Psychological Foundations of Education: Definition, Urgency, and Implementation in Schools

Hi learners! Education is an essential pillar in human life. Therefore, foundations that can help optimize the educational process are needed, such as the psychological foundations of education.

In this article, I will discuss the definition, urgency, and implementation of the psychological foundations of education. If you want to read the article in Bahasa Indonesia, please check this link. Happy learning!

Psychological Foundations of Education: Definition, Urgency, and Implementation in Schools


Foundations of education are theories, concepts, or principles used to plan, implement, and evaluate education. There are various educational foundations, including the psychological foundations of education. What are the psychological foundations of education?

The psychological foundation of education is an educational foundation that refers to various psychological concepts and analyzes various educational issues from a psychological perspective. Several things are studied in the foundations of educational psychology, namely the stages of child development and learning theories.

Child Development Theory

Child development theory is a conceptual framework for understanding child growth and development. This theory covers various aspects of development in children, such as physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Several child development theories are the Cognitive Development Theory by Jean Piaget, the Psychosocial Development Theory by Erik Erikson, and the Sociocultural Theory in Cognitive Development by Lev Vygotsky.

Learning Theory

Learning Theory is a theory that examines how students learn and explain how behaviour is produced. This theory includes how they search for and manage information, form habits, increase learning motivation, study challenges, and how to face them effectively.

There are several learning theories, namely Cognitivistic Learning Theory by Jean Piaget, Behavioristic Learning Theory by B. F. Skinner, Social Cognitive Learning Theory by Albert Bandura, Humanistic Learning Theory by A. H. Maslow and Carl Rogers, Self-Determination Theory by Ryan and Deci, and Multiple Intelligence Theory by Howard Gardner.


The psychological foundations of education provide teachers with insight into various theories in psychology that can be used in educational practice. Understanding child psychology and its relationship to learning must not only be mastered by child psychologists and educational psychologists. In the school environment, teachers must also understand this.

Education can occur in various environments: informal, formal, and non-formal. Schools are formal educational institutions with detailed curricula and learning objectives, as well as professional educators and education staff. Teachers, as professionals, are expected to be able to optimize the learning process in the school environment. The psychological foundation of education can help achieve this goal.

As a student, have you ever complained about stress, boredom, or difficulty understanding your teacher's explanations while studying? Then, as a teacher, have you ever felt that your students have low enthusiasm during learning or the assignments cannot be completed well?

Teachers minimize, understand, and face these challenges if they understand the psychological foundations of education. Of course, apart from understanding, teachers must also be able to implement their understanding in learning activities.

For example, understanding child development helps teachers better understand child development and characteristics. Meanwhile, learning theory helps teachers create meaningful learning for students.

So what about pre-service teachers? The psychological foundation of education is also essential for pre-service teachers because this is a way for them to prepare themselves as teachers in the future. Understanding the psychological foundations of education should start before becoming a teacher and continue to be improved when you become a teacher.


In the school environment, the psychological foundations of education can be implemented in academic and non-academic situations. The academic situation is related to the learning process, both learning activities in and outside the classroom. Meanwhile, non-academic situations support the continuation of academic activities.

Implementing the psychological foundations of education is related, among other things, to the learning climate, educational experience, and selecting appropriate content. Some examples of implementing the psychological foundations of education in the school environment are class stage divisions and majors, understanding student characteristics, lesson planning, guidance and counselling programs, and extracurricular programs.

Class Stage Divisions and Majors

The implementation of the psychological foundations of education visible in the school environment is the grouping of classes based on the age range of students, for example, 4-6 years in kindergarten and 7-13 years in elementary school. This is the ideal standard of formal education in Indonesia.

Differences in standards may occur in particular situations, such as students' level of intelligence and social-emotional readiness. For example, students not yet seven years old are permitted to enter elementary school if they have a statement from their kindergarten teacher, child psychologist, or educational psychologist stating that the child is ready to enter a higher level of formal education.

Apart from grouping classes according to age range, when students enter high school, there are also class classifications based on specialization. Until the Kurikulum 2013 (2013 Curriculum), groupings were limited to science, social studies, language majors, or special skills at vocational schools in Indonesia.

However, since implementing the Kurikulum Merdeka (Freedom Curriculum), groupings have been directed at subject groups rather than knowledge groups. For example, groups of subjects are predicted to be needed by those interested in business, medicine, engineering, and other professional fields.

Understanding Student Characteristics

Is it essential for teachers to understand student characteristics? Absolutely. The skill of understanding student characteristics is even included in one of several indicators of teacher pedagogical skills in Indonesia. This emphasizes the importance of these skills.

Understanding student characteristics can help teachers formulate meaningful learning activities for students. This understanding includes, among other things, students' developmental stages, their needs and talents. Teachers can understand the characteristics of their students using two methods: tests and non-tests.

Tests can be carried out in collaboration with institutions that facilitate student interest and talent tests, intellectual ability tests, and other psychological tests. Apart from that, teachers can also look at students' learning outcomes as a consideration of their interests and talents. There may be children who get high scores in arts but not mathematics, and vice versa.

Meanwhile, non-tests can be carried out by observing student behaviour and discussing with students directly. Teachers can observe students' enthusiasm when studying specific subjects. Then, teachers can also ask other fellow teachers regarding this matter. In addition, teachers can ask students directly about the subjects they like or are good at.

Lesson Planning

In learning planning, there are several things that teachers must consider. First, formulate learning objectives following the subject matter's objectives and, of course, the student's stage of development. The teacher's understanding of the child's developmental stages will help the teacher formulate appropriate learning activity plans.

Second, after determining the learning objectives, the teacher considers learning methods and media that can help achieve the learning objectives. Learning methods and media should ideally be diverse to facilitate students' various learning styles, interests, and potential.

Learning activities must be meaningful and can increase students' learning motivation. The hope is that students do not just learn because of school demands. However, they love the learning process both at school and outside school.

Third, teachers design learning evaluations that can assess student learning outcomes optimally. As teachers, we sometimes focus on learning activities but neglect evaluation a little, even though evaluation is critical to see student achievements and formulate further learning activities.

Besides conforming to learning objectives, teachers must provide learning evaluations creatively. Evaluation does not always take the form of a paper-based test. Evaluation can affect students' motivation to study and cause excessive academic stress when facing exams.

Guidance and Counselling Programs

Furthermore, implementing the psychological foundation of education in schools requires guidance and counselling activities. A situation that often arises is that when called by the guidance and counselling teacher, students feel worried that they have made a mistake even though guidance and counselling are not only for 'troublesome' students.

However, school guidance and counselling can help students face various challenges, such as motivation to study, analyzing the profession or college major they want to pursue, resolving social conflicts with friends, and dealing with academic stress.

Extracurricular Programs

Further, the implementation of the psychological foundations of education is extracurricular programs that can facilitate students in developing their interests and talents. At school, students can explore their interests in certain fields at relatively low cost, sometimes without spending any money.

Indeed, extracurricular programs do have limitations. The duration of the activity is relatively short. However, if students are interested in exploring a particular field after trying it in extracurricular activities, they can join clubs or similar activities outside of school. However, these activities often require higher costs.


The psychological foundations of education examine psychological theories that can be used to optimize learning activities, such as child development theory and learning theory. The implementation in schools can be academic and non-academic activities, such as grouping class stage divisions and majors, understanding student characteristics, learning planning, guidance and counselling programs, and extracurricular programs.


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