Examining Educational Psychology

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Educational psychology is a highly important work sector as it allows a deeper understanding of how people learn. 

This essay will discuss the work sector that is educational psychology in detail regarding its importance and how beneficial this sector has been to society. The first section will briefly explain what an educational psychologist consists of and will then move to the next which will outline the origins of educational psychology. The third section will discuss how educational psychology is incredibly important and outline a couple of benefits it has had. The next section will then examine how educational psychology works in the present. Section five will then explore those that make up this work sector which will be followed by sector six discussing those who are in control within educational psychology. Closely linked to sections five and six, the next will run through the qualifications necessary for those wanting to enter this sector. Finally, this report will discuss the issues that may present themselves in this work sector and the impact new technology has had.  

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Educational psychology is devoted to the study of how people learn including differences in learning, gifted learners, and learning disabilities (Ormrod, 2008). Educational psychologists have a primary focus on working in academic settings by helping children. They often work in schools to improve the instructional processes and take into consideration the different needs certain students or institutions may need. Whilst being specialized in educational psychology, these professionals may not only rely solely on information acquired in this area. Sometimes it is important to use the research and knowledge from related areas, such a cognitive psychology, therefore allowing a deeper understanding of what is required and the best methods to use. Individuals who end up working in the field of educational psychology are very important to the educational stem by providing guidance s to how to produce a successful and beneficial educational curriculum.  

The origins of educational can be traced back to the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle who present ideas which, to this day, are still taken into consideration, such as methods of teaching. Since then, ideologies of how people learn have been developing but the two pivotal pinpoints educational psychology were Edward Thorndike and John Dewey. Dewey’s influence on education has been incredibly important as he suggested learning is not only about memorizing facts but that it was an ongoing process where individuals would slowly build up and constantly adjust to learning new knowledge as there was always change throughout society and its ideals. He believed education, during that time consisted of systems that had been formulated in the past and the “chief business of the schools is to transmit them into the new generation” (Dewey, 1938). Regarding Thorndike, who wrote the first educational psychology text in 1903, his influence has been just as vital as he produced many different teaching methods and scales for measuring an individual’s abilities in educational skills, such as handwriting. These researchers created the idea of the link between education and psychology by showing how education was a vastly complicated concept to which not everything could be taught the same.  In terms of education, every child is different due to individual and environmental factors which all contribute to how a child thinks and acts (reference). Many individuals struggle in school whether it is to do with concentration or understanding, everyone’s thought process and talents can vary. Factors such as learning and cognitive disabilities can have a huge effect on a child’s life, therefore educational psychologist must take into consideration the assistance these children may need in order to succeed. Different educational plans are formulated by these qualified professionals to create a setting in which all children can feel comfortable and learn. Not only can educational psychologists give children the opportunity to work at their full potential, but by doing so they could also improve other areas of their lives. For example, some believe literacy and education can improve the length of life, supported by Thorp’s (1998) statement that life expectancy in Latin America had increased from 40 to 70 years exactly when literary rates for adults went from 30% all the way to 85%. Furthermore, the benefits of educational psychology can also allow the teacher to attain an in depth understanding of how learning takes place, adjust methodologies to fit the needs of the learner and many more skills that contribute towards an effective and helpful education. As stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), early childhood is the most crucial time of a child’s brain development, therefore showing how, especially regarding younger children, education plays a vital role in the development. Thus, proving how essential the knowledge of educational psychology is in order to create the most beneficial educational system for all children. As years have passed, educational psychology has evolved since the ideologies of what a ‘good’ education entails and how researchers have further delved into the link with psychology. Today’s educational system has developed into a highly complex issue to which there cannot be a universal approach, as research has shown every human being learns differently. Due to many advances there are now an enormous amount of facilities in order to accommodate every child no matter what their capabilities are, whether they struggle with a learning disability or are gifted learners. Two main researchers in which a lot of today’s educational curriculum is based on are Piaget and Vygotsky. Piaget introduced the theory of conditional learning to which has proven highly effective. Vygotsky also played an important role as he proposed the child is an active learner whom should learn through practicing with a more knowledgeable other. Compared to many years ago, the role of an educational psychologists has changed. During the 1980s there were criticisms towards the preparedness of new teachers so in order get rid of these, the teacher education was reformed. Courses became a lot more centered on ‘intellectual structure and boundaries of their disciplines” (The Holmes Group, 1986). Berliner (1992) suggested it was then that educational psychologists were frequently marginalized (ref) because their role in education was moved from the crucial position it was once into the side-lines; educational psychology was no longer as crucial as previously. Overall, educational psychologists form 20% of UK registered psychologists. From this 20%, research has shown that a large percentage of educational psychologists are female (DoE, March 2019). It appears not as many men are involved in this field of work. (See table appendix). The same research paper later states how 83% of all educational psychologists are female. Regarding age, there seemed to be a tendency of male educational psychologists being older as only 8% of them were under 35 and the largest age group being 65-69. On the other hand, whilst women around a similar age still had a substantial number the biggest size group for female educational psychologists was 35-39, a much younger age range than the men’s peak. By looking at the data collected in the report it can be suggested that the sector of educational psychology is becoming a highly female dominated field. However, unlike other sectors of psychology, educational has seen an inexplicable decrease in the registration of educational psychologists since 2012 (British Psychological Society). According to the report formulated by Hannah Farndon from the BPS, the number of educational psychologists de-registering is equivalent to those registering, therefore there is no overall serious change in the present. Nevertheless, this report suggests that should the decreasing trend in educational psychology continue it could mean those de registering could outweigh those registering and cause an overall decrease of people working in this sector.  

The process to become an educational psychologist can be quite a long one as it is not simply taking part in training and entering. First, any individual wishing to become a qualified educational psychologist must complete a three-year doctoral training, which includes a practice placement for the duration of two years with a local authority or other organization. (reference) educational psychology, but many other fields is the pay inequality. Looking into differences of jobs, the average worker’s annual salary is paid to an FTSE boss in only 33 hours…. In addition, the gender pay gap is a major obstacle in various work sectors. Gender inequality, whilst being tackled, remains a major issue throughout the entire world, leaving the stereotypes that men are superior to women in many areas, including in most occupations. There Is a male culture which promotes certain beliefs that women should not be earning as much as men. Furthermore, due to the lack of female role models, women may not have the motivation need to launch their own companies, hence will end up as an employee working below a man, further reinforcing the ideology that women cannot take the lead in workplace. Educational psychology, as mentioned before, is mainly made up of females, therefore suggesting the pay could be quite low for this sector of work.

Furthermore, in comparison to other degrees, the percentage change in earning five years after graduation is significantly lower for psychology graduates than many (see appendix). (evidence)

An issue could be that many may perceive educational psychologists as placing children into one block. It is quite a broad sector therefore difficult to address every child individually. While they may place different safeguards into children with different environs mental factors, the way children experience an attribute may differ. To summarise, this report has discussed the basic aspects of what educational psychology is, who is involved and those qualifications necessary to become an educational psychologist. In addition, this report has, in detail, reflected on the importance and issues concerning this field of work and finalized with a couple of solutions in order to minimize these issues. Therefore, this article has outlined that educational psychology is crucial in order to produce a successful educational curriculum for children but also for teachers as it provides guidance and details into the understanding of how human beings learn and actions that must be taken.

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