Education is a human right and therefore each and everyone has a right to access it. Decision making in education is therefore a significant issue to be looked at by the whole school community including the society. This is a case of decision making by the school administration on whether to retain or promote a student. However, there is a problem that involves the teacher and the principal regarding the student where the teacher is for the decision and has already ready recommended him while the principal is against it because of the reasons he gives, mainly to protect the interest of the school.
The key persons in this case are Juan, the student, Nell, the teacher and Tyrone the principal. They behave so because they have certain factors they are considering and other interests they are safeguarding. For instance, the principal is out to protect the interest of the school and its performance. This is the reason why he is reluctant at accepting Nell’s recommendation about promoting Juan. On the other hand, Nell i9s protecting her own interest based on previous encounters with students she has recommended repetition as well as those of Juan arguing that it will do him more harm than satisfaction.
This case demonstrates a student-learning problem where Juan has failed to meet the required grades to promote him to the next class. His teacher however recommends him because she thinks it will do more harm than good to him if he was to be retained. The principal has a different opinion on the same and thinks that Juan must be retained so that he can improve his performance. According to the happenings in this case, several theories can be put forth to best explain the situation.
The thinking and behavior of human beings towards various issues in life has lead to the upcoming of the psychology theories. These include behavioral theories, cognitive theories, developmental theories, humanist theories, personality theories, and the social psychology theories. The developmental theory gives a basis for issues concerning human growth, thought, and the behavior of an individual. This is the theory that best suits this situation because from the case, Juan has evidently not attained physical or emotional development. He is in his early stages of development and what influences his life most is the surrounding environment as well as social circles.
Nell cites a case of a student she taught who came from a school she taught in Illinois, who was academically slow because the surrounding environment was poor and his family was full of repeaters. This according to the behavioral theory had to affect hi in school. This theory is explained in Freud’s theory of psychological development, which tells us that experiences gained early in life, influences one’s behavior and personal development.
It tells that learning does not take place by direct reinforcement but by an individual observing what others are doing. This is referred to as observational learning or modeling. In this case, children are thought to observe and imitate that they see in other people. This can be explained through three basic idea of the model namely; alive model which involve an individual demonstrating or acting a certain behavior, a verbal instructional model that involve description and explanation of a given behavior (Cox et al 2010, p 62).
The surrounding environment for Juan in this case is his family, friends and students in school. It is supposed to mould him to attain both emotional and psychological maturity.
The social circles right from home have not helped him either as Nell says that he cries easily and sometimes engage in baby talk. This is the main reason his friends despise hi and as a result, he ends up being an introvert as Tyrone noted that he does not have any close friends. He is also oblivious about what happens around him as is evident even when playing with his friends. The principal notes that he is poorly coordinated and his friends seldom play with him. All this point out towards proving that the developmental theory best describes this situation as factors such as environment and social circles are key in determining a person’s growth.
However, other theories can also be used to describe the situation. The cognitive theories also look at the internal states of an individual in terms on motivation, problem solving, decision-making, thinking, and attention. Mastery of concepts promotes learning and therefore learners with such a memory are likely getting better grades.
Having identified and defined the problem, we now look at solutions to the problem; they may include things like Intrinsic Reinforcement. Research has shown that learning does not occur by external reinforcement but through intrinsic reinforcement. This is a sense of pride or satisfaction that an individual develops leading to a given behavior. The intrinsic reinforcement influential in behavior modification as it is rooted in the internal of an individual.
This model tells that learning may also not occur in case the individual’s attention is destructed. Attention is the first step of observational learning and therefore if one destruct observation no learning will then take place. The information observed needs to be retained after which it will later on be reproduced and through the learning, that has taken place. Above all the learner should be motivated in the learning process by either reinforcement or even punishment as they are likely to improve the learning.
The humanistic theories also try to explain the importance of human beings by the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. This is represented in a pyramid whereby the basic and highly required needs are at the bottom and the other needs for self-actualization are at the top.
These needs include the physiological needs which are those human beings require to survive such as food, air and water and also those for protection such as shelter and clothing. The next needs are those of safety such as job security, which individuals require as they work. The safety needs also include the person’s security, financial security, health security, and security against any incidents of accidents (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2010, 23).
In the Maslow’s hierarchy, we also have need of love and belonging that are extremely essential for every human being. Juan’s family members and his friends provide this sense of belonging as well. They are particularly valuable and therefore need to be satisfied for everything to move on well.
The fourth level is that of self-esteem in which the internal acceptance by an individual and that respect one need from others. Everyone has a right to be accepted and valued by others irrespective of their weaknesses. Any incidence of prejudice may make such individuals to be depressed and with time, this can lead to mental problems.
The issue of decision making in education also requires a teacher to take note of these psychological theories while making final decisions concerning the learners’ progress in school. When deciding on issue of promotion of a learner to the next class, various factors need to be looked at despite the academic performance. Juan’s needs need to be satisfied right from home for him to concentrate at school.
In case one of the needs is not fulfilled, then it is appropriate that learning process may be affected leading to the negative outcome (Cox et al 2010, p68). The teacher may also use classical conditioning to get a positive classroom environment for learning by doing away with fear and anxiety exemplified by a situation where a teacher gives the students a chance to perform a leaning activity in front of the class or even in a group of other students. The behavioral theories therefore allow an individual to interact with the environmental in the learning process.
For the case where the learner has a problem with language skills, certain considerations have to be taken place. It is well known that the external environment of an individual influences the language. For example if English is Juan’s second language, so he cannot be efficient in reading as others who English is their first language. Decisions made should take care of the safety needs of an individual as portrayed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Regarding repetition, the teacher should take note of safety and security needs of the learner namely personal security, financial security, and the health and well-being of both the learner and parents (Cox et al 2010, p 72).
The school community therefore needs to make an analysis on this issue before taking any step forward on the education decisions. The issue of repetition is a crucial matter to be looked at in this situation. Decision-making should be in a manner that all the individual’s desires are taken into consideration.
If the teacher realizes that by not promoting a learner to the next, grade my affect the learner any other option can be given to the learner to make a choice. This can be through reinforcement, positive or negative reinforcement or by engaging the learner in a punishment that will enable him or her to acquire the under-achieved skill. The activity can be done by practically observing the learner to understand their intentions (Shapiro & Stefkovich, 2010, p.26).
Cox, S., Dyer, C. & Schweisfurth, M. (2010). Children as decision makers in education: sharing experiences across cultures. Continuum International Pub. Group,
Shapiro, J. & Stefkovich, J. (2010). Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education: Applying Theoretical Perspectives to Complex Dilemmas. Taylor & Francis Pub.
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