In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Meaning of Educational Psychology 2. Definitions of Educational Psychology 3. Nature 4. Objectives 5. Scope 6. Methods.
Meaning of Educational Psychology:
Educational psychology is one of the branches of psychology to study the behaviour of the learner in relation to his education. As specialized branch of psychology concerns itself with suggesting ways and means of improving the process and products of education, enabling the teacher to teach effectively and the learners to learn effectively with the minimum effort.
It is thus designated as the service of education. It has simplified the tasks and improved the efficiency of the teacher or all those connected in the process and products of education by supplying them with the essential knowledge and skills in much need the same way as science and technology has helped in making possible maximum output through minimum input in terms of time and labour in our day-to-day activities.
Definitions of Educational Psychology:
“Educational psychology is the branch of psychology which deals with teaching and learning”.
2. Crow and Crow:
“Educational psychology describes and explains learning experience of an individual from birth to old age”.
“Educational psychology is the science of education”.
The Nature of Educational Psychology:
The nature of educational psychology is regarded as scientific because it is organized, systematic and universally accepted body, wherein the facts remain constantly in search of truth through research and experimentation. Employs scientific methods in its study and its results are subjected to further verification and modification.
The following points further confirm the nature of educational psychology as scientific:
1. Laws of educational psychology are universal:
Educational psychology possesses a well-organized, systematic and universally accepted body of facts supported by the relevant psychological laws and principles.
2. Scientific methods:
Educational psychology employs scientific methods and adopts a scientific approach for studying the learner’s behaviour such as observation, experimentation, clinical investigation and generalization, etc.
3. Constant search of the truth:
The results of any study in educational psychology can be challenged and are modified or altered in terms of the latest explanations and findings. So the findings of any study are never taken as absolute and permanent.
Educational psychology does not accept hearsay and not take anything for granted. It emphasizes that essentially there is some definite causes linked with a behaviour and the causes of this behaviour are not related to supernatural phenomena.
5. Positive science:
Educational psychology is a positive science rather than a normative science.
6. Applied behavioural science:
Educational psychology is an applied/behavioural science.
7. Developing positive science:
Educational psychology cannot claim the status of a developed positive science like other natural or applied sciences. It is considered as one of the developing positive sciences of the learner’s behaviour.
Objectives of Educational Psychology:
The general objectives of educational psychology are:
1. To provide a body of facts and methods which can be used in solving teaching problems.
2. To develop a scientific and problem-solving attitude.
3. To train in thinking psychologically about educational problems.
Teaching Objectives of Educational Psychology:
1. To develop an understanding and appreciation of the dietary and environmental factors which underline learning ability.
2. To provide base for understanding the nature and principles of learning and to supply the techniques for its improvement.
3. To understand and appreciated factors influencing individual ability to learn.
4. To provide understanding of the external factors like training aids, libraries, classrooms which are largely within the control of the teacher and the institution.
5. To evaluate teaching efficiency.
6. To develop an appreciation of the individual and importance of the individual with their individual differences.
Scope of Educational Psychology:
Scope of educational psychology tells us the areas of application. In other words, it can be called the subject matter of educational psychology.
As we have seen in the introduction, it is clear that the main areas covered by educational psychology are:
2. Learning process
3. Evaluation of learning process.
When we talk about learning learner takes the central role. The process of learning depends on the learner and the teacher. While learning, he might face many problems, which can be resolved by understanding the developmental characteristics and abilities of the student.
Educational psychology as an applied branch deals with the study of the problems a learner can face and how it can be dealt with it throws light on the developmental characteristics of the learner and individual differences like in intelligence and personalities, their attitudes and interest.
It also tries to explain the causes for these individual differences which affect the learner and learning process. Educational psychology gives us information about What is learning? How learning takes place? What are the characteristics of a learner that come in the way of learning? etc.
2. Learning process:
Educational psychology provides knowledge about learning, factors that affect the process of learning such as maturation, motivation, attention, interest and may other internal and external factors. Role of a teacher in learning process is also significant.
The effectiveness of learning not only depends on the learner but also on the teacher. Educational psychology gives us information about how the learning process can be made interesting by motivating the learner with the help of reinforcement.
This branch of psychology also deals with the problems of exceptional, gifted and backward children, thereby guiding the teacher to have her own strategy of making the learning process effective.
3. Evaluation of learning process:
Some forms of evaluation inevitable in teaching. Also in all fields of activity when judgments used to be made, evaluation plays an important role. Even when we want to cross a road we make a judgment whether it is safe to cross the road. Effectiveness of learning process always depends on the evaluation as it gives the knowledge of result which helps the learner as well as the teacher to modify or correct oneself.
Educational psychology guides are by explaining the different methods of assessment contributing to the effectiveness of learning process. Knowing the learner, acquiring the essential skill in teaching and evaluation are the focal points in the study of educational psychology.
But, as the learning process is dynamic with the changing world, we come across challenging problems in this field. This shows that we cannot limit our study to a particular domain. Thus the scope of psychology is wide-spread, even if it looks like limited to certain areas.
Educational psychology like any other science, makes use of scientific methods in collecting data about learner, learning process and evaluation.
1. To get facts about learning behaviour rather than opinions.
2. To get good information so that the learner can be guided.
Educational psychology as a science of education deals with the problems of teaching and learning and helps the teacher in his task of modifying the learners behaviour and bringing about an all-round development of his personality.
Therefore, while in psychology the scope of study and the field of operation are extended to cover the behaviour of all living organisms related to all their life activities in educational psychology, the scope of such behavioural study is limited within the confines of the teaching, learning processes, i.e. studying the behaviour of the learners in relation to their educational environment and the all-round development of their personality.
Thus the subject of educational psychology must be centred around the process of teaching and learning for enabling the teacher and learner to do their jobs as satisfactory as possible. Thus educational psychology definitely covers the topics helpful in suggesting principles and techniques for the selection of the learning experience appropriate to each developmental stage of the childhood.
Hence it includes the study of the behavior of the learner in the educational environment. It also includes the topics and content which are specifically meant for improving the process and products of education mainly centred around the teaching learning process.
Therefore, this study includes:
1. In knowing the learner.
2. Enabling the teacher to know their self-strengths, limitations and to acquire essential teaching skills.
3. Selection and organization of proper learning.
4. Experiences suited to the individuality and developmental stages of the learner.
5. Suggesting suitable methods and techniques for providing the desired learning experience.
6. In arranging proper learner situation.
Methods of Educational Psychology:
Educational psychology is the scientific or systematic study of the behaviour of the learner in relation to his educational environment. This behaviour can be studied by a simple approach called observation. However, this observation method has to be adjusted depending upon the conditions in which observations have to be made, the procedure and tools adopted.
The following are the various methods of observation under different situations:
1. Introspection method:
This method which is the oldest method of studying behaviour where the learner should make a self-observation, i.e. looking inwards. For example, when a person is angry he may be asked to determine how he felt during that period of anger by his own observation.
This method is simple, direct, cheap and reveals one’s behaviour. But this method lacks reliability and can be used only for adult normal human beings. This method requires the support of other methods which are more reliable.
2. Observation method:
In this method the learner’s behaviour is observed under natural conditions by other individuals. Such observation will be interpreted according to the perception of the observer. This helps to find out behaviour by observing a person’s external behaviour.
For example, if a person frowns we can say that he is angry. But when we are studying behaviour in natural conditions we have to wait for the event to take place. This method is helpful in studying the behaviour of the children. However, this method will explain only observed behaviour, subjectivity of the investigation may affect the results.
3. Experimental method:
In this method, behaviour is observed and recorded under controlled conditions. This is done in psychological laboratory or in classrooms or outside the classrooms in certain physical or social environment. Accordingly the cause and effect relationships are established.
Theories of behaviour can be developed. These experiments require the creation of artificial environment. Therefore, the scope is limited. Human behaviour is very dynamic and unpredictable. This method is also costly and time consuming.
4. Case history method:
This method is one of the steps used in the clinical method of studying behaviour. This method is used for those who are suffering from physical or mental disorders. For this the case history has to be made of the earlier experiences of the individual which may be responsible for the present behaviour. Information is also collected from his parents, family, relatives, guardians, neighbours, friends, teachers, and from reports about the individual’s past.
This information will enable the clinical psychologists to diagnose and suggest treatment if there is any problem. However, this method will be successful only if the clinical researcher is technically efficient. The findings are limited to the individuals observed and the findings cannot be generalized.