Educational psychology has made significant contributions in the field of education, especially in teaching and learning process, curriculum development, style of teaching, instructional methods and assessment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the benefits of educational psychology in teaching. The knowledge of educational psychology helps the teachers to give appropriate guidance to students, become aware of individual differences of students, design appropriate methods of teaching, assess learning outcomes, evaluate teaching methods and develop strategies for proper classroom management.
Education and psychology are interdependent. Educational psychology provides the teaching process along with concepts and theories in psychology which may assist teachers to comprehend better the process of learning. The basic premise of individual differences, which form the foundation of educational psychology, is more important from the viewpoint of education. The effective teacher pays close attention to individual differences between varied learners and applies different teaching methods to achieve quality teaching for all. In addition to teaching, teachers with solid knowledge background in psychology can guide their students in vocational and educational matters and also choose more appropriate instructional strategies for different students.
There are some teachers who face challenges in the practice, including their interaction with learners, meeting the needs of different students, presentation of course content and classroom management. Training in educational psychology can help teachers comprehend that students are not the same but unique in terms of abilities, interests, needs and attitudes at varied levels of development and growth. According to Alutu (2006), educational psychology applies psychological principles to effect positive changes in teaching strategies, curriculum, the assessment, the teacher and the learning process. Therefore, teacher qualifications in public schools should require that teachers have the degree in Educational Psychology or a recognized equivalent in China.
Benefits of Educational Psychology
Solid foundation in educational psychology may enhance the ability of faculty to give better guidance to students in different areas. The teacher is the one who knows the abilities and interests of children better than parents. A teacher plays varied roles in school, such as a leader, philosopher and guide. The knowledge of educational psychology aids the teacher to give guidance to the learners of varied age groups. By understanding the psychology of a student, such as aptitudes, achievements, abilities, interests, problems, vocational and educational plans, the students can be guided more successfully. Guidance and mental testing are essential factors in educational psychology. Scientific tests have been evolved to measure abilities and intelligence. With the assistance of these tests, educational psychologists can guide students in vocational and educational matters. The results of these tests can be used to enhance development and learning of students. The aims of education include achieve the individual’s complete development and his best adjustment to his vocation. Students are assisted in these two matters via personal guidance and vocational guidance.
The teacher does play the guidance role in teaching and role. Conscious guidance that students receive from teachers can complement and facilitate the learning process.
Guidance refers to the assistance a teacher gives a student for the purposes of achieving the learning process. Guidance is also the assistance offered to students to be able to make independent decisions, choices and adjustments (Alaji, Tijani & Abdullah 2015).
For effective teaching-learning process to occur, the teacher needs to give guidance to learners. The teacher plays a crucial role in achieving the goals of the teaching-learning process. Educational psychology assists in understanding how the process of learning in the student can be effectively guided to attain the optimal outcomes. Since several factors are considered to affect the student, knowing the potentials of students helps in supporting them learn. According to Alutu (2006), the teacher should be recognizant of the developmental status of each child, problems and style of learning. According to Veda and Martinson, guidance role provides teachers with opportunities develop deeper understanding of their students, to improve positive teacher-student interactions and to aid develop skills necessary for creating effective classroom. Alutu (2006) claimed that guidance via learning includes providing learners with appropriate tasks, giving them enough help in order to solve problem by themselves and encouraging their progress. The guidance role can be challenging due to the diversity of classrooms that exist today. Teachers need to deal with students with a variety of abilities, intellectual skills, family, cultural context and social experience.
Educational psychology helps teachers in understanding the individual differences of learners as no two students are alike. There are students with learning disabilities, gifted students and backward students, those with communication disorders, behavior disorders, sensory handicaps and other impairments. Therefore, with the knowledge of educational psychology, teachers can know which technique, procedure and methodology to adopt in each situation.
Moreover, students come to school with different attitudes about teachers, about schooling and about possibilities. In addition to that, they come from varied parenting styles, socio-economic situations, political and cultural traditions. Knowledge of educational psychology helps teachers to comprehend this diversity. Having the knowledge of the learners’ psychological characteristics helps a teacher to devise the appropriate techniques and methods of teaching. The teacher is also able to differentiate teaching methods according needs and levels of learners.
Student diversity has made teaching to be more challenging careers. Today’s teachers are more likely to teach more learners with special needs, from diverse cultural and language background and of different levels of development (Sharma & Sharma 2006). Individual students are unique in terms of abilities, interests, capabilities and intelligence at different levels of development and growth. Due to the individual differences, effective teaching is different from the one-size-fits sock. This understanding can help teachers to implement successful programs for inclusive classroom and exceptional learners. It also prepares teachers to master different strategies and perspectives, and apply them flexibly. Good instructional strategies should be supported by techniques of instructional planning, goal setting, classroom management, and so on.
The concept of constructivism stresses that individuals actively construct knowledge. John Dewey held that children are active learners and do get encouraged to explore their world, discover knowledge, think critically and reflect. The concept rejects the idea that information and new knowledge is directly poured into the minds of children like machines. Teachers explain and facilitate the process of learning by employing information that is acknowledgeable to all students. Nowadays, the concept of constructivism includes great emphasis on students working together. A teacher who holds the view of constructivism allows his teachers the opportunities to construct knowledge in a meaningful manner (Kundu & Tutoo 1998). Constructivism aims at enabling the learners capable of discovering new information.
Constructivism requires teachers to think deeply regarding methods of teaching and learning, how to conduct efficient teaching activities; make learners to construct knowledge, and to think critically about knowledge (Kundu & Tutoo 1998). Modifying teaching methods, showing student-oriented values and creating relaxed classroom teaching requires the applications of psychological principles and concepts.
Information processing is one of the theories of teaching and learning that focus on storage and retrieval of information in the memory. According to Reynolds and Miller, the minds work by creating mental representations and using cognitive processes. The mind is affected by factors like memory, perception and attention. The approaches of this perspective are commonly used in today’s classrooms to help in the teaching process. The model enables teachers to make their teaching both interesting and more efficient.
Education psychology assists teachers choose a more appropriate instructional strategy. The method of instruction should be hinged on the students’ developmental characteristics and learning style. A teacher needs to select a suitable method or device according to the learners’ needs and the learning situations (Mangal). No single technique or method is appropriate for all types of students in varied situations.
With the knowledge of psychology of students, the teacher is able to use appropriate methods o teaching for learners of varied age-groups. Educational psychologists have made major breakthroughs in the psychology of teaching and learning in actual educational settings. They have developed and tested models and methods of teaching, including the use of cooperative learning, grouping, questioning, and classroom management (Woolfolk-Hoy 2005). They have put greater emphasis on effective instructional methods that stress on learner construction of meaning. Therefore, teachers with educational psychological knowledge are able to use appropriate teaching methods or develop new teaching strategies for use in different levels of development.
Educational psychology focuses on better understanding of the physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth of children (Weiner & Craighead 2010). An effective teacher should pay close attention to educational psychology because it helps increase their efficiency. Psychology suggests instructional methods that result in time and effort saving on the part of learners.
Today’s teaching is significantly different from the one in the past. These changes affected the methods, attitudes, skill, style of teaching and the teaching-learning process. This has created difficulties and challenges to not only the teachers but also the teaching process. These changes have led to the emergence of trends like increased professionalism and greater accountability on the part of teachers, increased student diversity and instructional technology.
Student diversity implies the diversity in relation to their acquiring knowledge, behaviors, abilities, learning and thinking, background, language, personality and levels of development. A successful teacher must pay close attention to these differences and ensure learners with special needs and from diverse backgrounds are all accommodated. Teaching has changed significantly Psychology has found new principles, approaches, techniques, and methods of teaching that are useful in today’s teaching and learning process (Alaji et al 2015). Educational psychology has helped teachers understand how important recreation and play are for learners and how these methods of teachings can make learning interesting.
The increased use of technology in education has also transformed the teaching and learning process. The use of technological tools in education makes teaching and learning interesting but also challenging at the same time. These tools help teachers to teach more effectively and show learners novel ways of learning. To circumvent the challenges brought by technology, teachers should need to apply the knowledge of educational psychology in knowing how to choose and use the tools in the teaching.
Educational psychology helps a teacher to create conducive environment for learning. Excellent understanding of the learning environment utilized in the process of learning may assist teachers in delivering materials more effectively (Weiner & Craighead 2010). The teacher is responsible for creating conducive learning climate to allow the learning to take place smoothly. To achieve this, the teacher must understand the teaching-learning principles. The present-day teacher interacts with technologies and multi-personalities. These complexities require effective problem solving strategies and sound decisions.
Classroom management is important because it enables teachers to develop best instructional practices and apply them. It describes the directions and actions that teachers employ to establish an effective learning environment (Woolfolk, Winnie & Perry, 2006). Expertise and knowledge in classroom management stand for marks of expertise in teaching. Indeed, exhaustion and stress from managerial challenges and difficulties with learner behavior are major causes of burnout in teaching. Classes have unique features that affect their inhabitants regardless of how the chairs are organized (Doyle 2006). Classrooms are multi-dimensional, unpredictable, public and historical. To begin with, they are multidimensional in the sense that they are flooded with people, time pressure and tasks. Students, who differ in terms of preferences, abilities, attitudes and goals, must share learning resources, complete various tasks, move in and out of classrooms, use and re-use material (Rogers 2011). Teachers have countless exchanges with learners every single day. Secondly, events are so unpredictable. The teacher can have a carefully made plan, a ready demonstration or technology in place only to be interrupted by power interruption, loud, noisy discussion from the outside. The way the teacher handles these disruptions matters a lot. Classes are public. Students are keen to observe what follows when a rule is violated, if their teacher is fair and if there is outright favoritism. Last but not least, classes have histories in that the meaning and significance of a particular teacher student’s or teacher’s action relies partly on what has taken place before. The third time a learner comes to class late need a different feedback than the first late arrival.
The teacher’s management task is to attain order in the classroom by establishing, gaining and keeping on-task learner attention (Rogers 2011). The teacher should also initiate and maintain focus in class activities. To achieve this, the teacher must carefully plan activities, have materials read give clear signals, make appropriate academic and behavioral demands on learners, foresee problems and stop them, select and sequence activities in order to maintain student interests. Having the knowledge of educational psychology helps teachers to just do that.
Classroom management deals with the continuing academic activities set up by the instructor that encompass teaching, learning, student participation and modification of behavior. Effective management of classrooms is not solely about bring capable of controlling the class, it also concerns the ability to teach effectively, as well as, allow learners to actively engage in educational activities whilst managing the learning environment academically. Both discipline and classroom and management are parts of the daily routine. It is worth to note that there is no ideal form of management that fits all behavioral situations and all students.
Effective classroom management enhances learning. Teachers understand that expectations for social interaction and classroom conduct are learned. This understanding helps teachers to use effective classroom teaching methods and proven tenets of behavior.
Psychology assists teachers in developing tools and devices for measuring and evaluating various factors that affect behavior and performance. Educational psychology helps the teacher also to accurately measure various learning outcomes and evaluate his methods of teaching. Modifications and adjustments are made where necessary. Learning is the mental activity through which skills and knowledge, attitudes and habits are acquired, stored and used leading to progressive modification and adaptation of behavior. Learning is the ultimate goal of teaching, which is why the teacher should be concerned with the two.
To give effective guidance, direction and motivation and to effectively evaluate teaching solid knowledge in psychology is crucial. Psychology brings novel methods of assessment and evaluation. Student potential, abilities, and skills can be better measured using assessment processes based on psychological tests. In addition to facilitating effective teaching and learning process, educational psychology helps in assessment and evaluation. The teachers need to know the potentialities of each and every child and psychological tests make it possible to achieve that. After imparting knowledge and learning experiences to the learner, the teacher may need to examine the behavioral changes that occur (Mangal 2011). Thus having thee knowledge of educational psychology helps the teacher in knowing the learners’ individual differences, and to make use of the appropriate techniques and methods of evaluation. Various methods of evaluation include intelligence test, personality test, the Stanford-binet scale of intelligence test, attitude-interest test
Educational psychology, which is a branch of applied psychology, has made significant contributions to the development of today’s educational system. It gives teachers knowledge about teaching as relates to development, instructional strategies, classroom management, intelligence, assessment and individual differences of learners. In combination with knowledge about development and growth, content knowledge and knowledge of learning theories, educational psychology lays down the foundation for modern system of methods of teaching and learning.
Alaji, C, Tijani, S & Abdullah, H 2015, “Significance of educational psychology for teachers education and national development in Nigeria, An International Journal, vol.8, no.1,pp.1-10
Alutu, A 2006,The guidance role of the instructor in the teaching and learning process,” Journal of Instructional Psychology, vol 33, no.1, pp44-52
Doyle, W 2006, “Ecological Approaches to Classroom Management. In C. Evertson, & C. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of Classroom Management Research, Practice and Contemporary Issue (pp. 97-125).” Mahwah: US Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kundu, CL, & Tutoo, DN 1998, Educational psychology, Sterling Publishers: New Delhi
Mangal, SK 2011, “Advanced educational psychology,” PHILI Learning: New Delhi
Reynolds, MW & Miller, GE, 2003, “Handbook of Psychology,” Educational Psychology.vol 7, New Jersey.
Rogers, B 2011, “Classroom Behaviour: A Practical Guide to Effective Teaching, Behaviour Management and Colleague Support,” SAGE Publications: London, England.
Sharma, RN & Sharma, RK 2006, “Advanced Educational Psychology,” New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.
Veda, H. & Martinson L 2003, “The Role of the Teacher in Guidance Instructors,” Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education University of British Columbia.
Weiner, IB & Craighead, WE 2010, “The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology,” NJ, Wiley: Hoboken.
Woolfolk, AE, Winne, PH & Perry, NE 2006, “Educational Psychology,”. Toronto, Canada: Pearson.
Woolfolk-Hoy, A 2005, “Educational Psychology, 9/e, Activity Learning Edition. 2005. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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