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The contextual approach to psychology presented on this website has important implications for educational practices. For example:

  • Functional contextualism provides a coherent framework for developing a pragmatic science of learning and instruction. It also shares the same philosophical world view as most forms of constructivism, a perspective that dominates the educational landscape in America (Fox, 2006).
  • Relational Frame Theory (RFT) outlines the kinds of core processes that may be key to the intellectual and social development of humans, and provides a technical language for analyzing most forms of complex human behavior. As such, RFT has important implications for both what we teach and how we teach. While RFT-based approaches to education are only recently beginning to be explored (e.g., Ninness et al., 2005; Strand, Barnes-Holmes, & Barnes-Holmes, 2003), the theory and its related research hold tremendous promise in this area.
  • Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is sometimes called Acceptance & Commitment Training when used in an educational context to emphasize its applicability beyond traditional therapeutic settings. At its core, ACT is focused on teaching people to be psychologically flexible and to live valued, meaningful lives. This focus overlaps broadly with several common educational goals, including the teaching of critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, values, and "life skills." In addition, ACT may enhance instruction by helping individuals of all ages learn to "sit with" the discomfort of learning new or difficult things (e.g., Bond & Bunce, 2000) and by helping them value education as it relates to their own life goals and values.