Prominent Pioneers in Educational Psychology there are many scientist Researched on it.
Joseph Mayer Rice
He is one of those who set the stage for Thorndike. He was the great muckraker and classroom observer. He is considered as the father of research on teaching.
Edward Lee Thorndike
E.L.Thorndike, an American pioneer in comparative psychology, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts sin 1874 to the family of a Metyhodist minister. He became interested in the field of psychology after reading William James. He was awarded the doctorate for his classic thesis “Animal Intelligence” which was an experimental study of the associative processes in animals. He became an instructor of psychology at Teachers College at Columbia University and there he studied human learning, education, and mental testing. Thorndike’s pioneer investigations in the fields of human and animal learning are among the most influential in the history of psychology. In 1912 he was recognized for his accomplishments and elected president of the American Psychological Association. He introduced the concept of reinforcement. His work is often called connectionism because of the idea that bonds between stimulus and response take the form of neural connections. According to him learning involves the “stamping in” of connections, and forgetting involves “stamping out” connections. He gave the “Law of Exercise” which means connections become strengthened with practice, and weaken when practice is discontinued. He said that intelligence is a function of the number of connections made.
He was also among the first to apply psychological principles in the area of teaching. Hull accepted Thorndike’s view that connections were formed between stimuli and response rather than between reward and response.
Thorndike believed that only empirical work should guide education. In his book “Introduction to Teaching” he wrote that psychological science is to teaching, as botany is to farming, mechanics is to architecture, and physiology and pathology are to the physician. Thorndike wrote that “Man is free only in a world whose every event he can understand and foresee… We are captains of our souls only in so far as… we can understand and foresee every response which we will make to every situation.
According to him psychology does not need to go into the classroom, it can drive its laws from the laboratory and hand them down to the teachers. He promoted the belief that only science would save education. He believed that quantitative experiments should be preferred over qualitative, clinical or naturalistic observation.
Criticism on Thorndike
Thorndike first failed to distinguish between the goals of and the methods used in the physical and the social sciences. To Thorndike people were as easy to study as stones and toads. Secondly, Thorndike did not pay enough attention to the social and historical contexts in which people lived and in which schools operated. Third, Thorndike had a blind faith that all of the achievements of science were desirable. He seemed to believe this even after Hiroshima and Nazi extermination camps, the event which causes many people to question their faith in science. Finally, Thorndike overlooked the aesthetic dimension of science. The art of educational psychology surfaces occasionally, as it does in every other branch of science.