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Psychology Education Sample Essay: Scientific Study of Human Learning

libraryAny occupation demands some basic knowledge of psychology. Therefore, it is important to learn and write about psychology education in general and educational psychology in particular. An essay format, in which you collect information, research, and draw your own conclusions, would be a good exercise for you. So, below is a sample essay on educational psychology.

Educational psychology is a scientific discipline that studies the learning process in humans. Its theoretical base mainly draws information from two psychological perspectives, cognitive and behavioral. Its foundation was also built upon the findings of different disciplines, such as neurobiology, psychiatry, and medicine. The main foci of educational psychology are differences in people’s cognitive abilities, motivation, and intelligence. The discipline also studies memory, formation of concepts, attention, and more, as long as these concepts are connected with the process of learning.

Drawing from here, the main purposes of educational psychology can be defined. On the one hand, educational psychology has been studying how people learn information, and, on the other, it has been looking into the ways people are being taught. These are the global goals. The more specific ones include improving learning and education in its various aspects, such as educational management and planning of educational activities, or performance assessment. Apart from traditional education, the knowledge in psychology of learning can be utilized in organizational learning or special education. So, generally speaking, educational psychology as a part of pedagogic education provides course attendants with a better understanding of the learning process and, in the long run, gives them ideas on how educational process can be improved in schools or colleges, and even in the workplace. On the greater scale, educational psychology contributes significantly to development of social policies in educational sphere.

In cooperation with social workers, psychiatrists, teachers, and speech therapists, educational psychologies are aiming at creating and developing effective models of learning for various groups of individuals. The scientific discipline relies heavily upon quantitative methods, such as standardized tests and measurements in observation. Some believe that contemporary psychology has been mainly focused on developing measurements and tests to assess the learning capacities of the learners.

The main problem is that educational psychology courses focus mainly on learning theories that were developed over a century ago. Although such personalities as Vygotsky and Piaget made a vast contribution to the foundations of the discipline, their theories should not be the main focus of the contemporary courses, as many educational psychologists argue. The current situation in the rapidly changing world calls out for changing methods and practices through which educational psychology is taught to the teacher candidates around the globe.

Some believe that educational psychology should move from problem identification to solution-seeking. The new conceptions of learning require learning environments that are “student centered, knowledge centered, assessment centered, and community centered”. These new conceptions of learning also require that teachers understand pedagogy as it interacts with their specific content knowledge rather than simply learn a set of general teaching methods they apply to any content; recognize the role prior knowledge plays in the learning process; and understand the importance of cultural contexts in learning. Researches such as Binkley suggest that educational psychology should focus more on development of creativity, critical thinking, metacognition, collaboration skills, and information literacy in students. These will have little to do with the early theories mentioned above and currently studied by teacher candidates.

Although educational psychology has vast significance in training teacher candidates, educational psychologists, or organization managers, research shows that the current methods of teaching it are too old. They do not correspond well with the present-day real needs of educational process and focus too little on the current problems associated with human learning. Deeper understanding of the learning concepts and the ways in which human learners perceive and process information is needed.

References

  • Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R. (eds.) (1999). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
  • Farrell, P. (2010). School Psychology: Learning Lessons from History and Moving Forward. School Psychology International, 31(6): 581-598.
  • Lucas, J. L., Blazek, M. A. & Riley, A. B. (2005). The Lack of Representation of Educational Psychology and School Psychology in Introductory Psychology Textbooks. Educational Psychology, 25: 347–51.
  • North, J. L. (2001). Reframing Educational Psychology for the New Millennium. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 1 (4).
  • OECD. (2010). Investing in Human and Social Capital: New Challenges. Issues for Discussion, in OECD Education Ministerial Meeting, Paris.
  • Schleicher A. (ed.). (2012). Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World. OECD Publishing.
  • Stegemann, K. J. (2014). Confessions of an Educational Psychologist. Frontiers in Psychology, 5: 892.
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