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Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.
Different perspectives on human behavior can be useful when looking at topics within the field of educational psychology. Some of these include the behavioral perspective, the constructivist approach, and the experiential perspective.
Educational psychology has been influenced by a number of philosophers, psychologists, and educators. Some thinkers who had a significant influence include William James, Alfred Binet, John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Benjamin Bloom.
A master's in educational psychology can prepare you for a career working in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, government agencies, community organizations, and counseling practices. A career as an educational psychologist involves working with children, families, schools, and other community and government agencies to create programs and resources that enhance learning.
The primary focus of educational psychology is the study of how people learn. This includes exploring the instructional processes, studying individual differences in how people learn, and developing teaching methods to help people learn more effectively.
Educational psychology is important because it has the potential to help both students and teachers. It provides important information for educators to help them create educational experiences, measure learning, and improve student motivation.
Educational psychology can aid teachers in better understanding the principles of learning in order to design more engaging and effective lesson plans and classroom experiences. It can also foster a better understanding of how learning environments, social factors, and student motivation can influence how students learn.
Duque E, Gairal R, Molina S, Roca E. How the psychology of education contributes to research with a social impact on the education of students with special needs: The case of successful educational actions. Front Psychol. 2020;11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00439
Psychologists working in education study the social, emotional and cognitive processes involved in learning and apply their findings to improve the learning process. Some specialize in the educational development of a specific group of people such as children, adolescents or adults, while others focus on specific learning challenges such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia.
Find out what it takes to become a psychologist who works in an education settingThe psychology of teaching and learning helps us understand the social, emotional and cognitive processes that constitute learning throughout the lifespan.
Educational psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning. The study of learning processes, from both cognitive and behavioral perspectives, allows researchers to understand individual differences in intelligence, cognitive development, affect, motivation, self-regulation, and self-concept, as well as their role in learning. The field of educational psychology relies heavily on quantitative methods, including testing and measurement, to enhance educational activities related to instructional design, classroom management, and assessment, which serve to facilitate learning processes in various educational settings across the lifespan.
Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines. It is informed primarily by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. It is also informed by neuroscience. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education, classroom management, and student motivation. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are usually housed within faculties of education, possibly accounting for the lack of representation of educational psychology content in introductory psychology textbooks.
The field of educational psychology involves the study of memory, conceptual processes, and individual differences (via cognitive psychology) in conceptualizing new strategies for learning processes in humans. Educational psychology has been built upon theories of operant conditioning, functionalism, structuralism, constructivism, humanistic psychology, Gestalt psychology, and information processing.
Educational psychology has seen rapid growth and development as a profession in the last twenty years. School psychology began with the concept of intelligence testing leading to provisions for special education students, who could not follow the regular classroom curriculum in the early part of the 20th century. Another main focus of school psychology was to help close the gap for children of color, as the fight against racial inequality and segregation was still very prominent, during the early to mid 1900's. However, "school psychology" itself has built a fairly new profession based upon the practices and theories of several psychologists among many different fields. Educational psychologists are working side by side with psychiatrists, social workers, teachers, speech and language therapists, and counselors in an attempt to understand the questions being raised when combining behavioral, cognitive, and social psychology in the classroom setting.
As a field of study, educational psychology is fairly new and was not considered a specific practice until the 20th century. Reflections on everyday teaching and learning allowed some individuals throughout history to elaborate on developmental differences in cognition, the nature of instruction, and the transfer of knowledge and learning. These topics are important to education and, as a result, they are important in understanding human cognition, learning, and social perception.
Some of the ideas and issues pertaining to educational psychology date back to the time of Plato and Aristotle. Philosophers as well as sophists discussed the purpose of education, training of the body and the cultivation of psycho-motor skills, the formation of good character, the possibilities and limits of moral education. Some other educational topics they spoke about were the effects of music, poetry, and the other arts on the development of individual, role of teacher, and the relations between teacher and student. Plato saw knowledge acquisition as an innate ability, which evolves through experience and understanding of the world. This conception of human cognition has evolved into a continuing argument of nature vs. nurture in understanding conditioning and learning today. Aristotle, on the other hand, ascribed to the idea of knowledge by association or schema. His four laws of association included succession, contiguity, similarity, and contrast. His studies examined recall and facilitated learning processes.
In the 18th century the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau espoused a set of theories which would become highly influential in the field of education, particularly through his philosophical novel Emile, or On Education. Despite stating that the book should not be used as a practical guide to nurturing children, the pedagogical approach outlined in it was lauded by Enlightment contemporaries including Immanuel Kant and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Rousseau advocated a child-centred approach to education, and that the age of the child should be accounted for in choosing what and how to teach them. In particular he insisted on the primacy of experiential education, in order to develop the child's ability to reason autonomously. Rousseau's philosophy influenced educational reformers including Johann Bernhard Basedow, whose practice in his model school the Philanthropinum drew upon his ideas, as well as Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. More generally Rousseau's thinking had significant direct and indirect influence on the development of pedagogy in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In addition, Jean Piaget's stage-based approach to child development has been observed to have parallels to Rousseau's theories.
Philosophers of education such as Juan Vives, Johann Pestalozzi, Friedrich Fröbel, and Johann Herbart had examined, classified and judged the methods of education centuries before the beginnings of psychology in the late 1800s.
Vives introduced his educational ideas in his writing, "De anima et vita" in 1538. In this publication, Vives explores moral philosophy as a setting for his educational ideals; with this, he explains that the different parts of the soul (similar to that of Aristotle's ideas) are each responsible for different operations, which function distinctively. The first book covers the different "souls": "The Vegetative Soul;" this is the soul of nutrition, growth, and reproduction, "The Sensitive Soul," which involves the five external senses; "The Cogitative soul," which includes internal senses and cognitive facilities. The second book involves functions of the rational soul: mind, will, and memory. Lastly, the third book explains the analysis of emotions.
During the time of The Enlightenment, Pestalozzi's ideals introduced "educationalization". This created the bridge between social issues and education by introducing the idea of social issues to be solved through education. Horlacher describes the most prominent example of this during The Enlightenment to be "improving agricultural production methods." 781b155fdc