Nature and Scope of Educational Psychology
What is Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology is that branch of psychology in which the findings of psychology are applied in the field of education. It is the scientific study of human behaviour in educational situations. According to Charles. E. Skinner, “Educational psychology deals with the behaviour of human beings in educational situations”. Crow and Crow said, Educational Psychology describes and explains the learning experiences of an individual from birth through old age.” In the words of E.A. Peel, “Educational Psychology is the science of Education”. Education by all means is an attempt to mould and shape the behaviour of the pupil. It aims to produce desirable changes in him for the all-round development of his personality. The essential knowledge and skill to do this job satisfactorily is supplied by Educational Psychology. In the words of E.A. Peel, “Educational psychology helps the teacher to understand the development of his pupils, the range and limits of their capacities, the processes by which they learn and their social relationships.” (In this way, the work of the Educational Psychologist resembles with that of an Engineer, who is a technical expert. The Engineer supplies all the knowledge and skill essential for the accomplishment of the job satisfactorily… for example, construction of a bridge.). In the same way Educational Psychologists, who is a technical expert in the field of Education, supplies all the information, principles and techniques essential for: Understanding the behaviour of the pupil in response to educational environment and desired modification of his behaviour to bring an all-round development of his personality. Thus, Educational Psychology concerned primarily with understanding the processes of teaching and learning that take place within formal environments and developing ways of improving those methods. It covers important topics like learning theories; teaching methods; motivation; cognitive, emotional, and moral development; and parent-child relationships etc. In short, it is the scientific discipline that addresses the questions: “Why do some students learn more than others?” and “What can be done to improve that learning?”
NATURE OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
Its nature is scientific as it has been accepted that it is a Science of Education. We can summarize the nature of Educational Psychology in the following ways: 1. Educational Psychology is a science. (Science is a branch of study concerned with observation of facts and establishment of verifiable general laws. Science employs certain objective methods for the collection of data. It has its objectives of understanding, explaining, predicting and control of facts.) Like any other science, educational psychology has also developed objective methods of collection of data. It also aims at understanding, predicting and controlling human behaviour. 2. Educational Psychology is a natural science. An educational psychologist conducts his investigations, gathers his data and reaches his conclusions in exactly the same manner as physicist or the biologist. 3. Educational psychology is a social science. Like the sociologist, anthropologist, economist or political scientist, the educational psychologist studies human beings and their sociability. 4. Educational psychology is a positive science. Normative science like Logic or Ethics deals with facts as they ought to be. A positive science deals with facts as they are or as they operate. Educational psychology studies the child’s behaviour as it is, not, as it ought to be. So it is a positive science. 5. Educational psychology is an applied science. It is the application of psychological principles in the field of education. By applying the principles and techniques of psychology, it tries to study the behaviour and experiences of the pupils. As a branch of psychology it is parallel to any other applied psychology. For example, educational psychology draws heavily facts from such areas as developmental psychology, clinical psychology, abnormal psychology and social psychology. 6. Educational psychology is a developing or growing science. It is concerned with new and ever new researches. As research findings accumulate, educational psychologists get better insight into the child’s nature and behaviour. Thus, educational psychology is an applied, positive, social, specific and practical science. While general science deals with behaviour of the individuals in various spheres, educational psychology studies the behaviour of the individual in educational sphere only.
SCOPE OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
The scope of educational psychology is ever-growing due to constantly researches in this field. The following factors will indicate the scope of educational psychology: 1. Human Behaviour. It studies human behaviour in the educational context. Psychology is the study of behaviour and education aims at modification of behaviour. Hence the influence of Educational Psychology has to be reflected in all aspects of education. 2. Growth and development. It studies the principles governing growth and development. The insight provided by the study will help in scientifically planning and executing learner oriented programs of education. 3. The Learner. The subject-matter of educational psychology is knitted around the learner. Therefore, the need of knowing the learner and the techniques of knowing him well. The topics include – the innate abilities and capacities of the individuals, individual differences and their measurements, the overt, covert, conscious as well as unconscious behaviour of the learner, the characteristics of his growth and development and each stage beginning from childhood to adulthood. 4. The Learning Experiences. Educational Psychology helps in deciding what learning experiences are desirable, at what stage of the growth and development of the learner, so that these experiences can be acquired with a greater ease and satisfaction. 5. Learning process: After knowing the learner and deciding what learning experiences are to be provided, Educational Psychology moves on to the laws, principles and theories of learning. Other items in the learning process are remembering and forgetting, perceiving, concept formation, thinking and reasoning, problem solving, transfer of learning, ways and means of effective learning etc. 6. Learning Situation or Environment. Here we deal with the environmental factors and learning situations which come midway between the learner and the teacher. Topics like classroom climate and group dynamics, techniques and aids that facilitate learning and evaluation, techniques and practices, guidance and counseling etc. For the smooth functioning of the teaching-learning process. 7. Individual differences. It is universally accepted that every individual differs from every other individual. This idea has been brought to light by Educational Psychology.
8. Personality and adjustment. Education has been defined as the all-round development of the personality of an individual. If educational has to fulfill this function all instructional programs have to be based on the principles governing the nature and development of personality. 9. The Teacher: The teacher is a potent force is any scheme of teaching and learning process. It discusses the role of the teacher. It emphasizes the need of ‘knowing thyself’ for a teacher to play his role properly in the process of education. His conflicts, motivation. Anxiety, adjustment, level of aspiration etc. It throws light on the essential personality traits, interests, aptitudes, the characteristics of effective teaching etc. so as to inspire him for becoming a successful teacher. 10. Guidance and Counseling. Education is nothing by providing guidance and counseling required for the proper development of the child. This is very true, especially in the light of the extremely complex and problematic situation one has to face in the fast growing world. Educational psychology has come to the rescue by developing principles and practical measures helpful for providing effective guidance and counseling. We can conclude by saying that Educational Psychology is narrower in scope than general psychology. While general psychology deals with the behaviour of the individual in a general way, educational psychology in concerned with the behaviour of the learner in an educational setting.