Educational Psychologists work with students of any age in education, and they work and help with the students’ psychological and educational development. They often observe the student within the educational setting, and they can then sometimes intervene and recommend ways in which the students’ learning can be enhanced.
This intervention can involve the educational psychologist working with the student on a personal level or by working with parents, teachers or colleagues of the student. Report writing is one task which an educational psychologist would do on a regular basis, writing reports on students as they assess them. Ed. Psychologists help students to overcome obstacles which can prevent them from learning. They also evaluate the systems of education where the students are learning.
They also often work with teachers by alerting them to the social factors which may influence a child’s learning. Educational psychologists may also work with children with learning disabilities and special needs, helping to create better learning conditions for them. They have discussions and meetings with the parents and teachers of the student. When they work with parents and teachers of students, careful discussion and consultation is required as the psychologists’ input and advice needs to be understood and seen as relevant to those who know little about psychology.
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Educational psychologists usually have a number of children/students in their care and another task which they undertake is to keep up to date records on how the learner is coping or hopefully improving. They are also charged with coming up with intervention plans to help in the learners’ educational development. To become an educational psychologist a person must study for a minimum of about 6 years. Firstly a student must complete a psychology based degree which is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland.
Post-graduate study is essential. An MA in educational psychology is the next step. UCD offers a 2-year full time course, MA in educational psychology. Educational Psychology is also highly linked with teaching, so work experience as a teacher would help greatly in the pursuit of becoming an Ed. Psychologist. Work experience is essential if a person wants to do a doctorate in Ed. Psychology. This is the optimum level of education if a person wants this career. There are many skills needed to be an educational psychologist.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital to interact with the children and students you will be working with. Research and development skills are required. As you would be working with children, patience and sensitivity are essential skills. Good report writing skills are needed along with the ability to solve problems. Most of all a person needs to be committed to helping children to overcome barriers to their educational development. In the doctoral training in Ed. Psychology, students gain practical experience working with local councils.
Other examples of relevant work experience includes work as a speech and language therapist, as a learning support assistant, an educational social worker, as well as a teacher and as a graduate assistant in an Educational Psychology Service. I found a lot of this information by reading a powerpoint presentation I found on the internet by Dr. Barbara Mc Donnell, Stanmillis University College. The Psychological Society of Ireland is the professional body in charge of regulating the psychology profession in Ireland.
The PSI promotes high standards of psychological education and practice, and it provides its member with professional networking and promotion. By becoming a student member of the PSI you gain professional recognition and professional accreditation. Students also get a reduced rate to join and membership includes subscription to a monthly magazine which will increase a students’ knowledge of psychology and keeps the members up to date on matters in Irish Psychology. I learned of this by accessing the PSI website. Likely employers of educational psychologists include councils and schools.
However, in Ireland in the present climate there is little in the way of employment in schools as an Ed. Psychologist so there is then the option to set up a private practice. I was told this when I interviewed an Educational Psychologist named Yvonne Cunningham about Educational Psychology as a career. She gave me a great insight into what it would be like to be a professional educational psychologist, and she gave me a lot of the information I gathered for this investigation. Part Two I’ve always enjoyed being educated in school and before choosing to do psychology in college I was seriously considering being a teacher.
My mother is also a national school teacher which I believe influenced me to have an interest in education. I also believe that I have very good inter-personal skills and great patience and I thoroughly enjoy working with children. During Transition Year I spent a week on work experience in an Irish speaking National School and I loved this experience of working in education. After researching Educational Psychology as a career I still have a keen interest in it as a potential future career, however I am still undecided.
By completing this assignment I have learned a lot about what it is to be an Educational Psychologist, and I am a lot more interested in it now after researching it. I am keen to learn more about this area of psychology.
- UCD website courses and programmes[accessed 27/02/2012]. Retrieved from http://www.ucd.ie/education/graduateprogrammes/taughtprogrammes/masterofartsineducationpsychologymaep/
- Psychological Society of Ireland [accessed 27/02/2012] Retrieved from http://www. psychologicalsociety. ie/
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