Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 175–185 | Cite as

Educational psychology has fallen, but it can get up

  • Robert J. Sternberg
Reflections on the Field


Educational psychology has fallen, but it can get up. It has fallen because of its uncertainty, as a field, as to its own core. I argue that the core of the field ought to be in the multifaceted analysis of the teaching—learning process. A useful construct for analyzing this process is that of expertise—what is it that makes for an expert teacher and an expert learner? Expertise is a prototype, and so in order to understand expertise, we need to understand the prototypes we have formed for expert teachers and students. I discuss the prototype of the expert teacher in terms of knowledge, efficiency, and insight; and the prototype of the expert student in terms of the kinds of abilities that are currently valued in schools and that we might further value. This discussion therefore points out that prototypes are not fixed: We can decide what we value, and thereby, what constitutes expertise in a given domain.

Key words

educational psychology expertise school reform teaching 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Sternberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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