Educational psychology is a challenging academic discipline in the educational system. It is the base to study human behavior and to guide him in the field of education. It is also an essential part of the teacher training institutions and other academic fields. It is mainly meant as the systematic study of human behavior. It deals with different problems.
Psychology has been derived from two Greek words, psyche and logos, which means the study or science of soul. But finally the term changed to behavior. So it is the positive science of behavior.
Definition of Educational Psychology:
(1) According to Skinner, “Educational psychology deals with the behavior of human beings in educational situations.”
(2) According to Stephens, “Educational psychology is the systematic study of educational growth and development of the child.”
(3) According to Crow and Crow, “Educational psychology describes and explains the learning experiences of an individual from birth through old age.”
(4) According to Kolesnik, educational psychology is “the study of those facts and principles of psychology, which help to explain and improve the process of education.”
Nature of Educational Psychology:
Is the educational psychology a science or art? The nature itself answers this question.
(1) An applied Science:
Educational psychology is an applied science, because it is the application of psychological principles of the field of education.
(2) A positive Science:
Educational psychology is a positive science, and not a normative science. This means that is just explains the educational facts as they are and does not pass judgment over them. Thus, it studies child’s nature as they are and has nothing to do with ‘ought to be’.
(3) A social Science:
Educational psychology is a social science. However, educational psychology studies the individual from educational point of view; its results are applicable to all individuals. Thus, this science has social implications.
(4) An educational Science:
Educational psychology deals with educational problems only. Thus, while general psychology deals with the behavior of the individuals in various spheres, educational psychology studies the behavior of the individual in educational spheres only.
(5) A specific Science:
The science of psychology is somehow general in nature. It studies the human mind in its entirety, whereas educational psychology selects from the whole field of general psychology only those facts and principles that are of specific significance and utility for the process of learning and teaching.
(6) A practical Science:
Educational psychology is not merely speculative in nature with no relevance to the world of reality. It is rather utilitarian and practical in nature. The educator and the teacher make use of the knowledge of educational psychology at every step. In fact, effective teaching is impossible without the knowledge of educational psychology.
(7) A growing and developing Science:
The science of educational psychology is ever growing due to constant researches in this field. This science deals with human nature, which is too deep to be proved fully. New facts about human nature are, therefore, coming to the forefront on account of researches in this field. Thus, the science of educational psychology is ever growing and developing.
(8) An academic discipline:
G. Lester Anderson is of the view that educational psychology is an academic discipline. It is focused upon the human behavior. Its results can be summarized or generalized into principles or theories. The information, the knowledge of its principle, its methodology –all that constitute the substance of educational psychology provides a base for educational theory and practice.
Education as an Art
Educational psychology helps to solve the educational problems. It gives happiness to teacher and taught. So, it has the aesthetic sense. So it is said to be an art.
Hence, the nature of educational psychology is very comprehensive and complex too.