What are the Nature and Aims of Educational Psychology?

Nature of educational psychology

Nature of educational psychology is scientific, as it uses scientific methods. Following are the essential elements of science:

1. Scientific Method

A science makes use of the scientific method.

2. Factuality

Science is the study of facts, the search for true facts.

3. Universality

Scientific laws are universal.

4. Validity

Scientific laws are also valid. They are valid at all times and in all places. They are found to be invariably true. They are open to examination at all times.

5. Discovery of Cause and Effect Relationship

Science studies cause and effect relationship, it searches for cause and effect relationship in its material. On the basis of such relationships it creates universal and valid laws.

6. Prediction

Science makes predictions.

On the basis of above criteria of science we find that educational psychology is a science as it possesses all the characteristics of being a science.

The nature of educational psychology is scientific as it employs scientific method in the study of behavior of the learner in an educational environment. Educational psychology makes use of scientific techniques such as observation, experimentation, case history, interview and projective techniques. Thus, educational psychology as a science is systematic as its procedures are orderly.

Educational Psychology is Empirical and Factual

I. It is a body of facts or information that has resulted from observations and investigations. Its conclusions are objective and unprejudiced.

II. It is one of the applied branches of psychology. It studies the behaviour of the learner in relation to learning situation.

III. It has developed a methodology by which investigations are made, information is discovered hypothesis tested and theories are derived.

IV. It is a positive science of human behaviour. Its function is to describe, control and predict human behaviour. Human behaviour is quite dynamic and unpredictable.

V. It defines cause and effect relationship and on the basis of this knowledge it analyses behaviour of the learner.

VI. After establishing cause and effect relationships concerning the behaviour of learners it becomes possible for the educational psychologist to predict the behaviour of other learners. He can predict the development of learners in future.

It is clear that educational psychology is an applied and positive science of behaviour of the learner. Its subject matter is subtle, complex and varied. As the human behaviour is unpredictable, more variable and less reliable, viewing this concept, we can say that educational psychology is not a perfect science. Educational Psychology cannot claim the same degree of validity, accuracy, objectivity and exactness as claimed by natural science.

Aims of Educational Psychology

Aims of educational psychology are parallel with aims of education. Various views have been expressed by different thinkers about these aims as given below:

According to Kuppuswamy, "The aim of educational psychology is to use psychological principles for good teaching and learning."

According to Garrison, "The aim of educational psychology is to know the behaviour of the child and to predate and control it."

According to W. A. Kelly, the following are the aims often subject to:

(1) To give an insight with teacher about the nature of child.

(2) Enlightening the teacher with the growth and development of the child.

(3) Helping the teacher in finding out ways means of social adjustment for the child.

(4) Imparting knowledge about the principle and methods of learning.

(5) Studying about the control of emotions and their educational importance.

(6) Giving knowledge about the character formation of the child.

(7) A study of the techniques of evaluation of various school subjects.

(8) A study of the psychological methods of investigation used in the field of educational psychology.

Charles Skinner has classified the aims of educational psychology as general and particular:

The General aim is to provide a body of organized facts and generalisations that will enable the teacher to realize increasingly both cultural and professional objective:

The particular aims are as follows:

(1) Creating confidence in the teacher to plan harmonious development of the child.

(2) Approaching the problems of children in a sympathetic and impartial manner.

(3) Planning education of children according to their age, ability and aptitude.

(4) Understanding the social problems of children and planning for their total social adjustment.

(5) Imparting knowledge to the teacher about the latest developments in the field of child psychology and various methods of teaching.

(6) Enabling the teacher to evaluate himself and his methods of teaching.

(7) Helping the teacher to understand and analyse the behaviour of children.

(8) Helping the teacher in solving the problems that may arise in the class-room.

In other words we can say that the general aim of educational psychology is to provide a body of facts and principles which will enable the teacher to enhance and enrich his own life and which will help him to bring about improvement in the quality of instruction, thus, equipping him adequately, both culturally and professionally and the specific aims are following:-

(a) To explain the nature and characteristics of the learner.

(b) To describe the nature of learning processes.

(c) To explain the manner in which these processes may be facilitated by the teacher, and in the light of these, to explain, how he or she should teach.

(d) "To assist in defining and setting up educational objectives and standards in terms of desirable behaviour (conduct, attitudes etc.) that ought to be the goals of all teaching efforts. If the teacher knows what the desired outcomes should be, he cans set-up appropriate situations (curricular materials, teaching procedures etc.) for bringing about the wanted changes." (Skinner)

(e) To assist the teacher in the better adjustment of children and in the prevention of maladjustments.

(f) To help the teacher in defining and planning suitable guidance programmes, and functional forms of organisation and administration.

(g) To aid in developing a scientific problem solving attitude toward the problems of learning and teaching.

(h) To help in the evaluation of the outcome of the educational process.