Scope of a subject implies its field of study. Speaking in specific terms, it means the areas of study that are included in a particular subject.
The scope of Educational Psychology is wide and ever- increasing. Educational Psychology is securing greater and greater importance in the field of education. The following facts may be mentioned which indicate the scope of Educational Psychology:
1. Human Behaviour
It studies human behaviour in educational situations. Psychology is the study of behaviour, and education deals with the modification of behaviour; hence, Educational Psychology pervades the whole field of education.
2. Growth and Development
A human individual passes through a number of developmental stages. Educational Psycho- logy deals with data and principles related to growth and development. This is one of the major issues which fall within the scope of Educational Psychology. In order to study human behaviour, educational psychology must collect data about characteristics of physical, mental, social, and emotional and language development of the individual at different stages of development, namely, infancy, childhood and adolescence stage.
3. Learning Process
It studies the Laws of Learning. Learning is a major phenomenon in education. It studies how learning can take place most effectively and economically. As a complementary to this aspect, the other topics included are interest, attention, motivation, memory and forgetting, habit and transfer of training etc.
4. Heredity and Environment
Educational psychology studies the effects of Heredity and Environment. To what extent heredity and environment contribute towards the growth of the individual, and how this knowledge can be made use of for bringing about the optimum development of the child, form a salient feature of the scope of Educational Psychology.
5. Development and Adjustment of Personality
Educational Psychology deals with the nature and development of the personality of an individual. In fact, Education has been defined as an all-round development of the personality of an individual. Personality development also implies a well- adjusted personality.
6. Individual Differences
Every individual differs from every other individual in one of the fundamental facts of human nature. This has been brought to light by Educational Psychology. This one fact has revolutionised the concept and process of education.
7. Intelligence and its Measurement
The scope of Educational Psychology includes the study of the nature of intelligence as well as its measurement. This is of utmost importance for a teacher or an educator.
8. Providing Guidance and Counseling
This is one of the most important fields or areas of study included in the field of Educational Psychology. Education is nothing but providing guidance to the growing child. Thus, guidance forms an important aspect of Educational Psychology.
9. Group Dynamics
The problem of group behaviour and group mind also falls within the scope of educational psychology. Man, as we are told, is a social animal. He wants to be the member of some social group because he cannot live in isolation. In a group, the behaviour of individual is totally different from his individual behaviour.
Group behaviour affects the behaviour of the child and the individual, in return, affects the behaviour of the group. That is to say, in the group behaviour or group life there is two way traffic. Educational psychology deals with the problem of groups and gangs in the school.
10. The Problems of Exceptional Children
An exceptional child is one who deviates from the normal either on the positive side or on the negative side and for whom special educational programme is to- be arranged. There are intellectually exceptional such as gifted, backward, mentally restarted, slow learners.
There are physically exceptional such as handicapped or suffering from some physical ailment. Such type of children develops complexes and they do not feel free in the company of other children. The child of this category should be studied properly by the teacher and should be treated for a particular ailment and the aim should be hate the sin and not the sinner. Hence this also comes under the scope of Educational Psychology.
In addition to these, many other aspects of education, growth, development, personality and character formation, adjustment, causes of maladjustment, and their remedies, mental hygiene and growth of a balanced personality are included in the field of Educational Psychology.
According to Lindgren, ‘the subject matter of educational psychology’ includes three focal points of education which are
1. the learner
2. the learning process
3. the learning situation
1. The Learner
The learner is the central focus of Educational Psychology. In fact, the main subject of Educational Psychology is the learner and his development. It is the learner who is the nucleus of teaching-learning process.
In the classroom, the learner exhibits a variety of behaviour patterns in which he gives expression to his emotions, his social feelings as well as a large number of factors which are determinants of his over-all behaviour. Educational psychology takes into consideration all these factors to determine his growth and development.
2. The Learning Process
All children do not show identical learning patterns. In the same classroom, one can find slow learners and quick learners. Changes are learning behaviour happen during the learning process.
It is educational psychology that lays emphasis on motivation and interest as the pre- requisites to good learning. In addition to these two factors, we can regard memory, habits intelligence and aptitude as other important factors which contribute to the learning process.
3. The Learning Situation Environment
The learning situation refers to the inside and outside environment of the classroom. The teacher is the central point of the learning situation. Teacher’s knowledge of the learning process, his knowledge of individual differences, mental hygiene, techniques of measurement and evaluation-all help create a congenial learning situation in the classroom.
Scope as delimited by Educational Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association. It may be added that in 1947, the Educational Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association appointed a committee to define and delimit the scope of Educational Psychology.
The following five areas were named:
1. Human growth and development, including the effects of heredity and environment on various aspects of the individual.
2. Learning. The nature of the learning process, factors influencing the learning process etc
3. Personality and adjustment. It included many sub-topics such as mental health of the students and the teacher’s character.
4. Measurement and evaluation, including statistics.
5. Techniques and methods of Educational Psychology.
Thus, Educational Psychology describes and explains the learning experience of an individual from birth to old age. Its subject-matter is concerned with the conditions that affect learning.