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Educational Psychologists and Learning Theories

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2011 07:39 AM
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Educational Psychologists and Learning Theories

20 September 2011
Word Count: 1366

Educational Psychologists use their expertise of both psychology and education in order to help children and young people experiencing difficulties at school.
In this example, the psychologist would be called in by the school in order to conduct research into the reasons behind the pupil’s behaviour and would use methods such as observation and interviews.   This research would allow them to ascertain which course of treatment would be best suited to the individual in order to produce a positive outcome.
As all children are individuals, the psychologist would need to ensure that their research covers all areas, from emotional to developmental, in order to make a detailed and informed decision as to treatment, and liaising with other professionals along the way.
Educational psychologists utilise behaviour therapy in an attempt to treat disruptive behaviour in the classroom.   They may recommend one of many courses of treatment, designed to change an undesirable behaviour, as it is widely believed that as behaviour is learned, it can also be unlearned.
According to Huitt & Hummel (1997), there are many different ways of applying conditioning principles to change behaviour, including ‘Extinction Principle’ and the ‘Incompatible Alternative Principle’.   The former involves “arranging conditions so that the pupil receives no rewards following the undesired act” (Huitt & Hummel, 1997), while the latter will see an alternative to the undesired act be rewarded.
At the core of most of the principles used in education lie the fundamental rules of conditioning, and more importantly, the use of reinforcement.   Therefore, with regards to a pupil who does not concentrate in class, simple measures such as positive reinforcement may encourage them to take more notice of what is being said.   For instance, rewarding the child when they answer a question correctly on a subject being...

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