RELEVANCY OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
The issue of relevance of educational psychology to the teacher is of great importance. The relevance emanates from the fact that teachers in the school do not teach Educational Psychology. They teach other disciplines . For example, English Language, Mathematics, Kiswahili, Biology, Geography, Physics, Chemistry etc.
These are languages, humanities, sciences and practical subjects. These are disciplines that require scholarships.
This means that a teacher may be very good in scholarship achieving high grades in the area of academic pursuit. Another teacher could be an average achiever in scholaship while another one merely passed his examinations.
Given this scenario, it is inevitable for one to wonder whether the person with excellent performance in scholarship will of necessity become a good teacher while the poor scholar consequently becomes a poor teacher.
The other issue of concern is whether teachers are born or made. Focusing on these concerns one remembers the joke about teachers and jobs, which goes like this; " those who can find jobs do them , those who do not find jobs, teach, while those who cannot teach, 'teach teachers'.
It is imperative to ponder on these issues in order to install educational psychology on its rightful place.
Therefore, it is important to point out that being a brilliant scholar does not necessarily make on a good teacher, neither does a poor scholar make a poor teacher.
The difference between a poor teacher and a good one is made by the knowledge and application of Educational Psychology.
Educational psychology equips the teacher with the scientific approach to learning and teaching.
It equips the teacher with scientific and practical insights into the various aspects of the learning-teaching process.
The scientific approach enables the teacher to know what can be done in the learning-teaching process.
He gets to know what will work and what will not work and why some approaches work while others fail totally.
The teacher gets to know and to as well as apply what consists realistic goals for learning and teaching. With this knowledge, the teacher learns to avoid the use of pre-scientific methods in the learning - teaching process.
Areas of educational psychology
Since educational psychology is an applied science, i.e. it borrows from a wider field of psychology, the following are some of the areas educational psychology borrows from.
1. Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with the mental processes that are involved in understanding behavior. These are thinking, remembering, forgetting, problem solving and perception. From this area of psychology the teacher applies the principles of enhancing memory of learned material. He also learns what to do in the learning situation in order to minimize forgetting of the learned material.
2. Developmental psychology
Developmental psychology is a science that studies the changes that take place in the lifetime of a person. The changes take place in the body from the time of conception through uterine life, infancy, early childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and later childhood, aging and dying.
Developmental changes also take place in the intellectual dimensions. These changes refer to the development of thought and the ability to acquire knowledge and use it throughout the chronological and mental ages of children. In this dimension, the child develops intellectually. For example; purgation stages of cognitive development according to Piaget, child development is based on the reflexes that are present at bail.
These reflexes lead to the sensori motor that is present from birth to two years of age. Intelligence from sensori motor stage of cognitive development, the child develops pre-operational reasoning, concrete operations and formal operational stage. These stages are well covered in the Human Development course.
Our duty here is to point out that the teacher applies the knowledge of the child which also helps the teacher to gauge the level of difficulty of content so that he can organize teaching and learning activities that present the right level of difficulty to learners.
From the Purgation theory, the teacher also derives the teaching procedures that are appropriate to the level of cognitive development of the learner. For example, if learners are concrete thinkers then the teacher uses concrete things in teaching them but if the learners are formal thinkers, then the teacher can use abstract concepts. The application of information gained from cognitive psychology makes teaching and learning very effective.
From developmental psychology the teacher understands the learner’s emotional, social and moral development. With this understanding, he is able to develop learning activities that help the learner to develop positively in these areas. This ensures that the learner is well rounded in development intellectually, physically, socially, morally, emotionally and even spiritually.
3. Social psychology
Social psychology refers to the study of social interactions and their influence on individual and group behavior.
From social psychology, the teacher understands how attitudes are acquired and changed. For example, how learners acquire positive and negative attitudes towards a teacher, a subject, a school or even the schools’ administration and how the acquired attitude affects learning and adjustment to school.
From social psychology, the teacher gains insights as to how biases and prejudices are acquired and how they can affect learning.
The teacher also acquires information regarding how friendships develop and how friendships are maintained. This has a bearing on the learners’ social adjustment and acceptance by the peers and its effects on learning.
4. Psychometric psychology
Psychometric psychology deals with the measurement theory, which equips the teachers with the skills needed in the measurement and evaluation of relevant variables. These are variables like achievement and personality traits in educational settings. Equipped with the measuring skills the teacher is able to evaluate learning and to make the necessary adjustments so that effective learning takes place.
5. Personality psychology
Personality theories are concerned with individual differences. They `explain why each learner is unique in terms of his needs and his personality traits. Information gained from the personality psychology equips the teacher with the tools he needs in terms of understanding each learner particular and learners in general.
This understanding helps the teacher to organize learning experiences that carter for each learner. This is important since the teacher deals with learners with differences in intellectual ability, emotional experience and expression, moral thinking and behavior, sociability and other traits that learners bring to class.
6. Mental hygiene
Mental hygiene refers to those factors that promote the child’s adjustment. These factors may exist in the home, in the school among peer and in the community and may operate to promote or hinder learning and adjustment. The teacher who is aware of these factors will be prepared to handle any problem that arises from any of the possible angles and help the learner to cope adequately in situations.
Guidance and counseling are major concerns of mental hygiene. The teacher who can both guide and counsel learners will help to promote appropriate methods of solving problems and dealing with the stresses of daily living in the learner.
THE CONCERNS WITH EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
WHAT IS EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY?
We cannot pretend to know educational psychology before we know what is psychology.
What is psychology?
Psychology is defined as the scientific discipline that studies animal and human behaviour and mental processes.
As a science, psychology is used in the understanding of behaviour, prediction of behaviour and control of behaviour.
Behavior can be defined as anything we do, such as thinking, talking, sneezing, sleeping, loving and so on.
Behavior psychology has many branches and approaches. The following are some of the branches of psychology:
Definition of education psychology
Looking at these branches of psychology, we can deduce that educational psychology is one of those branches of psychology. It is one of the newer branches of psychology which is slightly over a century old. [Woolfolk, 1998].
Educational psychology is defined as an applied branch of psychology concerned with the application of the principles and techniques of psychology to the solution of the problems confronting the teacher an the classroom. [Gage/Berliner, 1992]
Educational psychology is also defined as the study of what people think, do and feel as they teach and learn in a particular environment where education and training are intended to take place [Woolfolk, 1998].
As an applied branch of psychology, Educational psychology focuses on the psychological study of everyday problems of education from which the teacher derives principles, models, theories, teaching procedures and practical methods of instruction and evaluation. This involves the selection from the total field of psychology of those facts, principles and techniques, which relate to the teaching-learning process as they operate in and out of the classroom.
Although Educational Psychology borrows heavily from psychology, it has evolved as a distinct science with its own methods and theories
HOW CAN I CREATE A GOOD LEARNING ATMOSPHERE
Creating a good learning atmosphere/environment is part of the learning process that affect and effect the absorption content the learner is about to learn.
A good learning environment requires motivation, concentration, willingness and free from distractions that may be caused by the physical and psychological environment.
Allow me to classify the conditions you require to make a good atmosphere for learning as either physical or psychological.
Physical aspects deals with the conditions that are tangible or visible to change. And psychological for aspects that affect the mindset of the learner that the learner needs to train himself to control or manage.
01. CREATE A DISTRACTION FREE ENVIRONMENT
Andre Agassi is a retired American professional tennis player and former World’s No 1 in competitive sports. Throughout his career, no one was allowed to touch his tennis bag during a match. Later, in his autobiography Open, he explained that when there is disorder in his bag, there were distractions in his mind.
To improve your focus in anything (for your case, studies), creating your environment is something you want to take seriously. Removing distraction doesn’t only improve your focus, it also helps overcoming procrastination so you can practice, learn, and perform at a peak mental and physical states.
02. Practice under examination conditions
In 1940 Mikhail Botvinnik placed 5th in the USSR Chess championship. He was disappointed, and attributed his loss to the difficulty of concentrating in a ‘party like atmosphere, filled with noise and tobacco smoke’. Instead of sitting there and feeling sorry for himself he did something about it.
He practiced: Not any ordinary practice.
He practiced while getting his opponent to blow smoke in his face. He practiced with the radio on. He slept in the practice room with the windows closed.
Next competition was for the Soviet Championship.
Not only did he win, he won convincingly! He won because he practiced in match conditions and was better prepared than his opponents.
The best way to study for exams inspired by Mikhail Botvinnik would be:
03. Attempt all revision exercises in curriculum books and past examinations
I tried this myself when I was in high school. It works magic because I could meet all the learned questions in examinations.
The brighter side of this approach is that you see improvements almost immediately this builds self confidence and intrinsic motivation as you work your way to the top.
It all requires you to practice every revision test available in your curriculum text book and any past revision examinations your hands can reach and finally involve your subject teacher in case of difficult questions.
Just by using this method, I led in Chemistry and Physics in the final examinations in my school and I was also third in mathematics on overall performance.
05. Plan your exam day
Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam. This includes tools such as mathematical sets, logarithm tables, pens, pencils, geometrical sets, rulers etc. Don't leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don't know the way, or what you're supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip. If not, write down clear directions.
Work out how long it will take to get there - then add on some extra time. You really don't want to arrive having had to run halfway or feeling frazzled from losing your way. You could also make plans to travel to the exam with friends or classmates, as long as you know they're likely to be punctual.
06. Don't be afraid to fail, don't give up. Be the smartest/hardest worker in the room
When he was 15, Jack Andraka had a crazy idea. He would create a diagnostic test for Pancreatic Cancer that was better than the tests developed by scientists, research labs and billion dollar pharmaceutical companies.
Jack wrote a proposal to develop a better test. 199 research labs rejected him. I’ll repeat that — 199 labs REJECTED him. Good thing he didn’t give up. The 200th research lab — at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — accepted him. At the lab Jack Andraka developed a Pancreatic Cancer test 100 times better and 26,000 times less expensive than the current test. Jack’s invention will save tens of thousands of lives.
07. Be consistent and determined to shine, no matter what.
Carlos Tevez Speaking of Christiano Ronaldo
"Cristiano always stopped in the gym after training: for him it is an obsession and, being the best in everything, he always arrived at work early."
The former United striker went on to add that no matter how early he tried to report for club duty, Ronaldo - now plying his trade in Italy with Juventus - was always the first one through the doors.
"When the training was set for nine in the morning I arrived at eight and he was already there.
"Even if I arrived at 7:30 he was already there.
"I began to ask myself, ‘How can I get rid of this guy?’ So one day I arrived at six but he was already there! Sleepy, but he was there."
~Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, along with multiple domestic titles in England and Spain, he has also won five Ballon d'Or awards
If you want to be a success in examination tests, be like Ronaldo.
10 LAWS OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. Henry Ford
The first thing successful people do is view failure as a positive signal to success. Brendon Burchard
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Mark Twain