Educational psychology serves as a
Educational psychology serves as a
foundation discipline for education. It acts as a guideline as well as a
parameter to educational development as well as the practice of the educational
process. It offers important ideas about learning and about the influences that
families, business, industry and the community have on learning this way it can
shed light on the dynamics that are involved in the learning process, not just
the actual learning that is taking place. Within Psychology itself as a
discipline, there is the Educational Psychology that majorly focuses on the
study of the learner, learning and teaching. It attempts to find out ways in
which the learner can most effectively be brought into fruitful interaction
with the material to be learned, the learning situation and the teacher who
provides the learning opportunity (Woolfolk, et. al., 2006). Therefore,
Psychology in its respect is the most fundamental aspect that importantly
contributes in a major way to the learning processes in schools as well as
Educational Psychology also enables the
teacher to know the learner. The child or the learner being the key factor in
the teaching-learning process, it is fundamental that the teacher or the
instructor understand what the learner is going through so as to be able to
know them. Educational psychology is crucial to enabling the teacher to know
the attitudes, interests, aptitudes and any other capacities and abilities that
could either be acquired by the learner (Love, 2009). Educational psychology
further offers the ability and the opportunity to the teacher to identify the
stage of development of the student as is linked with their social, emotional,
intellectual, physical and artistic needs. Knowing the level of aspiration for
every learner is also crucial for the teacher as well as identifying their
conscious and unconscious behavior so as to be able to understand the
motivations and behavior of the student (Woolfolk, et. al., 2006). The teacher
through the use of the educational psychology knowledge is further able to
realize the desires of the learner coupled with the other aspects of their
mental health crucial for the learning process (Love, 2009). It is the awareness of the mental health and
other areas of the learner that is imperative at assisting the teacher in
providing the ideal guidance and help to the learner. It is made possible by
the positive attitude formed towards the learner which is a fundamental step in
creating a healthy relationship between the child and the teacher that
significantly boosts the learning process (Love, 2009).
Curriculum development is a critical
step for any educational system to be operational. The knowledge that
Psychology provides also forms the backbone of the procedure of Curriculum
Construction (Woolfolk, et. al., 2006). The Curriculum is an essential part of
the teaching-learning process and therefore should always be accorded a lot of
focus. The Curriculum should be child-centered and fulfill the motives and
psychological needs of the individual because child capacities differ from
stage to stage. Educational psychology helps the curriculum developers as well
as the teachers to make a sound and balanced curriculum for the children all in
unison with their cognitive, physical as well as emotional wellbeing.
Part of the activities involved in
Psychology as a discipline is research. Educational psychologists conduct
research to improve the behavior of human beings in the educational situation.
Therefore, it significantly helps in developing tools and devices to measure
the performance and suggest counteractive measures thus leading to a more
enhanced, inclusive and productive educational process.
Educational Psychology helps in
professional growth, changing the attitude and innovative thinking (Woolfolk,
et. al., 2006). Inside the classroom, educational psychology has enabled the
teachers to achieve proper training of pupils by achieving and directing class
programs on human lives and also their reality. Moreover, the innovations by
the educational psychologists in the field of education may result in the
professional growth of the teacher, bring about a change of attitude among
students and parents and also result in individuals being more innovative and
critical in their thinking (Woolfolk, et. al., 2006). It helps in developing a
more individual-oriented system.
Psychology has over the years brought
about a more concise and informed understanding of the assessment strategies.
Educational psychologists have been instrumental in providing techniques that
teachers can use to determine how successful students have been in attaining
new knowledge and skills. Today, perhaps more than ever, assessing students'
knowledge and skills is a central issue in schools (Thorndike, 1912). From a
teacher's perspective, the two most relevant functions of assessment are: to
identify students who need educational or psychological assistance, as well as
to provide information to teachers that will help them develop instructional
programs to facilitate all students' functioning.
Psychology also contributes to
education through the theories it presents. These approaches help to understand
the characteristics of learners in childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old
age. These are stages that people pass through as they mature and as they
change regarding mental abilities, social roles, moral reasoning and beliefs
about the nature of knowledge (Barry, 2012).
Psychology makes ideas of educational
aims clearer. Different people have different perspectives on the goal of
education. Education is mainly viewed as a culture, discipline, efficiency,
happiness, utility, knowledge, skills, and perfection of all one's powers,
development, one's statements and probably one's thoughts (Thorndike, 1912).
Most people do not agree on either of the views, and therefore, psychology
helps by requiring us to put our notions of the aims of education into terms of
the exact changes that education is to make, and by describing for us the
changes which do occur in human beings.
Psychology helps in understanding the
means of education (Thorndike, 1912). It is because the intellects and
characters of any one's parents, teachers and friends are paramount means of
educating them. Also, the influence of any other ways, such as books, maps or
apparatus, cannot be usefully studied apart from the human nature which they
are to act upon (Thorndike, 1912).
Psychology enlarges and refines the aim
of education (Barry, 2012). Certain features of human nature may be thought to
be unimportant or even entirely valueless because of ignorance of psychology.
It has therefore been considered necessary to make physical health an important
aim of education. Psychology shares with anatomy, physiology, sociology,
anthropology, history and the other sciences that concern changes in man's
bodily or mental nature the work of providing thinkers and workers in the field
of education with knowledge of the material with which they work (Barry, 2012).
Similar to the way that science and art of agriculture depend on chemistry and
botany, so does the art of education depend on physiology and psychology.
Another contribution of psychology in
education is that it helps teachers to understand the individual differences of
students (Love, 2009). Pupils differ in their likes and dislikes as well as in
their potentialities. Therefore,
psychology tells the teacher about the individual differences among the
students in the class and also how to handle the disparities between them
Psychology also helps teachers to
understand the Influence of heredity and environment on the child. Educational
psychology helps the teacher to know that the child is a product of both the
environment and heredity. They are the two sides of a coin (Thorndike, 1912).
Both play a prominent part in the all-round development of the child. While the
child is born with some innate qualities, environment helps them to be modified
according to the requirements of the society.
Another contribution of psychology is
to provide guidance and counseling. Today guidance to a child at every stage of
life is needed because their learning styles, interests and even mental
abilities, differ from one learner to the other. The course of study the child
ought to undertake in future is a crucial question that can be answered well if
the teacher knows the psychology of the children.
Educational psychology also helps to
inculcate positive and creative discipline. The traditional slogan taken up by
the teachers was “spare the rod and spoil the child" leading to the use of
flogging as the principal means of instilling discipline in a child (Barry,
2012). As a result, the method proved very ineffective in most cases and also
led to causing physical and psychological harm to others. However, with the
increased research and understanding of educational psychology, the flogging
method that was repressive was replaced with a more efficient preventive
system. In the contemporary society, teachers adopt a cooperative and
scientific approach to modifying the behavior of the students. Emphasis is laid
on self-discipline through creative and constructive activities (Barry, 2012).
Psychology has also helped to
understand the mental health of the child. Educational Psychology helps the
teacher to know the factors responsible for mental ill-health and maladjustment
of a student and to suggest improvement thereof. Besides this, it also provides
the teacher with the necessary insight to improve his mental status to cope up
with the situation (Thorndike, 1912).
In conclusion, educational psychology
is the principal pillar upon which the modern education system that is enjoying
more success is laid upon, ensuring the physical, social and psychological
growth of the learners. The use of psychological principles in education has
also made work easier for the teachers and other stakeholders involved in the
educational sector. There has been an increased and adoption of better methods
of instilling discipline, continued support to the learners to achieve their
full potential and also created a better understanding of the physical, social
and psychological changes a learner may be experiencing. It is the
understanding that is imperative to ensuring that the student-teacher
relationship remains in good shape and also ensuring productivity of the
individual. It has helped teachers,
headmasters, administrators, inspectors, guidance and counseling workers,
social workers to significantly develop an impartial and sympathetic attitude
towards children. Therefore, educational psychology is the important
cornerstone in the education system at ensuring that learners are developed in
a holistic way ensuring that their physical, psychological, emotional and
social needs are met.