Educational psychology is a branch of psychology; it incorporates psychological principles in the field of education. It is a broad field, covering a variety of areas. Some of its major focuses are;
* Understanding and providing for different learning styles,
* Implementing processes and strategies,
* Developing a healthy and conducive environment.
* Enhancing communication and peer-peer interaction
* Provision of individual assistance to student’s facing difficulties; this includes making Education Plans.
Educational Psychology assists psychologists and educators to assess the educational needs of the students. And Evaluation is a fundamental part of Educational Psychology in order to identify those students who are facing learning difficulties or disabilities. Assessment may be formal (psychological tests, standardized educational tests) or informal (daily observations, teacher made tests etc.) These assessments helps the educators and educational psychologist to determine the extent to which the student need specialized education – whether they can be kept in mainstream education by providing a little extra attention to their needs or should they be placed in a special education school.
Educational Psychologists guide educators to help students adjust better to their learning environments; accommodating children who have academic as well as social or physical disabilities. They plan, design and implement interventions as required by the problematic children. They may also provide counseling services for students, parents, and teachers.
Educational Psychology does not only focus on the academic issues or learning process involved during the youth; it also deals with social, emotional and cognitive processes involved in learning throughout the lifetime. It helps one understand the socio-emotional reasons an individual might be experiencing academic difficulties and how to deal with them. The role of an individual’s community and culture in their personal and hence, academic well-being are also established. Educational Psychology also incorporates motivational theories – how they may affect one’s thirst for knowledge and ways through which teachers can enhance their students’ motivation.
Educational psychology also plays a major role in curriculum development and instructional design. It assesses the practicality and effectiveness of the teaching strategies, methods and materials employed; and it strives to improve and tailor them according to the students’ needs. Technology is increasingly being incorporated in teaching as it is multidimensional – accommodating a variety of learning styles; audio visual etc. Also it helps the teacher in maintaining and improving intellectual and critical thinking skills into the classroom.
Therefore, Educational Psychology is exceedingly important in maintaining an effective learning environment for the students and educational psychologists ought to be a part of every educational system; they can help and direct students and teachers achieve their maximum potential.