1.2 What is Educational Psychology?

1.2 What is Educational Psychology?

Educational psychology is a 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 setting.

According to Charles. E. Skinner, “Educational psychology deals with the behaviour of human beings in educational situations”. Thus educational psychology is a behavioural science with two main references: human behaviour and education. In the words of E.A. Peel, “Educational Psychology is the science of Education”.  Education by all means is an attempt to mold 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 Psychologists 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. - In this way, it is quite reasonable to call Educational Psychology as a science and technology of Education.

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)

It seems too simple to say that educational psychology is the psychology of learning and teaching,  yet 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 understand 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; learning processes; teaching and assessment methods; instructional strategies; motivation; cognitive, emotional, and moral development; and parent-child relationships etc.