UNIVERSITY of SINDH
Faculty of Education, Hyderabad
University Of Sindh, Jamshoro
Psychological Perspective & Issues In Education
(Role of Research in Educational Psychology)
Salma Begum Bhurgri
Roll No. 37
M.Phil. (Education), 2016
Prof. Dr. Iftekhar Jafferi
What is educational psychology?
It could be said that the educational psychology is the study of learners (students), of the
process of learning and of teaching. It is the study of what makes a good teacher, the role of
research in education, effective program development, development, theories of learning, the
diversity of students, motivation and learning environments.
EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: A DEFINITION AND KEY CONCEPTS
It seems too simple to say that educational psychology is the psychology of learning and
teaching, and yet a majority of educational psychologists spend their time studying ways to
describe and improve learning and teaching. After reviewing the historical literature in
educational psychology, Glover and Ronning (1987, p. 14) suggested that educational
psychology includes topics that span human development, individual differences, measurement,
learning, and motivation and is both a data-driven and a theory-driven discipline. Thus, our
definition of educational psychology is the application of psychology and psychological methods
to the study of development, learning, motivation, instruction, assessment, and related issues that
influence the interaction of teaching and learning. This definition is broad because the potential
applications of educational psychology to the learning process are immense!
Today educational psychology is a vital discipline that is contributing to the education of
teachers and learners. For example, Jerome Bruner, an enduring figure in educational
psychology, recently noted the need to rethink our ideas of development, teaching, and learning
and the interactions among them. Specifically, Bruner (1996) urged educators and psychologists
to see children as thinkers, and stated:
No less than the adult, the child is thought of as holding more or less coherent "theories" not
only about the world but about her own mind and how it works. These naive theories are brought
into congruence with those of parents and teachers not through imitation, not through didactic
instruction, but by discourse, collaboration, and negotiation . . . . This model of education is
more concerned with interpretation and understanding than with the achievement of factual
knowledge or skilled performance. (1996, p. 57)
These words reflect many of the goals : Think of educational psychology as a vital tool that can
be of immeasurable help in planning, delivering, and evaluating teaching. To illustrate how the
science of educational psychology can help teachers, we'd like to identify some key concepts and
their relationship to instruction and learning. Much more will be said about each of these
concepts as you work your way through this book.
1. Understanding the Meaning of Teaching
The first key concept is the need to understand what it means to teach.
2. Knowledge of Students
The second core concept is the belief that to teach skillfully, you must have as much knowledge
about students as possible: their needs, characteristics, and differences. Section 1 of this book
introduces you to the developmental lives of children. It is devoted to tracing the cognitive and
language development of children, reflecting the diversity in our classrooms, it examines the
impact of culture, class, and gender on teaching and learning.
If you become a regular classroom teacher, you will come into contact with one or more students
who are exceptional. There are many different types of exceptional students, including the gifted
and talented, as well as students experiencing sensory handicaps, communication disorders,
physical and health impairments, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, and mental retardation.
It provides valuable information about the typical characteristics of students who are exceptional.
3. Understanding the Learning Process
A priority in educational psychology is understanding the learning process, that is; the
procedures and strategies that students use to acquire new information. Thus focuses on
behavioral explanations of learning and provides numerous examples of how this theoretical
explanation of learning can be translated into classroom practice. The cognitive analyses of
learning, mirroring current concerns with "teaching for understanding."
Understanding Educational Psychology
Today’s educational system is highly complex. There is no single learning approach or style that
works for everyone.
That’s why psychologists working in the field of education are focused on identifying and
studying learning methods to better understand how people absorb and retain new information.
Educational psychologists apply theories of human development to understand individual
learning styles and inform the instructional process. While interaction with teachers and students
in school settings is an important part of their work, it isn’t the only facet of the job. Learning is
a lifelong endeavor. People don’t only learn at school, they learn at work, in social situations and
even doing simple tasks like household chores or running errands. Psychologists working in this
subfield examine how people learn in a variety of settings to identify approaches and strategies
to make learning more effective.
RESEARCH IN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:
The role of research in educational psychology is to carefully examine certain questions about
factors that may contribute to learning. For example, a research study may examine what type
ofteaching method works best, and what decision a teacher may make about a problem or issue,
to be most successful. Various teaching programs and theories of how to teach are also
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, assessment, which serve to facilitate learning processes in various
educational settings across the lifespan.
WHY RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT
It sometimes is said that experience is the best teacher. Your own experiences and
experiences that other teachers, administrators, and experts share with you will make
you a better teacher. However, by providing you with valid information about the
best ways to teach children, research also can make you a better teacher (McMillan
& Schumacher, 2010).
We all get a great deal of knowledge from personal experience. We generalize
from what we observe and frequently turn memorable encounters into lifetime
“truths.” But how valid are these conclusions? Sometimes we err in making these
personal observations, misinterpreting what we see and hear. Chances are, you can
think of many situations in which you thought other people read you the wrong
way, just as they might have felt that you misread them. When we base information
only on personal experiences, we also aren’t always totally objective because we
sometimes make judgments that protect our ego and self-esteem (McMillan &
We get information not only from personal experiences but also from authorities
or experts. In your teaching career, you will hear many authorities and experts spell
out a “best way” to educate students. The authorities and experts, however, don’t
always agree, do they? You might hear one expert one week tell you about a reading
method that is absolutely the best, yet the next week hear another expert tout a different
method. One experienced teacher might tell you to do one thing with your
students, while another experienced teacher tells you to do the opposite.
Benefits of studying educational psychology for teachers and prospective teachers can be divided
into two aspects, namely:
A. For Studying the situation in the Learning Process
Educational psychology contributes a lot to teachers and prospective teachers to improve the
efficiency of the learning process at different conditions as below:
1. Understanding Individual Differences
A teacher must deal with a group of students in the classroom with caution, because the
characteristics of each student is different. It is therefore very important to understand the
different characteristics of students at various levels of growth and development to create
effective learning and efficient. Educational psychology can help teachers and prospective
teachers in understanding differences in student characteristics.
2. Creation of a Conducive Learning Climate in the Classroom
Good understanding of the classroom used in the learning process helps teachers to deliver
material to students effectively. Climate conducive to learning must be created by the teacher so
that the learning process can be run effectively. A teacher must know the correct principles in
teaching and learning, a different approach in teaching to the learning process better. Educational
psychology plays a role in helping teachers to create socio-emotional climate that is conducive in
the classroom, so that the process of learning in the classroom can be effective.
3. Selection of Learning Strategies and Methods
Teaching methods are based on the characteristics of students' progress. Educational psychology
can assist teachers in determining the strategy or method of learning the proper and appropriate,
and able to relate to the characteristics and uniqueness of the individual, the type of learning and
learning styles and levels of development being experienced by the learner.
4. Provide guidance to students
A teacher must play different roles in the school, not only in the implementation of learning, but
also act as mentors for students. Guidance is the kind of assistance to students to solve problems
they encounter. Knowledge of educational psychology allows teachers to provide educational
and vocational guidance necessary for students at different ages.
5. Evaluate Learning Outcomes
Teachers have to do two important activities in the classroom as teaching and evaluating. The
evaluation helps in measuring student learning outcomes. Educational psychology can help
teachers and prospective teachers in developing the evaluation of student learning that is more
just, both in the technical evaluation, compliance with the principles of evaluation and determine
the results of evaluations.
B. For the Application of the Principles of Teaching and Learning
1. Establish Learning Objectives
The purpose of learning refers to changes in student behavior that is experienced after the
implementation of the learning process. Educational psychology helps the teacher in determining
the shape of the desired behavior change as the learning objectives.
2. Use of Learning Media
Knowledge of educational psychology teachers need to plan appropriate instructional media to
be used. For example, the use of audio-visual media, so as to give a real picture to students.
3. Preparation of Lesson Schedule
Timetable should be drafted based on the psychology of the learner. For example, which is
considered difficult subjects such as mathematics students placed at the beginning of class,
where the conditions and spirit of the students were still fresh in receiving course materials.
Based on the description, it can be concluded that the overall educational psychology untu role in
helping teachers to plan, organize and evaluate teaching and learning activities in schools.