The role of psychological theory in the training of educational psychologists
This thesis looks at the place of psychological theory in the training of educational psychologists, and at the relationship between theory and practice during the training period. Training of educational psychologists in England and Wales consists of a first degree in psychology, followed by teacher qualification and experience, which is followed by a one year Master's degree. Professional psychologists are recognised in the UK through Chartered Psychologist Status of the British Psychological Society, which generally assumes a scientist practitioner model of training and practice. The literature review explores the nature of educational psychology and the question of how far educational psychologists are applied psychologists. It also explores the nature of professional training, including reference to other professions, and some aspects of the theory-practice relationship in professional training. Empirical work consisted of focus group interviews carried out at the end of their Master's year with trainee groups from a sample of the universities, and individual semi-structured interviews of tutors from the same courses. Documentation concerning the courses and training in educational psychology was reviewed and analysed to provide additional information. The data are presented thematically and used to illuminate issues which emerge from the literature. The literature analysis and the data suggest that there are difficulties over the role of psychological theory In the training of educational psychologists, and that there are aspects of their role which make It difficult for educational psychologists to function as applied psychologists. These difficulties may In part be due to the nature and length of the training, and in part due to factors within the profession itself including its position within the LEA.