Psychological Foundation of Education: Relationship of Education and Psychology and Psychological Interpretation

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Relationship of Education and Psychology

  • Psychology is considered as the scientific study of mental processes, experiences and behavior.

  • It is concerned with prediction and control of behavior.

  • Psychology is science of behavior and education is modification of behavior.

  • Therefore, Educational Psychology is concerned with the development, evaluation and application of theories and principles of human learning and instruction.

There are three elements or focal points which come under the psychological perspective of education or teaching – learning process :

  • The Learner:- The learner or the educed is the central focus of teaching – learning system.

  • Learning process:- The process by which people change their behavior, improve performance, recognize their thinking or become familiar with new concept and information or knowledge.

  • Learning situation :- The learning situation refers to the environment in which learner gets involved into various kinds of learning experiences.

Learning : Psychological Interpretation

  • Learning occurs when experience causes a relatively permanent change in an individual’s knowledge or behavior.

  • Change simply caused by maturation, such as growing taller or turning grey, do not qualify as learning.

  • Cognitive psychologists , who focus on changes in knowledge , believe learning to be a mental activity that cannot be observed directly.

  • The behavioral view generally assumes that the outcome of learning is change in behavior and emphasizes the effect of external events on individual.

  • Learning is the acquisition of habits, skills, knowledge and attitudes.

  • Learning represents progressive changes in behavior and enables him\ her to satisfy interests to goals.

Cognitive Views on Learning

  • The cognitivist explanation suggests that learning is a change in internal processes that need not necessarily be directly observable.

  • The cognitivist regards changes in thinking or emotions or in a person’s ability to respond to a particular situation as the key to learning.

  • The cognitivist perspective has been championed by:

  • Jean Piaget

  • Robert Gagne

  • Jerome Bruner

  • Vygotsky

  • David Ausubel

  • Cognitive theories or field theories believe in the role of” intervening variables “ or “intervening process” in learning.

  • Mind as an intervening variable controls and directs the behavior.

  • Field theorist make ‘cognition’ a significant aspect of cognitivist theory and looks upon the learner as a dynamic energy system into an environment.

Behaviorists Views on Learning

  • “Behaviourism” is a term coined by John B. Watson (1925 ) .

  • Behaviourism equates learning with changes in observable behaviours

  • The behaviourist explanation suggests that learning is a change in way people act overtly – observable behaviours and observable behavior change.

  • The behaviourist perspective has been championed by noted researchers and theorists such as :-

  • Ivan Pavlov

  • John Watson

  • E . L . Thorndike

  • B .F . Skinner

The behaviourist theories are also known as ‘Connectionist Theories’ or ‘Stimulus (S) Response (R) Theories.

Neobehaviourist Views on Learning

Neobehaviorism believes that change in behavior are observable and influenced by internal processes.

According to Neobehaviourism learning is guided by three principles –

  • Principle of Similarity

  • Principle of Contrast

  • Principle of Contiguity

Teaching: Psychological Perspective

  • Teaching is a complex process and teacher has to play multiple roles while trying to increase student’s learning .

  • Teacher has to be not only subject expertise but also expertise in Pedagogical content knowledge which is knowledge about the effective ways to present information to learners ,which in turn requires an awareness of what makes topics difficult to easy to learn for students of different ages and backgrounds .

  • The teacher is also considered as counsellor who is aware of the development issues and emotional as well as societal stresses of students and be available to assist students directly .

  • An effective teacher is one who transforms contents to induce or facilitate learning .

  • Thus, teaching is what one does in an attempt to facilitate learning .

Teaching Includes Three Specific Attributes

  • Teaching as an ‘ action ‘ or series of behaviours

  • Teaching as ‘ interpersonal activity ‘ involving a relationship and dynamic activity between teacher student(s)

  • Teaching as a process which ‘ intentional ‘ ,that is , it is done with a purpose

Thus, teaching is defined as “interpersonal , interactive activity , typically involving verbal communication, which is undertaken for the purpose of helping one or more students learn or change the ways in which they can or will behave”.

Significance of Psychology of Learning and Teaching

Understanding the Learner

  • The Psychology of learning and teaching deals with the problems ,processes and product of education.

  • It applies psychological method and techniques in teachings.

  • It describes the nature of education and seeks to explains it in terms of child’ inner urges ,motives and drives and the environmental influences on which he /she is subjected.

Understanding the Teaching Learning Process

  • The psychological perspective of learning and teaching helps in understanding the capacities, potentialities and limitations of the child.

  • It deals with psychological problems involved in the process of education and also with practical application of psychological principles in this process.

  • It aims at creating confidence in the teacher to plan harmonious development of the child, approach the problems of children sympathetic and impartial manner, plan education of children according to their age, ability and aptitude, evaluate himself and his\her method of teaching, understand and analyses the behavior of child, and solve the class-room learning problems.

Psychological Bases of Curriculum

  • It helps the educator to make use of knowledge of the child’s development provided by psychology while preparing the curriculum.

  • It helps teacher to proceed from psychological to logical order and teach the child keeping in view the developmental trend.

Classroom Implication

  • The psychology of learning and teaching as an applied science is concerned with helping teachers understand process of learning teaching.

  • It is concerned with the development of an understanding of three focal areas : the learner ,the learning process, the learning situation.

  • One of the important contributions that the educational psychologist can make to the understanding of education is to help teachers to broaden their concepts of education to include learner and learning process.

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