An Overview of Educational Psychology for Future Teachers

The definition of educational psychology varies but it is often associated with the study of learning within an educational environment or setting. It also deals with theories in learning, theories of teaching, ways to improve teaching effectiveness and the overall psychology of institutions like schools. Basically, in North American countries, there are two types of psychologists in schools or academic institutions. Educators who are involved in research are often known as educational psychologists. On the other hand, when an educator or teacher practice is involved in the practical application of theories of learning, they are termed as educational psychologists. Educational psychology is a wide discipline that covers any of the following areas:

1. Educational Technology

2. Curriculum Development

3. Classroom Management

4. Instructional Design

5. Special Education

6. Organizational Learning

Educational Psychology as a subject is often offered as a core subject in teacher education programs. It is very critical for any teacher to understand how students develop their learning skills. By doing so, they can plan strategies that will meet desired learning outcomes. It is also crucial for future teachers to understand the nature of human development because not all children have the same rate of mental, physical, and social development. Nowadays, a very diverse classroom pose a lot of challenges to educators due to cultural and language differences.

There are many fundamental theories that are presented when studying educational psychology. The various conceptual framework of learning theories are divided into three major groups, namely: cognitive, behaviorism, and constructivism. Each of these conceptual frameworks has its own merits and flaws. A school that focuses mainly on observable behavior in children adopts the behaviorist theory. The major proponent of this theory is John Watson. In this framework, learning is measured through observable behavior. Teachers can modify student’s behavior by applying two different types of conditioning – classical or operant conditioning.

Another important theory is educational psychology is constructivism. A constructivist educator believes that students gain knowledge through active engagement which can come in the form of problem solving. This theory has many applications in a classroom setup that can help learners achieve their learning goals.

Cognitivism is also a popular theoretical framework since it encourages in developing the mind of the learner. For the cognitivist, behavior can be influenced by thinking; hence, it is more valuable to develop cognitive skills like memorization, problem solving, and thinking to foster better learning. From the cognitivist’s view, the mind is like a computer where information is processed. Behavior is only a manifestation or a by-product of cognitive processes. While there are also critics of this theory, it has been useful for many educators through the years. It has helped teachers to understand why learners behave in a certain manner.

Through the years, many learning theories have come up which presents to educators, researchers, and school administrators more options to develop and enhance student’s academic performance. This makes educational psychology as a very exciting discipline since learners also evolve as the world around them progresses. In the end, future educators realize the very crucial role they play in transforming the lives of their students.

The best way to become a good teacher is to enroll in a reputable school that offers teaching programs. You can enroll in a bachelor’s program that specializes in early education or special education. Find a local school in your area and inquire about their program offerings.

Psychology Careers – The Training and Qualifications Needed to Become a Psychologist in the UK

Psychology is a people based science – the science of mind and behaviour. It is one of the most challenging of professional careers and offers a wide variety of specialities and types of practise.

Psychology is one of the most popular university degree subjects, and the critical thinking and scientific analysis skills it provides means that a university graduate with a psychology degree can apply their skills to, and find employment in a wide range of non psychology related jobs.

Psychology Degree Entry Requirements

If you are looking to complete a university degree in psychology it is essential you check that the relevant body – Health Professions Council and/or British Psychological Society, accept it as an accredited qualification.

This usually means a starting with single honours degree in psychology, completion of which confers eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society.

Places on psychology undergraduate degree courses are sought after and the A level grades / points needed for entry are usually quite high. Although an A Level in psychology is not always required, you should check with the university to which you are applying – most will specify at least one science A Level since the content of a psychology degree is highly science oriented and an ability to grasp the scientific method and the underpinning mathematical and statistical concepts is essential.

Completing an A Level in psychology is, however, a good way to show that you have some understanding of, exposure to and affection for the subject. Consequently your choice of psychology degree will be better informed.

When you come to apply for a Masters degree / Professional Doctorate in your chosen area, a 2.1 in your psychology degree will be the likely minimum requirement – even a first class honours degree for very popular courses. Again, competition for places on postgraduate psychology degree courses can be intense s0 some relevant work experience is almost compulsory.

You should also keep checking that the university route you choose will ultimately confer eligibility for entry onto the Health Professions Council HPC register. A Post graduate PhD degree, for instance, will not, as it is a research rather than a practitioner degree.

Legal Regulation of Psychologists in the UK

On 1 July 2009 the Health Professions Council (HPC) became the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists and opened the psychology section of their Register. The Health Professions Council provides a code of conduct which members of the register must abide by.

There are numerous other prefixes which psychologists may use which are not legally recognised or protected such as business psychologist, child psychologist, criminal psychologist, social psychologist, cognitive psychologist, consumer psychologist or animal psychologist, but these terms are not legally protected and there is nothing illegal in a person using one these titles.

The advantage of using a psychologist who appears on the register is that you can have faith in their qualifications and standards of professional conduct. If using a psychologist, it is wise to check the nature of their professional qualifications and status.

Practitioner Psychologists treat, practise or deal with members of the public and are regulated under the Health Professions Council. Non-practitioner Psychologists do not have to be Health Professions Council registered, and so cannot use one of the HPC Protected titles.

Entry onto the appropriate section of Health Professions Council (HPC) register allows you to use one of the following legally protected titles –

Clinical psychologist
Counselling psychologist
Educational psychologist
Forensic psychologist
Health psychologist
Occupational psychologist
Sport and Exercise psychologist

It is necessary to be registered with the HPC to practise in the UK under any of these titles. All psychologists who are on the HPC register may additionally use the titles Practitioner Psychologist and Registered Psychologist.

The single term psychologist, and any other prefix other than those listed above, can be used by anyone, whether qualified or not. If using a psychologist, it is wise to check the nature of their professional status.

Teaching and Research in Psychology

In theory, you don’t need any qualifications in psychology to teach it! One does not need to be a Registered Psychologist with the Health Professions Council to teach psychology, since teaching psychology is not actually the same as practising psychology. This can be quite common at A Level where the tutor may be a qualified teacher rather than a qualified psychologist.

However, at university degree level this would be a rare situation and many university psychology lecturers are at a minimum Chartered Psychologists, even though they may not be qualified to use one of the protected titles as their work is is essentially academic in nature and they do not practise with members of the public.

At university, teachers at psychology degree level not only teach, but also have an active research role as well, and are expected to regularly publish the results of their research. Their training may be purely academic (e.g. research PhD based) rather than practitioner based. Psychology students studying for a postgraduate research degree, such as MPhil or PhD, in a university will often also work as a research or teaching assistant.

However, many university based psychologists, especially those involved in the postgraduate training of Practitioner Psychologists, also work as Practitioner Psychologists in their own right, and so are registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC).

Psychology research is not the sole preserve of universities. Many HPC registered Practitioner Psychologists also carry out their own research to inform and support their own professional practise.

Professional Bodies for Psychologists

The British Psychological Society states its aims as setting standards of training and practice in psychology, raising public awareness of psychology, and increasing the influence of psychology practice in society.

Originally, the British Psychological Society was a ‘learned body’, but gradually took on a voluntary regulatory function. Until Psychologists became regulated by the Health Professions Council in 2009, the British Psychological Society was the only regulatory body for psychologists in the UK. Although even then membership was non-compulsory and any non-member could still use any of the (now) protected titles. One has to be a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society to use the title Chartered Psychologist.

The BPS also has a number of specialist divisions, full membership of which currently allows immediate entry onto the relevant part of the Health Professions Council Register.

In summary – to use a protected title and practise in one of the protected areas, entry onto the Health Professions Council register is essential. The qualifications required to gain entry onto the Health Professions Council Register are stipulated, approved and in some cases awarded by the British Psychological Society. This is likely to change in the future as the Health Professions Council begins to accredit courses directly – it will then be possible to apply for entry onto the register without having to join the BPS at all.

How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical psychology refers to a branch of psychology that deals with the diagnoses and treatment of mental disorders, abnormal dispositions, and psychiatric problems. It is a combination of psychological science and treatment procedures of critical and complex human problems. A clinical psychologist is the person who deals with the complete process of prevention, estimation, analysis, and healing of mental disorders.

The American psychologist Lightner Witmer was the first person who coined the term ‘clinical psychology’ in a paper written in 1907. Witmer defined the subject as a study carried through ‘observation or experimentation’. At present days, it is one of the most popular sub-branches in the psychology field.

A clinical psychologist must be a sound person who is able to think objectively and neutrally. S/he must be wise and prudent enough to sort out the problems of people who are going through difficult stages of their life and guide them to the right way, so that they can overcome their troubles.

What Does A Clinical Psychologist Do?

The main duty of such professionals is to reduce the distress and improve the psychological condition of patients. They have their own unique ways to find the causes of mental distress and apply the means to bring positive changes to the patients’ lives.

Clinical psychologists generally offer treatments for:

i. Schizophrenia
ii. Depression
iii. Neurological disorders
iv. Addictive behaviors
v. Personal, professional, or familial relationship problems
vi. Eating disorders
vii. Learning disabilities; and many more

They may adopt a number of different treatment approaches. However, most of them have to perform some typical tasks, such as:

1. Using psychometric tests, observation of behaviors, interviews, etc. to assess patients’ behavior, abilities, and needs.
2. Be creative to devise and monitor perfect programs for therapy and counseling in collaboration with colleagues.
3. Developing and weighing up the provision of service for patients.
4. Acting as counselors and supporting caregivers.
5. Carrying out practical research in order to add to the evidence base of practice in various settings of healthcare sectors.
6. More experienced professionals may keep detailed paperwork about patients in order to track their progress.

In order to handle complex problems of patients, They often work in multidisciplinary team alongside other professionals.

What it Takes to be a Clinical Psychologist?

It is a long process to become a clinical psychologist. In fact, no other sub-branch of psychology takes so much time to be completed as this one does. However, the profession is worthwhile for investing such long period because they are allowed to enjoy a lot of freedom in their career.

The educational requirements for becoming a clinical psychologist are quite painstaking. After earning a bachelor degree, most clinical psychologists have to spend four to six years in graduate school.

Two kinds of degrees are available in the field of clinical psychology – a Ph.D. and a Psy.D. A Ph.D. program is theoretical in nature and is centered on research. On the other hand, a Psy.D. program is more pragmatic in nature and is practice-oriented. Without pursuing these two types of degrees, opportunities are also there for students to enroll into graduate programs that provide a terminal master’s degree.

In the USA, clinical psychologists have to pursue a doctorate degree. They are given training within clinical settings. In the U.K., students can pursue doctorate degree through programs funded by the National Health Service. These programs are very competitive in nature and are centered on both practice and research. Students who want to undertake any one of these programs must have to have experience along with an undergraduate degree in a psychology curriculum approved by the British Psychological Society.

Workplace

The work setting of clinical psychologists varies depending on the specialty or work area. The normal work areas for research psychologists are universities or colleges. They have to teach some courses in each semester besides performing their research responsibilities.

Some industrial psychologists work in corporations or companies. They help companies to manage their employees and key assets better.

Neuropsychologists and forensic psychologists are seen to work in private practice. Neuropsychologists also work in hospitals while forensic psychologists have to perform the clinical verification process in court and court settings.

However, clinical psychologists work in a variety of settings. They often go for private practice or work in public mental health sector. They also work in clinical counseling centers of universities and colleges where they help students to overcome some minor problems, such as adjusting to college life. They are also to be found in office setting working besides other types of mental health professionals, such as social workers and psychiatrists.

Salary

According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2000, a licensed clinical psychologist earns an average of $87,015. In fact, the typical salary of a clinical psychologist ranges from $51,000 to $90,000.

The salary level may vary according to some factors such as years of practice and experience, level of education, workplace settings, and even on geographical location. A more experienced and highly educated psychologist will definitely earn more than a less educated and experienced psychologist does. Similarly, the salary of a psychologist practicing in a developed country will be higher than that of a psychologist practicing in a developing country.

Five Steps to Finding the Best Educational Consultant for Your Student

If you type the phrase “Educational Consultant” into Google, you will get over eight million results. That’s a pretty daunting place to start a search when you need to find the best individual to help your student achieve success. Whether you’re looking for a consultant to help you navigate the maze of special education requirements and Individualized Education Plans or you’re a student from another country trying to find the best college in the United States for your field of study, a good educational consultant can be the difference between success and frustration.

So, once you’ve narrowed down your selection from eight million to a few consultants that you are considering, how do you make that final decision?

Below are five things to consider when trying to find the right consultant.

Licensed Education Psychologist

A licensed educational psychologist is typically a master’s level practitioner who is licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). This is a license that is unique to California. The requirement for an LEP is a master’s degree and proof of 3 years of working in the educational system. When you find that someone is a licensed educational psychologist, you know that they have the experience and education to handle the multitude of challenges you may be faced with during the consultation process.

Experience Working With Schools and Individuals

Working with your student’s school is a critical part of most issues that require involvement from an educational consultant. Seeing that this is such an important part of the overall process, it’s best to find a consultant who has worked in schools as a counselor or school psychologist. When you are researching or interviewing a consultant, ask them whether they have this type of experience. If they do it means that they most likely have in-depth familiarity of all steps of the process from both sides of the equation, what tests and assessments are best, what schools look for in certain situations, etc.

Experience in area of need/specialty – (admissions, IEP, Special Education, etc.)

One of the first questions you should ask a prospective consultant is: “Can you give us an overview of your experience dealing with __________________?” Then you can ask them to take through the process step-by-step so you can get an understanding of what you’re up against. This will serve two purposes: 1.) it will educate you to the process; and 2.) it will give you some insight into the consultant’s true understanding of how things will play out. If they can take you through the milestones off the top of their head without hesitation, it usually means it’s not their first rodeo.

Knowledge of Testing/Assessments

Whether you’re trying to get into a top US college or you need to find out if your student qualifies for special educational accommodations under state or Federal laws, assessments are a large part of the process. Sometimes the consultant will be administering these assessments and other times they will be reviewing the results of assessments administered by someone else. You want to make sure that your consultant knows the testing scenarios for your particular area of need backward and forward. To determine this, ask them to describe the testing procedures and briefly explain what each test is trying to determine.

Good Chemistry with Your Student

Make sure the consultant and your student have a good enough relationship to be able to make continual progress. They don’t have to be best friends, but you want to make sure the relationship is strong enough that your student will feel comfortable sharing information about their educational limitations and frustrations. Open communication with your consultant is important to a successful outcome. Ask your student what he/she thought of the consultant during the initial meeting.

There are a lot of excellent consultants available for a variety of educational challenges. The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it can help you quickly identify consultants who are experienced, knowledgeable and have the disposition to work well with your student throughout the process.

Continuing Education Psychologists Need

Being in the field of psychology necessitates knowledge in a variety of areas. Continuing education psychologists need is often required for them to keep their license if they have a clinical practice. If you are in this field you may even be a teacher. Much of the knowledge gained with a psychology degree is very important for teachers.

If you are a teacher with a degree in the field of psychology then you are not likely to be required to take the same type of continuing education psychologists are required to have. This does not mean that you as a teacher should ignore expanding your knowledge. The school where you work may require some continued learning anyway. Being a teacher is a field that necessitates a broad range of knowledge even if you are only teaching one subject.

Even though you may already have a psychology degree, as a teacher it would not hurt to learn even more in this field. Working with kids can do a number on the brain of a teacher. It is important for a teacher to really understand his or her students and the age group that they are teaching. Knowing the different stages of how students think will help you a great deal as a teacher. Courses in continuing education psychologists need might be a benefit to you as a teacher as well.

Taking these courses will also look good on your resume in case you decide to change directions in your career. You could have the opportunity to become a social worker, counselor, or even a psychologist. The more courses that you have under your belt in this field, the better it will look to prospective employers.

As a teacher, you should also be reading all of the time. You could do some of this reading in topics of psychology to help you have more insight into your students. Some institutes that offer courses in continuing education psychologists use may also offer a magazine with topics in psychology and even in other topics that pertain to what you need to learn. Getting a subscription to one of these magazines may be helpful for you so that you do not have to necessarily take a course.

If you think you are too busy for extra courses, you may be right. Teachers can be very busy with making tests, grading papers, as well as having the extra-curricular activities that often come up. If you do have an hour a day though that is free, you probably have time for an online class. You might not even have to do an hour a day. You might have more time in one day, and you may be able to put in more time during that day.

Whatever the case, as a teacher, you should keep learning. Your students will appreciate it, and they will respect you for being knowledgeable in your subject matter as well as in how to deal with them.