A child is not a statistic, roll number or a brick in the wall. Every child has a unique way to process life and learning and to impose a one-size-fits-all teaching methodology is insensitive and short-sighted. Research has repeatedly proven that every individual has a certain learning style that is informed by their upbringing, background, social and personal experiences. As educators, if we cannot address every nuance in a child’s personality, we can at least make an effort to understand the basics of educational psychology to help children learn better.
Labelling and castigating children for ‘acting out,’ ‘being difficult,’ calling them ‘emotionally unstable’ and making a bad example out of them is not unusual in schools. The damage this does to the delicate psyche of the child is inestimable. Labels like ‘slow’, ‘disruptive’ and ‘inattentive’ can scar a child forever.
Educational psychology is an attempt to approach a child with empathy as well as with knowledge about their emotional, cognitive, social and behavioural needs. The challenges that children are facing today are unprecedented. The pandemic has disrupted their education, their social life and altered their perception of the world forever. At such a time, it is even more important to make space for their anxieties, fears and possible inability to focus single-mindedly on academics.
For over two years, the lives of our children have been limited to their computer or mobile screens. Many have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and countless others have battled the infection themselves or seen their parents go through financial and emotional challenges. When they return to school, they will have to deal with the anxiety of whether classrooms and schools are pandemic proof, whether they can play just like before with their peers etc. This is why educators need to be prepared to not just educate but to create safe spaces for children to share what is on their minds. Instructional processes will have to recognise individual differences in learning and this is where educational psychology will help.
In a nutshell, educational psychology is not just about how children are behaving or faring in academics but is focused on all-around development as they transition from childhood to adolescence. It teaches educators to understand that learning is retained in different ways and that instructional methods must address the social, emotional, and cognitive particularities of the pupils. Broadly speaking, educators can benefit from a study of developmental, behavioural and cognitive psychology.
The idea is to have an empirical perspective rather than have fixed, theory-based ideas about how to teach. Multiple perspectives about what causes certain behaviours, how conditioning impacts cognition, how emotions shape motivations for learning can all help teachers cultivate empathy and […]