Educational psychology is an applied branch of psychology. It is made up of two words education and psychology. Education is the change in behaviour or modification in behaviour. Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour. Thus education and psychology are closely related.
Educational psychology is the application of psychological findings in the field of education. Educational psychology is the systematic study of the development of the individual within the educational setting.
It helps the teacher to foster harmonious development of the student into a responsible and participating citizen, a sensitive and reflective human being, a productive and creative person.
Educational psychology is an applied discipline which combines the two different fields of education and psychology. It is the scientific study of human behaviour by which it can be understood, predicted and directed by education to achieve goals of life.
It is concerned primarily with learners and how they respond to various conditions they meet in school and life situations.
It selects horn the total field of psychology those facts and principles that have direct bearing upon the growth, learning and adjustment of children specifically, educational psychology is a study of human behavior as it bears upon learning and teaching activities. It is an application of principles of general psychology to the problems of Education
In a layman’s view, educational psychology is that branch of psychology which deals with the problems of education.
According to Skinner, educational psychology is that branch of science which deals with teaching and learning. According to Crow and Crow, educational psychology describes and explains the learning experiences of an individual from birth to old age.
According to Judd, educational psychology is the science which describes and explains the changes that take place in individuals as they pass through stages of development from birth to maturity.
It is concerned primarily with the study of human behaviour as it is directed under the social process of education.
On the basis of above definitions it can be concluded that educational psychology is an applied science which employs the principles and findings of psychology in the field of education.
The word Psychology is derived from two Greek words, ‘Psyche’ and ‘Logos’, “Psyche’ means soul and ‘Logos’ means science. Hence the original or etymological meaning of Psychology is the science of soul.
In due course the meanings of psychology have undergone many changes. From Science of Soul, it became ‘Science of Mind’, ‘Science of Consciousness’ and ‘Science of Behaviour’ which is its modern concept.
1. Psychology as a Science of Mind
Philosophers in the middle ages considered psychology as the science of mind. They used to distinguish between the mental and spiritual life of the individual. These philosophers, however, failed to give the exact nature and, force of the mind of the individual Hence psychology the science of mind could not progress.
2. Psychology as a Science of Soul
The earliest definition of psychology was ‘a Science of Soul’. Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Descartes interpreted psychology, according to this concept. In 16th century this meaning of psychology was rejected.
3. Psychology as a Science of Consciousness
In the 19th century psychologists like William James, William Wundt and others considered psychology as a science of consciousness. By consciousness the psychologists meant awareness or wakefulness. They, however, had different interpretations of the then wakefulness. As this definition of psychology had a very limited approach, it was not universally accepted.
4. Psychology as a Science of Behaviour
The latest and modern concept of Psychology is in times of behaviour. Behaviour is the resultant manifestation of both conscious and unconscious urges. Behaviour can be observed objectively and is a more suitable method of studying Psychology.
Modern Definitions of Psychology
Let us now acquaint ourselves with some of the definitions of Psychology:
1. ‘Psychology is the study of human nature’. (Boring Lang field).
2. ‘Psychology is the science of behaviour and experience’. (Skinner).
3. ‘Psychology is the study of human behaviour and human relationships’. (Crow and Crow).
4. Psychology undertakes to make a scientific study of the individual considered as a unit as he really is in his dealings with other individuals and with the world.’ (Woodworth).
The most acceptable Meaning and Definition of Psychology It is in terms of behaviour. A lot of work has been done by psychologists in this field. Detailed experiments have been conducted on human behaviour. William Wundt established the first Psychological Laboratory at Leipzig in 1879.
Human behaviour is highly complex. All human beings do not behave in the same manner. They differ in abilities, likes-dislikes, interests, attitudes, emotions and sentiments. Why is it so? The science that answers such questions and studies human behaviour is called Psychology:
Classification of Psychology
Psychology can be divided into eleven branches-
1. General Psychology
It studies the behavior of human organism in general. Its scope is very large but generally it studies normal organisms. It is the mother of all other branches of Psychology.
2. Abnormal Psychology
The scope of Abnormal Psychology is limited to the study of abnormal individual only.
3. Child Psychology
It deals with the development of behaviour of the child. The child is an adult in the making. He differs from the adults very much. “His life urges, his emotions, his sentiments, his intelligence and his aspirations all differ from those of the adult individuals. Therefore, Child Psychology is a full-fledged science in itself.
4. Adult Psychology
It studies the behavior of adult humans. An adult is a mature person and his emotional, social and intellectual behaviour is not like the behavior of a child. So it is totally a separate branch of Psychology.
5. Individual Psychology
It deals with the variation in human beings. No two persons are alike. They always differ in their behaviour according to their intelligence, race and sex. They also differ in behaviour in other factors such as interest, philosophy and education.
6. Social or Group Psychology
This branch of Psychology deals with the behaviour of individual as member of a group or mob does not act in the same way as a majority of the individual members would act individually.
7. Educational Psychology
It is the most important branch of applied Psychology. It is the study of the psychological aspects of educational situations. It is study of educational problems with reference to psychological facts. Psychology is science of behaviour and Education aims at modifying the behaviour in the most desirable way.
But modification of behaviour depends on some fundamental psychological laws and limitations.
Educational Psychology studies those facts and limitations. It covers the development of the child from early childhood to maturity, general facts of Psychology which may have any relation with the modification of the behaviour of the child, psychologize methods of learning, measurement of capacities, attitudes and interests and other problems of applied Psychology related to education.
8. Industrial Psychology
This is also a branch of applied Psychology. It is in fact Social Psychology with reference to work, individual as well as collective. Industrial work may be made more attractive and interesting and output of industry may be increased and improved if we exploit the finding of Industrial Psychology
This is the latest development in the field of psychology. It deals with the problems of what happens to an individual after death.
10. Experimental Psychology
It studies mental processes and behaviour in laboratories with the help of experiments.
11. Comparative Psychology
It may be named as Animal Psychology also as it is a comparative study of the behaviour of man and various animals. Animals cannot express themselves. Therefore, we can study their behaviour with the help of experiments only. It is very difficult to do some experiments on human beings.
Therefore, some of the experiments are first tried on animals and then the results are applied to human beings. The laws of learning, now applied with much success to pupils in schools, were discovered in this way.