×

3.3.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

Social, moral and cognitive development

To understand the characteristics of learners in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age, educational psychology develops and applies theories of human development. Often represented as stages through which people pass as they mature, developmental theories describe changes in mental abilities (cognition), social roles, moral reasoning, and beliefs about the nature of knowledge.

For example, educational psychologists have researched the instructional applicability of Jean Piaget’s theory of development,according to which children mature through four stages of cognitive capability. Piaget hypothesized that children are not capable of abstract logical thought until they are older than about 11 years, and therefore younger children need to be taught using concrete objects and examples.

Researchers have found that transitions, such as from concrete to abstract logical thought, do not occur at the same time in all domains. A child may be able to think abstractly about mathematics, but remain limited to concrete thought when reasoning about human relationships. Perhaps Piaget’s most enduring contribution is his insight that people actively construct their understanding through a self- regulatory process.

Individual differences and disabilities

Each person has an individual profile of characteristics, abilities and challenges that result from predisposition, learning and development. These manifests as individual differences in intelligence, creativity, cognitive style, motivation and the capacity to process information, communicate, and relate to others.

Although theories of intelligence have been discussed by philosophers since Plato, intelligence testing is an invention of educational psychology, and is coincident with the development of that discipline. Children classified as gifted are often provided with accelerated or enriched programs: Children with identified deficits may be provided with enhanced education in specific skills such as phonological awareness.In addition to basic abilities, the individual’s personality traits are also important, with people higher in conscientiousness and hope attaining superior academic achievements, even after controlling for intelligence and past performance.

Learning and cognition.

Two fundamental assumptions that underlie formal education systems are that students

  • Retain knowledge and skills they acquire in school, and
  • Can apply them in situations outside the classroom.

But are these assumptions accurate? Research has found that, even when students report not using the knowledge acquired in school, a considerable portion is retained for many years and long term retention is strongly. dependent on the initial level of mastery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *