Unit 12:The Role of Education Psychology in Quality Education

Welcome to Unit 12

You have now spent some considerable time understanding the context of the need to “implement” quality education in the developing world. The Millennium Development Goals set out clear global targets for enrolments and completions in primary school, and the new Sustainable Development Goals set out quantifiable targets for quality specifically.

Various frameworks of quality were shown together with some tools for measuring quality EARLY rather than waiting 5 years for final exam or completion assessment.

Then we showed you a well researched and tested process for developing quality education in schools together with an overview of the complexity of developing a whole system.

So now we must begin to outline some of the knowledge and skills required by teachers, principals and trainers if quality education in primary schools is to become a reality, and it should be no surprise that everything depends on the framework for quality education you have chosen to guide your strategy. Naturally we favour our own developed framework from Nepal, but you must choose wisely for yourselves because it not only shows your goal for ultimate achievement, but also determines the inputs required and the needs of the child you are trying to meet. So it is not a bad idea to have a quick refresher of the framework of your choice, NOW.

Quality Education is just like a Chicken Curry!

This is the analogy we used in Nepal for 5 years to help simplify a more complex overall framework of quality. For example, you may know what a good chicken curry tastes like, but do you know how to make one? Do you know the ingredients needed and the method of cooking/preparation?
The basis for this analogy is that you would be very unhappy if you were served a chicken curry in a restaurant or your home, if you had waited only for it to be too hot or not spicy enough, lacking in taste or flavour, chewy meat, soggy vegetables, salty …….. I think you get the general point!
But the specific point is that waiting for the final outcome instead of having confidence that the ingredients, the cooking method, and the chef are all of high quality is dangerous!

So using the Nepal Quality Education Framework, we took several of the components and decided they were either ingredients or method, and displayed them as being used to meet child needs. This was a simple demonstration for teachers who had received very little by way of training and just didn’t understand the importance of many elements in the framework. Here is the picture we showed them:

Chicken Curry Framework

As a brief explanation:

  1. The ingredients are mostly things which are fixed, the school cannot change them because they are determined or delivered by the state.
    1. National policies have to be prescribed across the whole country for things like teacher appointments, promotions, gradings, etc.
    2. The curriculum is clearly a national issue.
    3. The school building is also pre-determined and usually provided by the state.
    4. Physical resources includes furniture, equipment, textbooks, as well as consumables.
  2. The methods are much more controllable and developable by the school and teachers themselves.
    1. The learning method is a combination of the pedagogy style of the teacher and the assessment process implementation. The state might usually prescribe it but it is the teacher’s implementation and commitment to it that counts.
    2. School governance is certainly handed down from national policy, but it is the implementation of it by the principal and school management committee that is important, with skills associated with leadership, planning, measurement etc being essential.
    3. The psychosocial environment is a big one, combined with the learning method this determines the whole atmosphere of the school in terms of values, student confidence/self esteem, culture, etc.
    4. Teacher development is included here because it is not only dependent on what the state provides as CPD, but almost totally depends on the attitude and commitment of the teacher to stay up to date, to improve, to study better techniques, to engage better with students.

Clearly, these 8 items from our framework serve a crucial area, CHILD NEEDS! The centre of our chicken curry shows this, and the QE Framework details things like Staged Development, Personal Learning, Socio-Cultural issues.

You should now start to see how some of these important issues are affected by having an understanding of education psychology. So let’s see a short video explaining “what is educational psychology”.

We hope you enjoyed that and it helped.Some of the important items raised were:

  • Learning theories
  • Social and environmental factors
  • Individual education plans
  • Performance based assessments
  • Humanistic teaching styles

The final frame was important, saying:
“Every student has their own set of circumstances making them unique. See them as individuals and treat them with respect”.

And finally, to lead you into the detailed units to come, we believe that education psychology asks some important questions about the quality of education delivered to primary school children. Thankfully it provides some answers too, but here are the three main questions:

  1. The Child: Why is each child different from any other child and how to treat them differently.
  2. The Learning: What learning should each child experience to develop as a human being.
  3. The Method: How should we teach?

These are questions to ponder before the next unit, Why Is Each Child Different?

To prepare for it, you should now download this invaluable book, and keep it ready for the unit. We will refer to pages in it for deeper explanations:

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Now click here to go to Unit 13:Why is Each Child Different?