Dr. Tasaduk Hussain Itoo


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Dr. Tasaduq

Psychology has greatly influenced the development of modern education. Basic connections and relationships between psychology and education are manifold. Educational theory and practice are conditioned by the nature of human behaviour. What teachers do, how students learn and how teachers can help students learn are the main influences of psychology on education.


The term psychology has been derived from two words “Psyche” meaning mind and “Logos” meaning science. Hence psychology is the science of mind. J.B. Wastson in the beginning of the 20th century characterized psychology as the science of behaviour. Like other sciences psychology has two main branches- Experimental Psychology and Applied Psychology. The former tries to determine the course or tendencies of human behaviour; the latter intends to improve human life with the application of the scientific knowledge of the human behaviour.


Educational Psychology has developed to study scientifically the behaviour of the students and to help the process of education. It is particular field applied psychology. It tries to study the educational behaviour of the child and applies the knowledge psychology in education. Judd has defined Educational Psychology as the science which describes and explains the changes that take place in individuals as they pass through various stages of development from birth to maturity. “Apparently Educational Psychology deals with various problems of learning and teaching. That is why Educational Psychology is known as “psychology of teaching and learning.” A large number of educationists and psychologists have contributed to the origin and development of educational psychology. Because of the impact of psychology it has attained the status of science. In the writings of Plato we find the elements of psychology. Roman educationist Quintillion emphasized the psychology of individual difference in education. Comenius laid emphasis on needs, aptitude and interests of the students in education. He also mentioned the principle of correlation.

Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herbart, Montessori, James, Pavlov, Thorndike, Skinner and others emphasized the use of psychological knowledge in education. The starting point in the process of education must be related to original tendency of the child. This stock of originality is conveniently classified as instinct, reflex action, emotion and intelligence. Original tendencies are adaptable and incomplete. These may be modified and improved in acquiring acceptable behaviour –responses through education. As the original tendencies are adaptive these can be channelised in more progressive and socially desirable form of behaviour. Variations in general intelligence is great. Psychology measures this general ability. Educational psychology discusses process of development of the students, process of learning, social adjustment of the students, individuals differences in physical abilities and mental traits and powers, interest and motivation of child and various problems associated with the mental health of the students. The function of educational psychology is to know the child and his educational process completely. It tries to determine the means of attaining the educational goals and objectives outlined by educational philosophy. It helps the teacher, the students as well as the parents.


Educational Psychology has influenced the modern educational theories and practices in various ways. Psychology deals with the total behaviour pattern of man. Educational behaviour has different facets or dimensions, as it is also a social behaviour. In order to make the educational process effective Psychology helps us greatly.


The primary aim of education is the total development of the child. In the past the child occupied the pivotal position in the educational area. But now the child occupies the central position. Modern education is child-centric, that is why psychology studies the nature and behaviour of the child in different facets. Child centricism is the direct effect of psychology on education.

  • In modern education, the concept of school has undergone tremendous changes. The school is now regarded as the replica of the society. For bringing desirable and permanent changes in the child the school should be organized as a society. So the child should be educated in the social environment of the school. Thus in modern education the concept of school has greatly been influenced by the theory and practice of social psychology.
  • Another important theoretical aspect of modern education is the activity principle. This means that the child should learn through self- activity. According to the psychologists activity is the natural tendency of the child. His natural inclinations are expressed through his activity. Education can be meaningful if these inclinations are utilized for the purpose of education. This activity principle is based on the psychological theory.
  • In modern times the meaning of education has changed to a great extent. It is a life-long process from birth to maturity. Education is the process of acquiring experience throughout life. Growth brings changes in the behaviour pattern of the child. Changes take place through the adjustment to the environment in which the child lives. In the way of adjustment the child acquires new experiences and this process of acquiring experience is education. Thus this new meaning of education has psychological basis.


  • All modern methods are psychological methods. Learning can be effective if the content of education is communicated through the senses. Children are sensitive as well as imaginative. Senses are the gateways of knowledge. Hence in presenting instructional materials the senses (audio-visual) should be maximum utilized. In psychology the training of the senses has greatly been emphasized.
  • Another characteristic feature of modern educational method is that content of instruction should be presented in continuous, sequenced and integrated way. Psychology emphasizes that for proper understanding this continuous, sequenced and integrated presentation of facts is needed. This is the contribution of psychology.
  • Each individual has his own innate potentialities. For his educational development each individual should be treated separately. This educational principle is the product of psychology.
  • All modern methods of teaching emphasize that the students should actively participate in the learning process. He should not be passive recipient of knowledge. Through different methods of teaching the students are made active. This activity principle of education is the contribution of psychology.
  • Psychology has also influenced the modern principle of curriculum construction. In the past, disciplinary value of a subject was the main criteria of selection of subjects for curriculum. But the modern psychologists have discarded the theory of formal discipline. They think that no subject is indispensable for curriculum construction for its unlimited disciplinary value.
  • All the principles of modern school organization and administration have directly been influenced by psychology. For example timetable is framed on the basis of fatigue index of the students. The modern concept of school discipline is also a psychological product. Psychology emphasizes the importance of freedom of the child in the maintenance of discipline in the school.
  • Modern educational science attaches importance to the proper analysis of maladjusted behaviour of the school children.

From the above discussion, it is evident that psychology has influenced education in different ways. In the field of determination of aims of education the impact of psychology is very meager. The educational aims have mainly been influenced by philosophy. But psychology chalks out the ways and means by which the educational aims can be attained. Thus the influence of psychology on the theoretical aspect of education is partial and limited. But its influence on the practical field of education is  significant and total.

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