Vera Arhin, John Ekow Laryea


Social psychology principles have been important strategies for helping students gain a better life in school because it promotes supportive, safe and empowering learning environment that enhance learners’ outcomes. Relevant evidence-based interventions using social psychology principles have proven improvements in school climates and also increased educational opportunity for students. Drawing on theoretical and empirical literature, the authors reviewed studies on the role of social psychology in promoting academic success in schools. In particular, the authors first defined social psychology, its importance to teachers and then examined four social psychological domains relevant to classroom management. Two themes which are prevalent in this paper: the importance of social psychology to teachers, and how teachers can incorporate social psychology theories into teaching and learning activities to promote a healthier school climate. In conclusion, the writers argued that classroom teachers need to employ social psychology principles in their teaching activities to help the school achieve its broader educational objectives.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



attribution, aggression, interpersonal relationships, social psychology, school climate; stereotype

Full Text:



Attar-Schwartz, S. (2009). Peer sexual harassment victimization at school: The roles of student characteristics, cultural affiliation, and school factors. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79, 407-420. doi:10.1037/a0016553

Aronson, E., & Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Blair, I. V. (2002). The malleability of automatic stereotypes and prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(3), 242-261.

Bradshaw, C. P., Waasdorp, T. E. & Leaf, P. J. (2012). Effects of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports on child behavior problems. Pediatrics, 130(5), e1136-e1145

Brookhart, S. M. (2008). How to give effective feedback to your students. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E., Luppescu, S., & Easton, J. Q. (2010). Organizing schools for improvement: Lessons from Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. (2013). CASEL schoolkit: A guide for implementing schoolwide academic, social, and emotional learning. Chicago, IL: Author.

Cammarota, J., Moll, L., Gonzalez, M., & Cannella, C. (2012). Sociocultural perspective on interpersonal relationships in association with Mexican-American schools. Education Journal, 3(6), 12-16.

Carter, C. (2002). School ethos and construction of masculine identity: Do schools create, condone and sustain aggression? Educational Review, 54(1), 28-36.

Cialdini, R. B. (2012). Influence: Science and practice (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Apfel, N., & Brzustoski, P. (2009). Recursive processes in self-affirmation: Intervening to close the minority achievement gap. Science, 324, 400–403. doi:10.1126/science.1170769

Choy, S. P., Chen, X., & Bugarin, R. (2006). Teacher professional development in 1999- 2000: What teachers, principals, and district staff report. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Corvo, K. & Williams, K. (2000). Substance abuse, parenting styles and aggression: An exploratory study of weapon carrying students. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 44(1), 13-27.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D, & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.

Ferguson, C. J. (2010). Blazing angels or resident evil? Can violent video games be a force for good? Review of General Psychology, 14, 68-81.

Fraser, M., Nash, J., Galinsky, M., & Darwin, M., K. (2002). The making choices program: Social problem-solving skills for children. Washington, D.C: NASW Press.

French, D, Conrad, J. & Turner, T. 1995. Adjustment of antisocial and non-antisocial adolescents. Development and Psychotherapy, 7, 857-874.

Gehlbach, H. (2010). The social side of school: Why teachers need social psychology. Educational Psychology Review, 22(3), 349-362. doi:10.1007/s10648-010-9138-3

Gottfredson, G. D., Gottfredson, D. C., Payne, A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from national delinquency prevention in school. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42, 421- 444.

Grossman, P., Hammerness, K., & McDonald, M. (2009.) Redefining teaching, re‐imagining teacher education, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(2), 273-289. Retrieved from

Hall, N., Hladkyj, S., Perry, R., & Ruthig, J. (2004). The role of attributional retraining and elaborative learning in college students' academic development. Journal of Social Psychology, 144(6), 591-612. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database

Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-113.

Kaiser, A. (2011). Beginning teacher attrition and mobility: Results from the first through third waves of the 2007– 08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study. U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from

Kane, L., Hoff, N., Cathcart, A., Heifner, A., Palmon, S. & Peterson, R.L. (2016). School climate & culture. Strategy brief. Lincoln, NE: Student Engagement Project, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Education Retrieved from

Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, R. H. (2013). Social psychology. Wadswortth: Cengage Learning

Kauffman, J. M. (2005). Characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders of children and youth (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Kelley, H. H. (1967). Attribution theory in social psychol-ogy. In D. Levine (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation (15th ed., pp. 129-238). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Kim, H. (2014). Enacted social support on social media and subjective well-being. International Journal of Communication, 8, 2340–2342.

Lee, T., Cornell, D., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2011). High suspension schools and dropout rates for black and white students. Education and Treatment of Children, 34, 167-192.

Malle, B. F. (2011). Attribution theories: How people make sense of behaviour. In D. Charles (Eds.), Theories in social psychology (pp.72-95). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Malle, B. F. & Korman, J. (2013). Attribution theory. In D. S. Dunn (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.. Retrieved from

Myers, D. G. (2007). Exploring social psychology (4th ed.). New York, NJ: McGraw-Hill.

Nieto, S. (2005). Why we teach. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Rosebery, A. S., & Warren, B. (2008). Teaching science to English language learners: Building on students’ strengths. Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Ruus, V., Veisson, M., Leino, M., Ots, L., Pallas, L., Sarv, E., & Veisson, A. (2007). Students’ well-being, coping, academic success, and school climate. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 35, 919-936.

National School Climate Council. (2007). The school climate challenge: Narrowing the gap between school climate research and school climate policy, practice guidelines and teacher education policy. Retrieved from

Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., & Meece, J. L. (2008). Motivation in education: Theory, research, and applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Slavin, R. E., Hurley, E. A., & Chamberlain, A. (2003). Cooperative learning and achievement: Theory and research. In W. M. Reynolds & G. E. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Educational psychology (7th ed., pp. 93-111). New York, NY: Wiley.

Smith, D. L., & Smith, B. J. (2006). Perceptions of violence: The views of teachers who left urban schools. The High School Journal, 89, 34-42.

Steele, C. M. (2010).Whistling Vivaldi and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York, NY: Norton.

Stewart, T. L., Latu, I. M., Kawakami, K., & Myers, A. C. (2010). Consider the situation: Reducing automatic stereotyping through Situational Attribution Training. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(1), 221-225.

Swanson, A. S. A. (2015). Why violence is so contagious. Washington Post. Retrieved from

Szyndrowski, D. (2005). The impact of domestic violence on adolescent aggression in the schools. Preventing School Failure, 44(1), 9-12.

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J., C. (1986). The social theory of intergroup behaviour. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7-24). Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall.

Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Higgins-D’Alessandro, A., & Guffey, S. (2012). School Climate Research Summary: School Climate Brief, No. 3. New York, NY: National School Climate Center. Retrieved from

Thapa, A., Cohen, J., Guffey, S., & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. (2013). A review of school climate research. Review of Educational Research, 83, 357-385.

Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students. Science,331, 1447–1451.doi:10.1126/science.1198364

Walton, G. M., & Spencer, S. J. (2009). Latent ability: Grades and test scores systematically underestimate the intellectual ability of negatively stereotyped students. Psychological Science, 20, 1132–1139. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02417

Weiner, B. (2006). Social motivation, justice, and the moral emotions: An attributional approach. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Wentzel, K. R. (2004). Understanding classroom competence: The role of social-motivational and self-processes. In R. Kail (Ed.), Advances in child development and behavior (pp. 213-241). New York, NY: Elsevier.

Worchel, S., Cooper, J., Goethals, G. R. & Olson, M. J. (2000). Social psychology: Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Yeager, D. S., & Walton, G. M. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: They're not magic. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 267-301.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Vera Arhin, John Ekow Laryea

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015-2018. European Journal of Education Studies (ISSN 2501 - 1111) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).