What is the Significance of Education Psychology?

(a) Rousseau, better known as the father of modern educational theory and practice psychologize the stream of education. Since then our teachers give equal stress both on subject matter and the child they teach to cite an example given by John Adams. The Master taught John Latin'.

Here the teacher should not only know Latin but also John as well. Unless he knows John he cannot have a desired change and modification over his current behaviour. Therefore the teacher must study his child and it is the knowledge of educational psychology that helps him to do so.

(b) Rousseau divides the life of an individual into four different stages namely, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood or maturity each stage has its own peculiar characteristics of development.

The teacher should have a working knowledge of these characteristics in order to adjust his teaching and organise school programmes according to the mental attainment of the students. Educational psychology gives the teacher a thorough understanding of the different stages of development.

(c) Variability from individual to individual is indeed, a universal phenomenon. Students differ from each other with respect to their ability, interest, attitude, aptitude, intelligence, etc. In our country the teacher is engaged in teaching 40 to 50 students at a time in a class. They largely differ from each other.

A uniform teaching or educational programme cannot satisfy everyone. All cannot get maximum out of the teaching of the teacher. If the teacher gives stress on gifted stress on gifted children only thereby slow learners are neglected. If care is taken for slow learners, gifted children are frustrated. Hence it is the educational psychology which assists the teacher to face such a problem in the classroom.

(d) Teaching is no longer a simple affair. However efficient the teacher may be, he cannot teach his plus properly without having a sound method of teaching. There are different methods like Monessori method, Heunistic Method or Project Method all in accordance with the child's basic nature.

Through a proper method of teaching there can be maximum transfer of knowledge and optimum learning. That's how the teacher requires the assistance of educational psychology in choosing a suitable method of teaching.

(e) Learning is the modification of behaviour. It is a life long process. At every moment we are learning. When we start our life journey, we start acquiring and changing habits, attitudes, thoughts, knowledge and skill.

All this is learning. The teacher must know the processes of learning, different kinds of learning and different conditions of learning. There are some conditions which block learning and some other that promote learning. The teacher must have a working knowledge of the various process of learning. It is educational psychology that can only help the teacher in this regard.

(f) Curriculum is another key factor in teaching-learning process. A curriculum has to cater to the life, needs and aspiration of the pupils. It must also give equal importance on national goals and objectives. It must be a relevance-based, flexible and productivity centered curriculum.

It is very difficult to satisfy all the approaches of curriculum construction. It requires experts and specialists to frame a good and ideal curriculum. An ordinary teacher cannot construct a good curriculum. It is only the knowledge of education psychology that helps him to construct a desired curriculum.

Behaviourism in Education:

Any educational planning depends on the principles of psychology. The psychologists belong to different schools of psychology like Behaviouristic school, Gestalt school of psychology, Psycho­analysis school of psychology, etc.

Behaviourism refers to a group of psychologists who emphasised the objective study of behaviour and ignored the consciousness. It developed in America thanks to the revolt against the established order of the day during early 1930.

J. B. Watson was the founder of this school. Watson was not satisfied with studying psychology in terms of mind body relations and consciousness. He wanted to make psychology objective, scientific natural. Also he wanted to apply the results of animal experimentations on humans. He believed that psychology can be defined in terms of stimulus response mechanism.

Before Watson, many other psychologists realised the significance of objective methods and experimentation. McDougall, the great English psychologist defined psychology as the science of behaviour. Cattle who had developed many psychological tests was also a supporter of Behaviourism. He professed that psychology should not be limited to the study of consciousness. W.B. Pillsbury said that psychology should be defined as the science of human behaviour.

The Behaviouristic school of psychology derived its unique characteristics in which it differs from the other schools of psychology. The following are the characteristics of behaviourism.

Behaviourism stood against the traditional psychology. It aimed at studying psychology as an objective process. He discarded the old concepts such as consciousness, mental process and image. The mentalistic concepts are imaginable and unapproachable. They are not worthy of any scientific investigation. They cannot be seen touched or studied scientifically. Behaviourism wanted to make psychology scientific mechanistic and materialistic, and magical or mystic. The concept of consciousness is just an assumption, the existence of which cannot be proved. Behaviourism therefore discarded it.

Watson rejected the method of introspection for the study of psychology, adopted by the structuralists and the functionalists. Introspection is a subjective method of studying behaviour but behaviourism described psychology as an objective study. By the method of instrospection the behaviour of animals cannot be studied.

But Watsond was primarily interested in the study of animal behaviour. Introspection deals with conscious process, but Watson wanted to study observable phenomena which could be seen, heard, smelt, etc. Introspection cannot be accurate. It is a confused method. Only a well trained person can introspect well.

Also Watson realised the usefulness and feasibility of verbal report. A person himself can give a good report about his feelings.

Watson realised significance of the functioning of the central nervous system. He gave importance on the peripheral sensory motor.

(g) After a child is born, he is associated with a new environment. It is certainly different from that of his mother's womb. Slowly he learns to adjust himself with the new environment. This is his early education. Some authorities thus say "Education is nothing but adjustment".

If a child cannot adjust himself properly with his environment, he is called maladjusted. When their needs are not satisfied, frustration arises and ultimately it results in maladjustment. It is a unique problem commonly found among the school-going children. The teacher can remove it by the knowledge of educational psychology alone.

(h) No amount of skillful learning will have any effect upon the pupils in a class, if they have not a mind to learn. As commonly said "We can drag a horse to the water but cannot make it drink'. Similarly a teacher cannot teach the pupils when they have no mind to learn. All his efforts will end in waste if he starts teaching without first motivating his pupils. Strong motivation is the key to succeed in any work that we do. An enthusiastic teacher must know the techniques of motivation in order to motivate his pupils to learn. He, therefore, depends largely on the assistance of educational psychology.

(i) After providing learning experiences to the students, the teacher wants to know how far the objectives of his teaching have been realised. The teacher requires some sound methods of measuring and exploiting the achievements of pupils objectively and to make a fair assessment of the native intelligence of the children. Educational psychology assists the teacher in opting tools and devices for the measurement of different variables or traits.

(J) A pupil cannot decide all his educational plans and programmes by himself alone. He requires the constant guidance of his teacher at every stage of his education process. "He is like a book, whose every page is blank. He has to be given guidance".

Watson upheld the subject matter of psychology as behaviour and not consciousness, Psychologists must study the overt behaviour of organism which is observable. Behavioural acts are to be described in terms of stimulus response and habit formation. The aim of psychology should be to give stimulus to produce response. Watson uses his own term for stimulus and response (reflex) stimulus is a situation which reacts on the individual. Response is an accomplishment of the individual in the given environment. Habits are composed of the many elementary reflexes.

Watsonian behaviourism believes in environmentalism. Watson denies the existence of active capacity and hereditary traits. He emphasized the importance of training in the development of instincts, habits and behavioural pattern of the individual. Though no extreme environmentalist, he recognised the importance of infancy and early childhood as the most formative period of the human life.