In the training of teachers it is imperative that teacher trainees be taught educational psychology because of a number of reasons. This area of training is important since it touches on key areas of the learners’ development and ability to acquire relevant skills and attitudes in life as he/she goes through school.
In this paper the writer is not trying to re-invent the wheel but wants to bring to the fore things that are paramount to teacher training that help to produce a teacher that will remain relevant to the learner of today. One such an area is the area of educational psychology.What is Psychology?
Psychology is not a new area of study. It has been with us for very long. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines psychology as “the scientific study of the mind and how it influences behaviour”. Psychology is a science that systematically studies and tries to explain the visible behaviour of human beings and how this behaviour affects the unseen mental processes that go on inside the human being and the external events in the environment.
Put simply psychology is the scientific study of the mind by observing behaviour such as weeping, running, talking, laughing, yawning, dozing, etc.What is Educational Psychology?
This is the application of psychology in the area of education i.e. on the issues that affect learners and teachers in the school environment. It is the scientific study of human bahaviour within the learning environment. It concerns itself with the learner and tries to explain the following aspects:
a) The learner’s growth and development patterns;
b) The learner’s needs, emotions, traits, and motivations;
c) Human individual differences that exist among learners and how to carter for the differences;
d) The environmental forces that affects the learners’ behaviour; and
e) The various mental processes such as thinking, memory and reasoning that affect the learning processes or if learning has an effect on these behaviour.
Educational psychology is a scientific area of study because it gets its principles, laws, tools and methods from investigation, experimentation, observation, conclusion, etc.
Educational psychology is not the only area of psychology as there are other disciplines of psychology such as developmental psychology, clinical psychology, industrial psychology, and social psychology.What is the Importance of Educational Psychology to the Teacher?
Educational psychology gives the teacher a basic understanding of the processes that go on in the mind such as motivation, learning, memory and so on. This knowledge enables the teacher to select the appropriate method of instruction to use in the class. For example what motivates a pre-school child may not be able to motivate an adolescent or high school child. Hence the method of instruction used on a pre-school child may not be the same as that for a high school child with this knowledge in the mind of the teacher.
Secondly, educational psychology enables the teacher to understand the nature of the learner: the various aspects of his growth, his environment, and what these aspects may mean to learning.
The third relevance of educational psychology lies in the fact that it helps the teacher to understand the needs, motives, needs and desires and wishes of the learners as individuals. This makes it possible for the teacher to relate the teaching material, methods, etc to the individual, and to build a better relationship with the learners since he will understand them better.
Finally, educational psychology will assist the teacher to become aware of the fact that individuals are different and therefore their needs are different. Hence the learners should be treated as individuals and not as homogeneous mass of people who react the same way.Conclusion
Educational psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it influences behaviour. It seeks to predict the behaviour of the individuals and how the different mental processes may affect such behaviour. It is a very important area of study for the teacher trainee that seeks to better understand how to deal with his learners under different situation. A study of educational psychology is recommended for every teacher trainee and everybody that seeks to work with growing children.