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Psychology in Teacher Education: Efficacy, Professionalization, Management, and Habit

  • Lynn Fendler
Chapter
Part of the Educational Research book series (EDRE, volume 6)

Abstract

Educational psychology is a required element in the curriculum for all accredited teacher preparation programs in the United States, and background knowledge in educational psychology is assessed on examinations for teacher licensure in most jurisdictions. Traditional university-based teacher certification is under attack from various sectors, and the curriculum for teacher preparation is among the most contested issues. In this chapter, I examine four possible hypotheses that might be offered to explain the continued presence of educational psychology in the curriculum of US teacher education.
  • Efficacy: Educational psychology is a requirement in teacher education curricula because the study of psychology makes better teachers (regardless of how one might define ‘better’).

  • Professionalization: Educational psychology is included in the curriculum of teacher education because the affiliation with a scientific discipline helps to raise the professional status of teaching and teacher education.

  • Policy/Management: Educational psychology remains in the curriculum of teacher education because psychological research renders the unruly practices of teaching more predictable, rational, and manageable; the language of psychology gives teacher educators a voice in educational policy making.

  • Habit: Educational psychology continues to be included in the curriculum of teacher education out of habit.

Each of these hypotheses calls for a different investigative approach. Specifically, in order to examine the efficacy perspective, I did a survey of recent literature and synthesized the findings of scientific research reports addressing the relationship of educational psychology to the quality of teaching. Second, to investigate the plausibility of the professionalization perspective, I drew on histories of psychology and histories of teacher education as well as professionalization theories in order to assess the historical role educational psychology has played in professionalization. Third, in order to examine the policy/management explanation, I took a genealogical approach to the relationship of psychology and teacher education as disciplines in the epistemological context of modern social sciences. Finally, in order to examine the role and function of habit, I turned to John Dewey’s (1921) philosophy in Human Nature and Conduct.

Keywords

Teacher Education Educational Psychology Prospective Teacher Educational Policy Teacher Education Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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