Psychology has played a vital role in transforming today’s education system. In the old era, education was a privilege reserved for the upper-class and elite citizens. Gradually, however, psychology encouraged academic institutions to embrace social differences among students rather than merely accept them. As a result, education psychology now underpins most educational practices.
Before getting into how educational psychology benefits teachers, let’s see what it is.
Understanding Educational Psychology
A modern classroom is a kaleidoscope of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and classes of students, making the educational system very complex. Due to the differences and backgrounds of each student, there is no single learning approach that works for everyone. That’s where educational psychology comes in.
Psychologists working in academia focus their research on identifying how individuals understand and retain new information. Educational psychology uses theories of human development to restructure or reform instructional processes. When studying student behavior, educational psychologists combine cognitive psychology, growth psychology, counseling psychology, and social psychology.
Advancements in technology have brought rapid development in various sectors, including education. To keep up with changing times, it’s crucial our education systems also evolve to make learning more effective. Enrolling in advanced degree programs like a master’s degree in educational psychology can help you design successful curriculums that drive learning and promote student growth.
Benefits of Educational Psychology for Teachers
A teacher plays a fundamental role in the success and performance of a student. With the power to influence, empower, and motivate students, teachers are at the center of a society’s progress. Therefore, educational psychology is crucial for a teacher to perform well and bring about the desired changes in the classroom.
Although there are several benefits for teachers or prospective teachers to study educational psychology, below we have broadly divided them into two categories:
1. Insights into varying situations in the learning process
Every day and class differs from the previous one, so teachers can’t apply a standard strategy to every problem. Educational psychology can help teachers improve learning efficiency in various conditions by including these strategies below.
- Understanding individual differences
A teacher must deal with a group of students who come from varying backgrounds in any given classroom. Each characteristic and personality trait of a student differs from the next one. Therefore, a teacher needs to identify and understand different characteristics at all levels of growth and development to design efficient learning strategies. Educational psychology can help teachers identify these differences and develop innovative class lessons to cater to a larger group of students.
- Creating an environment conducive to learning
Effective learning is not just dependent on how well the teacher plans a lesson. In fact, the classroom environment also plays a significant role in how open students are to learning. Teachers must understand how to set up each classroom for productive learning processes. For instance, arrange tables and desks to maximize all students’ visibility when giving instructions. If you’re planning a group activity, allow students to pull up their seats closer to one another for discussion. Ensure the blackboard and bulletin boards are placed at the appropriate eye level and not too far from students.
But creating an environment doesn’t just mean focusing on physical spaces. You can also encourage a communal atmosphere by instilling a sense of community among your students. As a teacher, you can lead students by example. Display a caring attitude towards each pupil and see how they practice the same behavior with their class fellows.
- Selection of learning methods and strategies
Once you understand the different subgroups among your students, you can select the appropriate learning strategies that best suit them. Your teaching methods must be in-tune with your student’s progress, so no one falls behind. Educational psychology can assist teachers in identifying the proper technique that relates to the uniqueness of an individual. You can also cater to a learner’s other factors like learning styles and level of development by applying the relevant teaching strategy.
- Guide students
A teacher plays a variety of roles in student development. Besides delivering lessons, they also act as mentors to help students reach their full potential. By providing them with the proper guidance, you can assist your students in solving whatever problems they encounter. Knowledge of educational psychology offers you a bank of vocational and academic guidance needed to help students at all levels. Since individuals of varying age groups have differing concerns, a teacher must have the ability to cater to all of them.
- Evaluate learning outcomes
Teachers must also evaluate and track each child’s progress to measure their learning outcomes. Educational psychology can help teachers develop valid evaluation criteria that focus on students’ progress beyond technical evaluation. It emphasizes recognizing other student accomplishments like social skills, extracurriculars, and compliance with principles besides academic performance.
2. For the application of teaching and learning principles
Educational psychology can benefit teachers by providing tools for strategizing appropriate learning methods. It does this by helping teachers do the following:
- Establish learning objectives
Without having pre-defined objectives, a teacher can’t track a student’s progress. Since the purpose of learning is to drive changes in student behavior after the implementation of learning processes, teachers must know what they’re working to accomplish. Educational psychology provides a guideline to help teachers determine the shape of learning objectives and influence desired traits in students.
- Use of learning media
The 21st century is a great time to be a teacher because of the limitless resources. Since every student has their strengths and limitations, teachers must plan lessons keeping them in mind. For instance, some students are audio-learners while others are visual or kinesthetic learners. Educational psychology can help you utilize the appropriate instructional media from abundant resources for designing practical lessons and enhancing student progress.
- Preparing lesson schedule
Another crucial factor educational psychology focuses on is the preparation of class schedules. Teachers should draft timetables for each lesson based on their students’ psychology. For instance, most students find mathematics a challenging subject, so it’s best to place it at the start of the day when students are fresh and open-minded. You can plan an arts and crafts activity at midday to help students destress and retain upcoming lessons.
Traditional teaching strategies often rely on personal experiences and subjective perspectives. But since they may contradict scientific facts and theories, educational psychology focuses on designing systems through objective research and study.
Using results obtained from educational psychology, teachers can plan, organize, and evaluate learning activities in schools to improve student outcomes and drive advancement.