The first practicing educational psychologists in the United States were psychologists, who have studied the problem of self-education. However, very soon, the educational psychology focused its efforts on measuring and testing, and the selection of children for special education programs became its overriding priority.
However, it should be noted there was a significant progress of the educational psychology as well as achievements in the development of the theory and practice of school psychological services in the United States over the past 35-40 years.
In the 60s of the twentieth century, a professional association of school psychologists was created. A school psychological services conference in Wales (1973) was of great importance for the development of educational psychology. The main discussion of the conference addressed questions about the purpose and role of educational psychology on the ethical and legal grounds, the problems of professionalization of the school psychologist, the content of training programs for school psychologist, etc. During the 80’s, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) was organized in the United States.
The scientific aspect implies study of the methodology and theory of educational psychology – new scientific and practical areas of developmental psychology, studying individual manifestations of age-related patterns of mental development, the conditions of personality and individuality as a prerequisite of psychological health in pre-school and school age. One of the problems here – the scientific basis and the development of an operational diagnostic and other corrective, preventive, and developmental programs, ways, means, and methods of professional application of psychological knowledge in the specific context of modern education. These studies differ from academic in the sense that they not only reveal certain psychological mechanisms or laws, but also determine the psychological conditions of these mechanisms and patterns in the context of an integral formation of the personality of a child.
Students, preparing their research paper or research proposal on educational psychology, must also indicate the importance for practical psychology of the proper understanding and application of the principle confirming the leading role of the educational psychology in the training and mental development of children at all ages. In other words, training should be focused not on the “zone of actual development,” that has been formed “yesterday,” but the “zone of proximal development” – i.e., “tomorrow.”
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