Educational Psychology: Everything You Need to Know

This is a domain of psychology that has to do with studying teaching and learning. In other words, it’s the study of how students learn and covers instructional processes, teaching methods, and individual differences in learning. The objective of educational psychology is to understand the way students learn and preserve new information.

This domain of psychology isn’t limited to the learning process of early childhood and adolescence. Instead, it covers the emotional, social, and cognitive processes too, which are involved in learning throughout an individual’s entire lifespan.

Educational psychology integrates several other disciplines, including behavioral psychology, developmental psychology, and cognitive psychology. Some major perspectives in educational psychology are:

The Behavioral Perspective

This perspective works on the theory that students will learn when they are rewarded for “good” behavior and reprimanded for “bad” behavior. For instance, teachers could give students tokens as a ‘reward’ for learning that they can exchange for popular items such as toys or candy. Though behavioral perspective can encourage learning in some cases, it has been criticized for its failure to consider aspects like emotions, attitudes, and inherent motivations for learning.

The Developmental Perspective

The emphasis of this perspective is on how students attain new skills and knowledge as they grow intellectually. By focusing on how students think at various stages of development, it becomes easier for educational psychologists to understand what they are capable of achieving at each point of their growth. This helps educators create instructional materials and methods best-suited to particular age groups.

The Cognitive Perspective

This considers how beliefs, memories, motivations, and emotions contribute to the learning process. The cognitive perspective supports the idea that students learn due to their intrinsic motivation, not because of external rewards. Its objective is to understand how students learn, think, process, and remember information. Thus, educational psychologists focusing on this perspective try to understand how students become inspired to learn, how they retain information, and how they find solutions to problems, among others.

The Constructivist Approach

This approach focuses more on the cultural and social influences that impact students’ learning. Those following the constructivist approach believe that what students already know creates the biggest impact on how they learn new information. In other words, this approach suggests that new knowledge can only be acquired and understood in terms of knowledge that students already possess.

Experiential Perspective

According to this perspective, a student’s own life experiences determine how he understands new information. The experiential perspective is similar to cognitive and constructivist perspectives as it considers the learner’s thoughts, experiences, and feelings.

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