What is Educational Psychology?
Educational Psychology is the psychological study of learning within various educational situations. It covers the psychology of teaching, as well as the newer study of social psychology within school settings. Educational psychology seeks to understand how students each learn and how they develop. Education psychology covers a broad expanse of specialties, with educational psychologists focusing on different technology used in education, how teachers develop curriculum or worksheets as well as lesson plans and rubrics within their classrooms. It also covers special education for both gifted students and those with learning disabilities.
Because educational psychology studies human development as well as learning development, many psychologists' previous work has been applied. Piaget and the theory of learning development is incorporated as it applies to students' cognitive abilities at various ages, best allowing teachers to use teacher resources wisely for any age group. Kohlberg is equally implicated for moral development of students and how that contributes to their success or lack thereof within various learning environments with different learning materials present. Steiner's work correlates child development encompassing theories of Kohlberg, Piaget, as well as physical and emotional development.
Seeing as individuals are unique in their construction, their abilities or challenges derived from learning or development are also unique. Educational psychology is responsible for understanding disabilities such as ADHD, dyslexia, speech impediments, hearing impairments, or any level of mental retardation. It is also responsible for understanding gifted intelligences and creativity.
To understand these, intelligence tests are administered, most famously being the Stanford-Binet and WISC IQ tests. This allows for broader understanding of economic affects on learning too. Major concepts within Education Psychology are learning and cognition. This covers formal education systems, whether private or public, and how students within these systems retain any information or skills learned, and how they are able to apply those skills or that information outside of the their classroom. Motivation covers a large portion of study as individual motivation internally affects how a student would behave and thus how well they are able to learn within certain settings.
The behavioral perspective studies how teachers are able to alter a student's behavior through conditioning. The cognitive perspective seeks to understand memory and how that relates to a student's ability to process, store, and retrieve, or forget learned information. It also relates how different beliefs, emotions, as well as individual memories or motivations might contribute. The development perspective links cognitive development and education by aiming to aid students in their acquisition of knowledge as well as their organization of said knowledge. Changes in cognition will alter a student's ability to progress from low to high understandings and the development perspective concerns itself with understanding how those changes take place as well as how individual differences would affect a student's organization and abilities. The perspective of social cognition determines how behavior, cognition, and social constructs will affect learning. The last perspective of educational psychology is the constructivist perspective which focuses on how known information and experiences contribute to a student's ability to learn new concepts and solve problems.
More Information On Educational Psychology
- 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing
- Educational Psychology Interactive
- School Mental Health Project
- University of Minnesota Dept. of Educational Psychology