Educational psychology is a special field of endeavor because it strives to apply what is known about many different disciplines to the broad process of education. In the most general terms, you can expect to find topics in this area that fall into the categories of human learning and development (across the life span), motivation, measurement and statistics, and curriculum and teaching. More specifically, the educational psychologist studies such topics as aggression, the relationship between poverty and achievement in schools, lifelong learning, quantitative methods, and emerging adulthood. Educational psychology is truly a diverse and fascinating field of study and unlike other social and behavioral sciences. Its significance for application to the real needs of both children and adults cannot be overestimated.
The importance of all these topics is not limited to the college classroom or academic lecture circuit. Rather, the ability to understand complex issues such as vouchers, early intervention, inclusion, cultural diversity, and the role of athletics in the schools (to mention only a few examples) carries important implications for public policy decisions. The encyclopedia you have in your hands includes some technical topics related to educational psychology, but for the most part, it focuses on those topics that evoke the interest of the everyday reader.
Although there are hundreds of books about different topics in education and educational psychology and there are thousands of university and private researchers pursuing more information about these topics, most of the available information tends to be found in scholarly books and scholarly journal articles—usually out of the reach of the everyday person. In fact, there are few comprehensive overviews of the field of educational psychology, and the purpose of this multivolume Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology is to share this information in a way that is, above all, informative without being overly technical or intimidating.
Through more than 275 contributions, experts provide overviews and explanations of the major topics in the field of educational psychology.
How were these topics selected to be included in this encyclopedia? The underlying rationale for topic selection and presentation comes from the need to share subjects that are rich, diverse, and deserving of closer inspection with an educated reader who may be uninformed about educational psychology. Within these pages, the contributors and I provide the overview and the detail that we feel is necessary to become well acquainted with topics that fairly repre¬sent the entire field.
Like many encyclopedias, the Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology is organized in alphabetical order, from A through Z. However, there are particular themes under which the information and the entries could be organized conceptually. These themes, or major topic areas, constitute the Reader’s Guide, which appears on page xi. Categories such as Classroom Management; Ethnicity, Race, and Culture; Families; Intelligence and Intellectual Development; Learning and Memory; and Peers and Peer Influences are only a few that help organize the entire set of contributions.
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