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The field of critical studies recognizes that all knowledge is deeply embedded in ideological, cultural, political, and historical contexts. Although this approach is commonly applied in other subfields of psychology, educational psychology—which is the study of human learning, thinking, and behavior in formal and informal educational contexts—has resisted a comprehensive critical appraisal. In Critical Educational Psychology, Stephen Vassallo seeks to correct this deficit by demonstrating how the psychology of learning is neither neutral nor value-free but rather bound by a host of contextual issues and assumptions.

Vassallo invites teachers and teacher educators, educational researchers, and educational psychologists to think broadly about the implications that their use of psychology has on the teaching and learning process. He applies a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches to examine the psychology of learning, cognitive development, motivation, creativity, discipline, and attention. Drawing on multiple perspectives within psychology and critical theory, he reveals that contemporary educational psychology is entangled in and underpinned by specific political, ideological, historical, and cultural contexts.

A valuable resource for anyone who relies on psychology to interact with, assess, and deliberate over others, especially school-aged children, Critical Educational Psychology resists neatly packaged theories, models, and perspectives that are intended to bring some basis and certainty to pedagogical decision-making. This book will enhance teachers’ ethical decision-making and start important new conversations about power and opportunity.

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