Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational treatments, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Although the terms "educational psychology" and "school psychology" are often used interchangeably, researchers and theorists are likely to be identified as educational psychologists, whereas practitioners in schools or school-related settings are identified as school psychologists. Educational psychology is concerned with the processes of educational attainment among the general population and sub-populations such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities. 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. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education and classroom management. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. (Lucas, Blazek, & Raley, 2005).
Brief Historical Background of Educational Psychology
Plato and Aristotle
Grinder traces the origins of Educational Psychology to Plato who believed thatall knowledge is innate at birth and is perfectible by experiential learningduring growth. Aristotle, Plato's student, was the first to observe that "association"among ideas facilitated understanding and recall. He believed thatcomprehension was aided by contiguity, succession, similarity and contrast. Locke
In the late 1600's, John Locke advanced the hypothesis that people learnprimarily from external forces. He believed that the mind was like a blank wastablet (tabula rasa), and that successions of simple impressions giverise to complex ideas through association and reflection. Locke is creditedwith establishing "empiricism" as a criterion for testing thevalidity of knowledge, thus providing a conceptual framework for laterdevelopment of excremental methodology in the natural and social sciences. Comenius
John Comenius (1592-1670) was a Moravian clergyman, and the first person torecognize the age differences in children's ability to learn. He also noticedthat children learn more effectively when they are involved with experiencesthat they can assimilate. Rousseau
In France, during the mid 18th century, Jean Jacques Rousseau put forth a newtheory of educational pedagogy. In his famous work Emile, published in1762, he explained his views on the benefits of health and physical exercise,and the belief that knowledge acquisition occurs though experience and thatreason and investigation should replace arbitrary authority. He proposededucating children according to their natural inclinations, impulses andfeelings. Pestalozzi
Some people consider Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) to be the firstapplied educational psychologist. He was one of the first educators whoattempted to put Rousseau's teaching into practice and teach children by drawingupon their natural interests and activities. Spencer
Herbert Spencer helped transform sentiments about pedagogy into systematictheory and method through his emphasis on the scientific study of theeducational process. Herbart
Johann Friedrich Herbart is acknowledged as the "father of scientificpedagogy" (in Grinder, 1989). He was the first scientist to distinguishinstructional process from subject matter. According to Herbart, interestdevelops when already strong and vivid ideas are...
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