Educational Psychology

What is the meaning of "Education"?

"Education" etymologically leans on the Latin educatio ("bringing up, to train, to raise up").
In its scientific sense it means "a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research" (see J. Dewey, 1916).
In a broader sense one can understand Education as any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts.
Nelson Mandela (winner of Nobel Prize for Peace and former first black President of South Africa) understood education as the "...most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" (Nelson Mandela, 1993, in his Nobel Prize laureate).

What is the aim of "Educational Psychology"?

Educational Psychologists evaluate the methods of education and give evidence for the likelihood of a certain treatment success.

The modern Educational Psychology is strongly based on results of empirical research and combines the knowledge about

  • Cognitive skills (reading, writing, calculation, language, psychomotoric)
  • Socialization (behavior in family, school, and society)
  • Learning and achievement motivation (school, study, and work)
  • Influence of environmental/cultural background

Key questions of Educational Psychology

Educational Psychology mainly focus on infant period, childhood, and adolescence:

  • Which treatments and environments optimize the infant development?
  • Which methods help children to acquire high levels in cultural basic techniques?
  • How can we help adolescents to prepare themselves best for future work?

Core concepts of Educational Psychology

Below there are some examples for core concepts of Educational Psychpology:

  • Sensitivity of child caring
  • Creating educational valuable toys
  • Methods for optimal acquisition of calculation, reading, and writing skills
  • Guiding children to integrate in social groups
  • Methods on enhancing learning motivation and success in school


  • Dewey, J. (1916): Democracy and Education.