive and reflective sojourn by assuming the experiential position of sometimes, the learner, at other times, of the teacher and practitioner in relation to the educational concepts in psychology. With this specific understanding, the course would aim at reflecting on experiences of the individual and the group that are and have been critical in the lives of students, teachers and practitioners. . A developmental perspective of personality (Psychodynamic) and the role of humanistic perspective of healthy personality influencing the motivating as well as de-motivating factors would be understood .This would be done by foregrounding the self of the learner and teacher even as we together negotiates through complex relationships and dynamics within one’s self, family and community.

Hence the attempt is to introduce the psychological imagination of experience to the educational discourse, to evolve a critical understanding of various, theories related to learning, motivation, evaluation, intelligence morality and success. In the end to familiarize students with the construct of personality from psychodynamic perspective and humanistic perspective to evolve a understanding of self, family and community from an ecological systems approach to education.

Course Outcomes: To enable the students

  1. To understand, analyse and deeply listen to the category of experience through various perspectives and subject positions in the context of education. .
  2. To discuss and explain various theories related to learning and reflect on the impact of grading and assessment.
  3. To critically understand the role and interlinkages between theories of intelligence and morality in relation to success and failure in classroom.
  4. To describe and explain various theories of personality from psychodynamic perspective of Freud, Erikson and Adler.
  5. To assess the role and impact of demotivation and motivation through Maslow and Eric Fromm’s theoretical perspectives in evolving a critical sensibility around themes of procrastination, stress and coping in classroom as a group.
  6. To evolve an understanding about the nature of relationships of self, family, community, significance of attachments, facilitating environments, ecological self and its relationship with education.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules: {Unit 1 would be compulsory and any four units from two to six would be taken in detail based on student’s interest and deliberation through the semester.}

Module I: Understanding and problematising experience

Through the introductory classes, we will try to understand the very definition of experience and its relationship with education. Some issues that would be focused on are:Is all experience education? Modes of experiencing, socio-political mediation of experience, Plato’s allegory of the cave, Silence and communication, Temporality of experience, Being the student, Being the teacher.

Module II: Experiencing learning and assessment

This unit attempts to understand aspects of various theories, issues and challenges related to learning and assessment. It would introduce certain key theoretical ideas of Jean Piaget , Lev Vygotsky, Albert Bandura and John Holt:Definition of learning; Classical and operant conditioning; Observational learning; Cognitive learning theories; socio-cultural context of learning. Contemporary issues on assessment: standardized testing, affectof grading on students, the challenges and impact of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation.

Module III: Critical understanding of intelligence, morality and success

This unit addresses issues on intelligence and morality to understand success and failure in education system. Thinkers like Howard Gardner, Carol Gilligan, LawrenceKholberg, Lisa Delpit. It will deal with topics on:Theories of multiple intelligence, Socio-economic aspects , health, social identity, self-esteem, peer group that influence achievement, Cultural understanding of achievement, Theories of moral development, prejudices, stereotypes and biases, Experiencing success and failure: Psychological impact and Sociological understanding of failure.

Module IV:Understanding personality through psychodynamic perspective in Education

This unit would explore theoretical ideas of the thinkers listed below:Freudian theory of unconscious, psycho-sexual stages and theory of mind,Ericksonian theory of psychosocial development, Adler’s notion of striving for superiority and inferiority complex.

Unit V: Demotivation and its relevance to understanding educational experience

This unit would address topics on:Approaches to motivation: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Eric Fromm’s model of healthy personality, Sources of de-motivation – age patriarchy, status of profession, procrastination, work load, job security, teacher status, discrimination, Stress and coping – stressors, ego defence mechanisms

Unit VI: Understanding relationships: Self, family, community and education

The unit would attempt at theoretical understanding of concepts:Bowlby’s theory of attachment, Winnicott’s notion of good enough mother, true self and false self, deprivation and privation, and Bronfennbrenner’s ecological model and its relevance in education.

Assessment schedule with details of weightage:




Date/period in which Assessment will take place

Weightage (%)


 Book review/diary/presentation

Mid February



Mid Semester Exam

Mid  March



Home assignment/presentations

Second week of April



End Semester Exam

End Semester week



Essential readings:

  • Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education, Touchstone, New York. Pp 25-50
  • Tagore, R (2006 )Totakahini, - RajpalPrakashan, New Delhi.
  • Ciccarelli, S.K & Meyer, G.E (2008) Psychology, Pearson and Longman, India. pp 178-215
  • Vygotsky, l.S. (1978) Mind in Society, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
  • Woolfolk, A (2004) Educational Psychology (Ninth edition), Pearson Education, New Delhi. pp 512-577
  • Reynolds,C.R;Livingston,R.B.&Willson,V.(2011) Measurement And Assessment in Education.2nded.Prentice Hall India, Delhi,pp1-29,421-449.
  • Sternberg, R.J (ed) (2004) International Handbook of Intelligence, Cambridge University Press, pp 445-473.
  • Papalia, D.E et al.(2004) Human Development, Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi. pp 407-421
  • Vittachi, S &Raghavan, N(2007) (eds.) Alternative Schooling in India, Sage,New Delhi. Pp 13-43, 65-78
  • PathakAvijit(2002) Social implications of Schooling: Knowledge, pedagogy and consciousness, rainbow
  • publishers, New Delhi.
  • Ewen, R.B (2010) An Introduction to Theories of Personality, (7th edition) Psychology Press, Taylor and
  • Francis Group, New York. Chapter 2, pp 11-49, chapter 8, pp 157-177, chap 4, pp 83-100
  • Frager, R &Fadiman,J(2005). Personality and personal growth – Edition -6 , Harper Collins pp 144-169
  • Bhimayana (2010).Navayanapublishing , New Delhi
  • Berk, L.E (2003) Child Development, Prentice Hall, New Delhi. Chap 1 pp 3-40, chap 10,pp 417-433.

Suggested readings:

  • Winnicott, D.W. (1966). The Maturational Processes and the facilitating environment, Studies in the Theory of emotional development, International universities press, New York.
  • Kagitcibasi, C (2007) Family, self, and human development across cultures theory and practice, Lawrence Erlbanum associates Publishers, New Jersey. Pp 133-201.
  • Gilligan, C. (1982) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s development, Harvard University Press: MA.
  • Kumar, Krishna (1989) Social Character of Learning, Sage, New Delhi.
  • Foucault ,Michel (1991) Discipline and Punish, Penguin UK.6.Delpit, Lisa(1995) Other People’s Children, New York: The new press.