Is the path on which you are traveling towards completing your degree that of an adult non-traditional student? That was my pathway after high school graduation. Is the field of education a new career into which you are transitioning? It was for me, after a decade of office work as a secretary. What do you know about how you process information, about how you learn, about your learning style? I had some self-awareness before studying education psychology.To what extent might you predict that educational psychology knowledge could be helpful? When I taught K-8 art in an inner city public school with a case load of 1,000 students, I was working on a master’s degree via distance learning, and was a single parent of a pre-teen. I was struggling. I needed help and support not only as a teacher, but also for my graduate coursework, and for parenting.
Support arrived in the form of my first educational psychology course! I began to apply educational psychology pillars in my instructional practices. I strengthened my parenting skills with educational psychology knowledge. In addition, I deepened my graduate studies experience with knowledge of my learning style, multiple intelligences, and learning theories. What a difference a course made; three little credits!
First, might we agree with Columbia University Press (2015) that educational psychology focuses on improving teaching and learning processes? Furthermore, might we consider that educational psychology is a scientific discipline leveraging psychology concepts in instructional environments (Funk and Wagnall’s New World Encyclopedia, 2014; Snowman & McCown, 2013)? Could educational psychology give you tools to guide students to be self-regulated learners; engage students in meaningful learning, and support your journey as a student and lifelong learner?
The research and literature address track record of how educational psychology can improve learning. For example, Deemer (2009) discussed a study that explored the concept of using psychology tenants to address problems that arise in education settings. In this 2009 study, participants who were graduate level students enrolled in an educational psychology course reported that educational psychology knowledge could be used to solve problems that arise in classroom settings.
A 2011 study explored the question of the extent to which pre-service teachers could integrate principles of educational psychology in instructional practices Participants reported that they could recognize “implications of educational psychology within teacher strategies.
Whether you are a teacher, a preservice teacher, a lifelong learner, or both, you are involved in a complex journey. Why venture forward without a chart, or a boat for that matter? The pillars of educational psychology might be both the chart and the boat to support you on your learning journey.