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Educational Psychology


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: Ana da Cunha Lewin
  • Assessment: a one-hour written examination (70%) and a 1500-word essay (30%)

Module description

Building on the knowledge and understanding of psychology theories, concepts and research gained in the study of previous modules, the aims of this module are to:

  • introduce you to an in-depth study of a range of cutting edge core topics in educational psychology
  • discuss classic and modern psychological approaches to cognitive and social development with specific reference to their application to learning and education
  • introduce you to some of the key issues around special educational needs and discuss the contribution of psychological research in this area
  • evaluate current psychological research in education including a particular focus on the challenges and ethical constraints of research involving children and young people
  • consider how such psychological research can be effectively applied in educational settings with a particular focus on the work of educational psychologists
  • describe and evaluate some of the interventions that psychologists make within the educational context.

Indicative module content

  • Introduction and overview: what is educational psychology, the role of educational psychologists, an overview of theories of social and cognitive development and their application in this context, educational psychology research and evidence-based practice
  • Cognitive development and learning: metacognition and thinking; literacy; mathematics and scientific understanding
  • Psychological factors influencing educational engagement and attainment (e.g. motivation or personality or intelligence)
  • Emotional and social factors influencing educational engagement and attainment (e.g. family context and parental attitude or gender or relationships with peers)
  • Environmental factors influencing educational engagement and attainment (e.g. teacher effects or the impact of the physical environment on classroom interaction or school effectiveness)
  • Special educational needs: specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia or other language disorders or ADHD)
  • Special educational needs: learning disabilities (e.g. autism or Down’s Syndrome or other conditions)
  • Review, evaluation and integration of key themes and issues: addressing educational disadvantage and raising educational attainment with a particular focus on assessment and intervention
  • The content of specific lectures may vary to some extent each year in response to key issues that arise within the discipline, and the interests of the student group

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of psychological research methods, concepts and theories within educational psychology
  • display a critical awareness of some of the main psychological, emotional, social and environmental factors which influence learning, including the role of neurobiological components
  • possess a critical awareness of the links between theory, research evidence, education policy and practice in both mainstream and special needs education
  • understand how education psychologists assess children and young people and then plan appropriate interventions
  • understand, interpret and evaluate relevant research and other reports.