1.3 Nature of Educational Psychology

1.3 Nature of Educational Psychology

Educational Psychology 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?”  Its nature is scientific as it has been accepted as the Science of Education. We can summarize the nature of Educational Psychology in the following ways:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Educational psychology is a social science. Like the sociologist, anthropologist, economist or political scientist, the educational psychologist studies human beings and their sociability.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

W.A. Kelly (1941) listed the nature of Educational Psychology as follows:

  • To give a knowledge of the nature of the child
  • To give understanding of the nature, aims and purposes of education
  • To give understanding of the scientific methods and procedures which have been used in arriving at the facts and principles of educational psychology
  • To present the principles and techniques of learning and teaching
  • To give training in methods of measuring abilities and achievement in school subjects
  • To give a knowledge of the growth and development of children
  • To assist in the better adjustment of children and to help them to prevent maladjustment
  • To study the educational significance and control of emotions and
  • To give an understanding of the principles and techniques of correct training.

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 settings only.