After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Introduction to Educational Psychology 2. Scope of Educational Psychology 3. Meaning 4. Aspects 5. A Cognitive-Developmental View 6. Aims and Objectives 7. Aims and Objectives.
- Introduction to Educational Psychology
- Scope of Educational Psychology
- Meaning of Educational Psychology
- Aspects of Educational Psychology
- A Cognitive-Developmental View of Educational Psychology
- Aims and Objectives of Educational Psychology
- Methods used in Educational Psychology
1. Introduction to Educational Psychology:
Educational psychology has become a separate discipline altogether as it poses itself in the present time. The individuals who are interested in teaching profession and those who are already in it, as for example, the classroom teachers or educational managers-cum-administrators have become more and more interested in the development of broader and more general themes of educational psychology.
A number of eminent scholars and scientists have in the process contributed to the development of educational psychology as a major applied field within the context of psychology.
A brief historical trekking along the developmental path of educational psychology as it reaches the modern age, would probably be relevant here. Before the emergence of psychology as a discipline in its own right, and of educational psychology as a branch of that discipline—speculation and observation concerning the relation of human nature to the educational process were not uncommon.
In the West, this feature can be traced from pre-Socratic period of classical Greece, where Democritus in fifth Century B. C. advanced his idea of education. He wrote about the importance of education in man’s continuity of life process as well as considered the influence of the home and family upon the child. He held that the father’s self-control and the process of educating himself served to teach the children.
Eventually there arose the importance of child rearing process in educational psychology. Stress was laid upon such matters as training in the management of property by sharing it with the children. In India the same kind of imparting education by the father to the son was a social a practice.
Moulding the son in accordance with the identity of the father —even to be absolutely identified with the son to enter into the son during death as presented in Mahabharata is an example of the same process.
That is, in fact, the essence of patriarchal society. In Arya Society in India, however, education was confined to a particular stratum or class, whose formal education started only at the age of 12 after a formal initiation, who became Brahmmacharins.
They were totally separated from the family for a particular period of life—sent to the Guru’s (i.e. teacher’s) Ashram, where they were trained to acquire various skills and given special trainings to lead life and later to attain self-realization, the ultimate aim of education. The concept of mind and its training was more of philosophical nature, than of psychological one.
Much later, psychology replaced philosophical concept after a great deal of research work carried on throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Other great names in the field of education of classical period, in West were Socrates, the epitome of education, followed by Plato and Aristotle.
They were gems of post-Socratic period dating back to fourth century B. C. From Plato and Aristotle onward we got glimpses of modern education and its relation to psychological factors.
Scattered throughout their works Aristotle and Plato discussed the following issues such as, “the ends of education, the ideals of the educated man, the disadvantages of being educated, the kinds of education that are appropriate to different kinds of people, the training of the body and the cultivation of bodily skills, the formation of a good character, the possibilities and limits of moral education, the influence of the family in the training, the role of the state in moral education, the effect upon character of music, poetry and other arts; the profession of teaching and the relation of teacher and students, the means and methods of teaching; the nature of learning, the order of learning, the emotional aspect of learning; learning apart from teachers and the acquisition of techniques.”.
Almost the same kind of educational system was operative in ancient India and we see the greatest teacher Krishna teaching the most obedient disciple Arjuna in Gita and imparting the kind of education embodying the ethos of Indian social thoughts and Indian idealism.
Aristotle’s psychological views relevant to the educational matters are presented more systematically, logically and in greater details than as forwarded either by Socrates or Plato. Aristotle’s views encouraged the working of faculty psychology and emphasized more of intellectual and rational processes than the emotional ones.
Aristotle laid the foundation for the main psychological doctrines taught and accepted by the learned world for the next two centuries to come. They were subsequently modified by the later psychologists throughout the developmental period of history of educational psychology.
In the hands of seventeenth century philosophers, specially Descartes, mind was equated with innate ideas which did not arise from experience, rather the ideas are considered as the basis of true knowledge. The scientific character of psychology remained a doom at that period.
But very soon John Locke, in the same century, renowned as empiricist, initiated the first wide and continued protest against the form of faculty psychology current in his time.
He argued that the faculties do not function by themselves, knowledge is gained when the mind becomes functional as it comes in contact with the external environment. At birth the human mind does not perform but is potentially sensitive to impressions from outside through the senses.
“Through the empirical process of experience he receives sensory experiences from which simple experiences are built into complex ideas, through the internal activity of reflection, and ideas”…. They arose from sensory impressions and from the processes of reflection. Thus arise all knowledge, all values, all learning. This learning by experience come to be known as empiricism.
The interactional processes between one’s self and environment involved in learning laid the foundation of modern psychology—the non-faculty point of view turned into behaviouristic character. And psychology—instead of being defined as science of mind (psyche+logos)—achieved a scientific status and, finally, came to be defined as the science of human behaviour.
Modern psychology, a science of behaviour like all other sciences, has its origin in the feeling of curiosity of the primitive man. His curious inquiry about the nature and its events ultimately gave rise to physical and biosciences of modern age. The same curiosity about his own thinking, feeling and willing, dreaming and imagining gave rise to an inquiry into the mental process, which gradually helped the emergence of the science of psychology.
According to the modern definition of psychology, mind can be analysed functionally into different mental processes—cognitive, conative and emotive and is .expressed through behaviour of the interacting person. Hence psychology is a science of behaviour.
Psychology emerged as a scientific discipline as and when Withhelm Wundt—the founder of experimental psychology— established the first psychological laboratory at Leipzig in Germany in the year 1879. From that time onward the learned world witnessed a host of renowned psychologists working in different aspects of mental performances and a long intellectual pursuit of psychological discoveries ensured.
This led more and more to the application of theories, branching, specialization, specification of methods as well as more and more qualitative and quantitative sophistication of techniques. One such branching encompasses the educational field and has been termed as Educational Psychology which emerged as a separate discipline, involving the general principles of experimental psychology applied in the field of education.
A great name in the history of educational thoughts in the early 19th century was Pestalozzi who psychologised education by emphasizing upon ‘education’ as a process of drawing out the functional mind of the individual.
The next great advance in educational psychology came about mid-nineteenth century when Johann Frederich Herbart, a German professor, formulated an approach to education based directly and avowedly upon psychology.
From the end part of nineteenth century till the beginning of twentieth century a number of famous psychologists started working in different lines of education applying the principles and techniques of general psychology. Among them mention may be made of Francis Galton, the oldest of the founders of educational psychology.
He conducted the first experimental investigation of associationism, tests on reaction time and sensory acuity. Stanley Hall, meanwhile, published his papers using the questionnaire to investigate the minds of children. In 1885 Ebbinghans published his study on memory and, within the span of six years, events of importance like objective measurement, child psychology and learning experiments, all took place.
To add to the list enriching the movement was Galton’s studies on nature-nurture problem, mental inheritance of ability, studies of twins, widespread realizations of individual differences in the psychological sense, various mental and physical developments as well as use of psychological tests and their statistical interpretation (particularly the correlational studies which was later followed by Karl Pearson), rating scales and questionnaires. “His most important theoretical contribution was the distinction in the ‘Structure of mind’ between a general broad ability of intelligence and special abilities entering only into narrower ranges of activity”.
The next major contributor to the foundation of educational psychology was Alfred Binet in the field of intelligence testing. With assistance of Theophile Simon, he developed the first Binet Scale. Then comes John Dewey whose contribution is rather noteworthy in the field of educational philosophy than in the general psychological field.
After Dewey, from the year 1900 to some ten or twelve years more, educational psychology remained more or less in incubation till Edward L. Thorndike came out with his revolutionary ‘laws of learning’.
He was possibly the first man to be called an educational psychologist in the modern sense of the term. He studied the art and science of learning very systematically and consistently. Then joined Woodworth with Thorndike and together they worked on transfer of training at the turn of the century.
Thorndike then published three volumes of Educational Psychology between 1913-14 consisting of his original work arising from experimental research. His studies in various related fields of education opened up new vistas to be trekked by later educational psychologists.
2. Scope of Educational Psychology:
Educational psychology embraced over the years various fields of education e.g. intelligence testing, mental abilities, achievement testing, child psychology, developmental psychology, school performance, mental deficiency, curriculum, personality, character, educational measurement and so on and so forth.
In 1910, the Journal of Educational Psychology was first published, to reveal experimental researches on various psychological issues regarding education and their interpretations.
In the recent past the field of educational psychology has become more complex as the vision of what it encompasses has broadened. Originally concerned with learning and measurement its scope has been extended with each succeeding generation to the point where now the newest extension is in social-educational field and a new branch emerged in educational psychology known as educational social psychology.
In conclusion, we may note that the aim of educational psychology is to apply psychological concepts and principles in order to improve educational practice. Educational psychology that has evolved as a new discipline tends to represent all the areas within psychology in general.
These include some distinct areas dealing with human development, individual difference in ability, aptitude and temperament, perception, motivation, learning, thinking, problem-solving, psychopathology, the dynamics of personality and group interactional processes.
The educational scientists have employed two strategies for applying psychology in education. Consequently, two kinds of researches had been advanced in the field of educational psychology; the first is the direct experimental investigation of learning in laboratory and school settings.
The second has been an attempt to distil from basic psychological research the educational proceedings to be employed in teaching-learning situation, implication of learning in its broader perspective (formal and informal learning), and also human nature and its interactions.
In this process educational psychology deals not only with the individual’s own psychology and its functioning, but also an awareness of his interacting counterpart, the changing environment—both physical and social.
Any educational endeavour is actually a learning situation; the task of educational psychology is to study the learner in that situation. The first learning situation outside the family a child (or a learner) encounters is the school, which is again teaching-learning condition oriented. The teacher’s duty in this setting is to apply the general propositions received from psychology and apply them in the classroom.
But not one single strategy employed so far had yielded any fruitful result. A more practical oriented strategy is required in order to synthesize the learner, the teacher the instructional techniques and the educational managers on the one hand and producing qualified students to meet the demand of the day, on the other.
The world we live in today is shaped to a considerable degree by the decisions people make—individually and collectively. Any decision-making needs possessing some knowledge and use them in solving problems. In other words, the kind of perceiving, thinking and evaluating that goes into the problem solving has to be considered.
Historically, possession of knowledge and its utilization are learned during the developmental years of the children through interacting with parents, employers, religious and political leaders as well as teachers in the classroom.
The interaction with the teachers is no less important in the process of our lifelong learning even if the exposure to school be brief and transitory (this is stated considering the number of dropouts at the school level in our country). It has an impact in their lives, nevertheless.
Specially in the developing countries like India and South Asia the involvement of young people with teachers and schools is certainly increasing as revealed by survey reports at Governmental level for the last two decades. Teachers do play an active role in the teaching-learning system.
It will not be unreasonable to say that the kind of future we and our children will experience is influenced more by teachers than by any other professional groups.
The world of tomorrow will be shaped not only by what today’s children are learning from their teachers, but also by the ‘way’ they are learning it, for it is the way knowledge is presented that determines how children will learn to solve problems. Thus according to Lindgren (1980), the ‘how’ of teaching includes not only teaching methods, but also teachers’ attitudes and values, and full range of teachers’ classroom behaviours.
They serve as ‘models’ whose way of thinking, behaving, attitudes, advice and manner, the process of acquiring and imparting knowledge are imitated in more ways than they can imagine. Hence they are influential far beyond their immediate awareness. Therefore, it is necessary that the teachers know consciously their personal psychology in order to understand the psychology of their students.
3. Meaning of Educational Psychology:
A text book point of view:
Educational Psychology may be defined as the study of the human mind and behaviour with relation to teaching-learning process. Educational Psychology involves all the people who learn and help learning, teach and help teaching.
Hence educators, psychologists, teachers, learners, parents and friends, workers and bosses, relatives and associates all form part and parcel of this process, because all of us try to learn and teach. We learn nearly all our life and watch others learn. We try to teach each other, trying to arrange conditions to achieve success in life.
In the process we try to modify in same way our aims and objectives, beliefs, values, attitudes, aspirations, practices and skills. Sometimes we do it unaware and, therefore, fail to approach in a systematic and effective way. But when the same thing is being done consciously and with a voluntary effort the process becomes professional and sophisticated— teaching becomes institutionalized.
But the classroom, in spite of undergoing a conscious formal processing, is not immune to the deficiencies mentioned above. As we inquire and wonder “why” such things happen even when we follow a set rule, there remains the scope to discover what other kinds of arrangements have a greater probability of success. “This is what texts in educational psychology are about”.
Educational psychologist believes that the answer to such “why” question can be given with a thorough knowledge of the psychological principles underlying all learning activities. So, how does psychological inquiries contribute to education is the theme of educational psychology.
The psychologist observes systematically about the traditional educational practices and ideas, their strength and weaknesses, and improve upon them, if necessary. They evaluate methods and techniques, offers concepts for the teachers and curriculum-makers to consider while framing plans.
That endeavour helps the educator to become applied scientists, who would make judgment about values and assumptions, about taking educational decisions, encouraging use of advanced educational technology to enrich the educative process. Educational psychology as a behavioural science contributes to the soundness of both traditional and up-to-date technology.
The subject matter of educational psychology, though restricted to teaching-learning domain only, is an applied field of the broader principles of psychology, which deals with human behaviour, in general.
According to the behaviouristic concepts in education the term behaviour can be subclassified into such terms as exploratory, impulsive, involuntary, learned, reflexive, purposeful, emotional, patternized risk taking, reinforced, modified and shaped behaviour, and extinction of a behaviour.
The aims of educational psychology are understanding, predicting and controlling behaviour in learning situations. So far as learning process is concerned, three sections of psychology contributed most in evolving the scope of it. These three styles have been distinguished as behaviouristic, humanistic and cognitive-developmental. “Behaviourism seeks to develop firm conclusions from objective evidence, and avoids discussion of internal psychological processes.”
This view is a product of the protect lodged by Watson long ago in the history of psychology when psychology used to be defined as the science of soul or mind, derived from the word psyche. Soon the scientists and educators realized that the mind, as such, is difficult to study, observable behaviour is more easily analyzed as a clue to person’s ideas, knowledge, feelings and other inert mental processes.
Humanistic psychology emphasizes inner feelings and interpretations. Wishing to explain broad phenomena, the humanist accepts wide variety of data, including naturalistic observation. “The cognitive-developmental psychologist sees the person as actively engaging his environment, thinking about his experience, and growing as a result.”
4. Aspects of Educational Psychology:
All psychologists observe behaviuor of the learner. Strict behaviourist in the learning situation will only restrict his observation on what is seen, and what can be recorded objectively. The strict behaviourist relies only on responses given to a stimulus, where reasoning is cautious and conclusions are limited to observable behaviour; i.e. he notices only what the learner ‘does’ without any reference to inner mental states. “He concentrates on aspects of the situation that can be experimentally altered and controlled”.
A major figure in the behaviouristic much of his research on operant conditioning, which was carried on by his followers subsequently, was based mainly on how rewards—which he called ‘rein-forcers’— affect responses.
The behaviouristic emphasis is summed up in the following assumptions or working hypotheses:
i. The environment can be unambiguously characterized in terms of stimuli.
ii. Behaviour can be unambiguously characterized in terms of responses. (After a stimulus is presented, an observer can say that the response did or did not occur).
iii. A class of stimuli called ‘reinforcers’ can be identified. (The reinforcer may be grains in the pigeon’s cup or the teacher’s nod of approval following the student’s response to a question. A reinforcer makes the response it follows more likely in future).
iv. Learning can be completely characterized in terms of couplings among stimuli, responses and reinforcers.
v. Unless there is definite evidence to the contrary, any type of behaviour is assumed to be learned, to be open to change when the conditions are altered, to be trainable, and to be extinguishable (in the sense that a habit can be wiped out). Psychologists in the behaviouristic tradition had had great success in dealing with some difficult practical problems.
When the reinforcement conditions can be controlled and the desired outcome is definite, behaviouristic techniques can work remarkably well. But it has its weakness too. Exceptional emphasis on objective behaviour speaks nothing about the subjective aspect of experience.
Behaviouristic technique may operate successfully and effectively in a research setting or in labortory condition, but broad and long term conditions are ignored by the strict behaviourist.
The behaviourists hardly examine the learner’s total school career—their study of learning conditions are piecemeal. Moreover, the learner’s purpose and his self-fulfilment are hard to discuss in behaviouristic language. These questions were raised by the critics of behaviourism.
As a result, a second line of behaviourism emerged in the field of educational psychology which is known as neo-behaviourism. It takes up a broad range of phenomena, and does consider cognitive process. The neo-behaviourists reinterpreted the concept of learning and behaviour, expanded the usage of reinforcement.
‘They recognized that reinforcement involves a subjective feeling — it provides information as well as pleasure’. A person learns to anticipate the consequences of his behaviour when learning gradually becomes complex, and he learns to change his behaviour accordingly which is more than stimulus-response connection.
Humanistic approach is more humane, more subjective and involves more mentalistic concepts than the objectivity oriented behaviouristic viewpoint. They accept all the terms and language which are discarded by the behaviourists.
Humanistic psychology is particularly interested in the inner states of mental processes, man’s feelings, aspirations, motives and motivation. The humanists are very much concerned with the ‘self’ of the individual, his self-awareness and self-esteem.
They see each person as a self-directing, integrated being, evolving in a unique direction as he interprets his experiences. Observation is also a method for the humanist, and he recognizes the subject as a self-observant. Their prime data rests on what a person says about his present feelings and recollection of past experiences. They count much on a person’s image of world—take them as unit rather than breaking them up as single action into stimulus and response.
Among contemporary humanistic psychologists, one of the most eminent is Erik Erikson who based his studies of American Indian tribes and of such men as Luther and Gandhi. His famous work is on ‘identity’ (Identity: Youth and Crisis, 1968). The same view has been corroborated by Abraham Maslow, who took similar position, equating healthy development with “self-actualization”. The humanistic psychologists examine the human conditions in life situations and do not restrict their observations to the well- controlled conditions only.
They prefer to observe the human behaviour in its natural setting at par with the traditions of natural scientists. For this they base their observations on biographical and anthropological studies of the whole culture or on interviews that examine the sources of a person’s lifestyle, and even on his own introspection and reflections.
They study the individual’s impressions in a social context, his value judgment of educative importance and the values that he himself incorporates. The humanists have strong views about good life and good society and, within this limitation, they are permissive on an individual’s self-determinism. It may sound romantic but in fact the humanistic psychologists are considered more democratic than the behaviouristic ones. The behaviourist-humanistic dialectic is alive in the minds of most educational psychologists when they plan an education system.
5. A Cognitive-Developmental View of Educational Psychology:
The exponent of this theory is Lee. J. Cronbach. He explains his theory first by analysing the terms involved. The first one, i.e. cognitive part, stresses the active ‘intellectual’ functioning of the person. The second stresses that behaviour develops in a ‘cumulative fashion’. Any behaviour means not only a reaction to the present circumstances but the past experiences are equally important to constitute such behaviour.
An experience when is converted into behaviour involves both cognitive and affective aspect. By ‘cognitive’ we mean understanding, reasoning, interpretation, and intellectual analysis—’to become acquainted with’. “Affective” is associated with emotions, preferences, interests and positive and negative feelings.
The contrast between the two meanings is apparent so far as an experience is concerned; any experience is coloured both with cognitive and affective elements i.e. a cognitive experience is also affective in nature.
The nature of cognitive behaviour changes as a person develops. Behaviour and attitudes evolve in part through encounters with the world; hence the developmental psychologists compare persons living in different conditions in their natural settings, like the humanistic psychologists.
The developmental psychologists, therefore, classify children, for example, either in terms of social-class background, or in terms of age groups or in terms of parent’s style of child-rearing etc.
These psychologists employ sometimes standardized conditions for making age-to-age or group-to-group comparisons like that of the behaviourists. But even in doing so the internal mental processes are equally attended to by the cognitive- developmental style. For example, external behaviour plus encoding, self-criticism and identification and such other mental processes are duly considered.
Educational psychology considers all the above approaches in determining behaviour of the learners and teachers. It helps the teachers to plan their lessons, to program their instructions, to develop insight or regarding their students.
The central implications of educational psychology leads us to ensure that:
(1) Behaviour is purposive—that whenever a person is actively engaged in tackling a problem-situation, learning takes place.
(2) Personality Development is cumulative—that “societal-demands set developmental tasks for the person at each age level. These generate needs that provide the core of motivation” i.e. motivations are culturally determined which are constituents of personality.
(3) Abilities are expressed through behaviour which enable the persons to acquire new knowledge through intelligence where concepts, techniques and attitudes work together to know the unfamiliar.
(4) Educational psychology helps teaching to be scientific, technical and professional.
It is true that the essence of teaching involves emotions, values, instantaneous judgment, and intuition which science cannot provide, because these cannot be standardized. But teaching is also a skill, which can be improved through application of scientific techniques. Some new techniques have been directly inspired by research on behaviour. A good example is computer-aided instruction.
The rationale for computer-assisted instruction rests in part on the principle of feedback or reinforcement. Clear-cut signals about the appropriateness of responses shape response patterns. The first developments were programmed instructional materials in printed forms. Nowadays the computer offers considerably better flexibility than the printed page—a technologically controlled education.
(5) Decision making, problem solving can be made easy with the application management models forwarded by modern technology (e.g. ‘automated’ vs ‘informate’ model).
6. Aims and Objectives of Educational Psychology:
Let us start this section with Gordon Allport’s caution: “One aim of education is to make available the wisdom of the past and present so that youth will be equipped to solve the problems of future”.
The general aims of educational psychology, as stated before, are understanding, predicting and controlling behaviour in learning situations. As the learning situation includes, teacher, learner, classroom environment and evaluation of their interactions, therefore, each objective can be separately treated.
The aims are closely related with the functional aspects of educational psychology. Hence the functional objectives are:
(1) To evaluate educational theories and put to application the workable part of it;
(2) To examine contemporary educational practices and suggest the modifications required;
(3) To critically examine and evaluate contemporary teaching methodology in the light of established principles of learning and motivation in varying conditions of different cultures, different environments and different facilities provided.
(4) To provide methods for researchers who are scientifically studying educational problems.
(5) To assess and modify the principles and practical operations according to the set values/beliefs and attitude of a culture and also to maintain the scope for the changes with time.
In order to point out the aims of educational psychology it is better to remember William James, who—as early as 1898— put an important question in psychology; “What we are about”? Educational psychology should provide such answer to this question as it is through learning, through experiences a behavioural change occurs and makes a man what he is.
Educators not only look to educational psychology to learn “what we are” about, but also to learn “what we should be about” in education tomorrow—it is not only to ‘be’ but to ‘become’.
But to achieve it, is a hard task. The world is changing so fast that parents and teachers now see that tomorrow is not a photocopy of yesterday, present is not the replica of the past; learning of their time is totally different from that of nowadays.
We need an image of tomorrow’s society while teaching today and in framing the aims our image must include the likelihood of radical changes—changes that we are today unable to comprehend.
Because the changes that are likely to occur in possible future is not one-sided, not singular, but plural, many-sided and global. Subject to the choices we would make innumerable arrayed options where some lines of development are more likely than others.
An eye to this will help the educators to frame future sensible goals at present time. The sensible goals signify that the development of personality or constant individual growth must take into consideration the meaning and purpose of human life.
The educationists who set the goals should remember and realize that the homo-sepiens, though primarily animals, are most advanced forms of life. Neither are they to regard people as machines, just a little higher or lower than the computer. “A major task of psychology of the future is to help humans learn how to learn and discover, perhaps to help expand the human potential”.
The identification and proper statement of the educational objectives of a lesson is the most important step in instructional planning. When a teacher knows where he is reaching, what is his specific objective, he will be able to decide how he will be designing a lesson. Therefore, getting a clear statement of educational objectives is the first step in the systematic application of psychology to education.
The setting of goals in terms of objectives i.e. to understand, to predict and to control behaviour is the behavioural objectives for the teacher. The first behavioural objective for the teacher is understanding the terms “understanding” and “knowing” and these are the key ones of the various educational objectives.
While setting instructional materials the teacher should analyse the objectives in behavioural terms, like knowing, understanding and recognizing the importance of the materials presented.
Therefore, in setting up educational objectives, the objectives are to be interpreted in such behavioural terms as:
1. Specific statement of properly stated objective.
2. Differentiating between properly stated and improperly stated objectives.
3. Expressing educational goals in terms of behaviourally stated objectives.
The test for whether a person—child or adult—”knows”, or “understands” a concept means whether he talks or act appropriately—appropriate to the statement made. In the same way to test whether the person understands a statement made for him, one must witness the fact, watch him talk and act accordingly when confronted with the test situations, or when circumstances arise in the natural course of events.
Therefore, a teacher, when imparting a concept to a student, must check all the aspects of concepts—translate them into behaviour (behavioural concepts) and then test his range of understanding (behavioural objective).
The educational objectives, then, help the educator in deciding what is required to evaluate a person’s understanding which is in essence, identifying those tests he wants his students to pass after instruction. Such understanding will also pinpoint the ‘skills’ and ‘knowledge’ which are involved in the process of understanding.
Teaching these are the educational goals interpreted as proper form for statements of educational objectives, whereas instructional objective is to teach a concept or to teach an understanding of a concept.
For example a concept of addition involves many things. “An ‘understanding’ of addition could be broken down into an understanding of part-whole relationships (Objective I), a ‘Knowledge’ of the sums and columns of rows and numbers (Objective II), an understanding of word problems involving addition (Objective III) and so on”, (ibid) Breaking down the objectives into more specific statements removes some of the vagueness, so that objectives are stated behaviourally, in terms of what student is to say or do – in terms of student’s behaviour.
The central theme of all education is learning, and the teacher’s objective is to guide and stimulate pupils in their educational growth. The teacher should look into the conditions needed for effective learning and its method of application.
The main behavioural objective of the teacher is to understand the characteristics of children and adolescents and the basic principles of learning, knowledge about the subject matter and bring all these knowledge into the classroom. Each child comes to the school equipped with experiences gathered from his environment in his own way and peculiar to himself.
He uses his experiences so gathered to accumulate variety of .them which he uses again to interpret his new environment and new experiences. Schooling should help them to reshape their concepts whenever necessary so that they may be helpful to reinterpret them in social context, thereby broadening existing concepts, developing new skills, acquire new attitudes and reorganize behaviour. This is how enriched learning takes place.
Today student-teacher objectives are often expressed explicitly as outcomes or learning. Such objectives generally include subject matter, knowledge, and learning-oriented attitudes, appreciations, interests and skills. The main and most important teacher’s objective is to help children acquire behaviour patterns that contribute to effective living.
7. Methods Used in Educational Psychology:
Educational psychology—being a behavioural science— uses scientific methods of behavioural research. The commonest of all the methods is observation. Educational psychology uses observation not as common-sense view sees it.
It uses systematic observation which equates methods with research in the educational field and is also scientific in character. As such, the subject matter of educational psychology is human behaviour and every one can observe behaviour.
But educational psychology avoids subjective observation and employs the method objectively to evaluate behaviour and its modification which is a product of learning. An educational psychologist adopts systematic, objective and investigative measures in assessing the effects of learning in the pupils.
Such in-depth scientific probes are necessary if we are to explain, predict and control behaviour with any acceptable degree of accuracy. This is in short, scientific observation.
Educational research depends on the use of scientific method which need to follow five steps for its investigation. These steps are:
(1) Formulating the problem,
(2) Stating the hypotheses,
(3) Collection of data from respective fields,
(4) Testing the hypotheses,
(5) Interpreting and reporting the findings, and
(6) Applying the findings. Researches in educational psychology can be conducted in the classroom, in the laboratory or in the outer field as is necessary.
Laboratory research has sometimes been referred to as pure research, while that conducted in the classroom is known as applied research.
The use of scientific methods in educational psychology has produced profound changes in organization and management of school, curriculum, syllabus making, learning materials, audio-visual aids, effective lesson planning and instruction methods.
A number of scientific teaching methods have been tried out in the classroom researches to get effectiveness in teaching e.g. discovery method, the learner- centered method, the Socratic method, the project method, the laboratory method or the tutorial method—based upon various conditions with various subject matters and with various kinds of students.
However, the detailed descriptions will be available in books on research methodology—which deal with the introduction, improvement and either rejection or retention of a particular method or combination of them as required by the teacher while imparting instruction. The researchers also use the methods in order to reach to any conclusion following a hypothesis or an assumption they adopt.