Brahm NORWICH : Education and Psychology in Interaction : Working with Uncertainty in Interconnected Fields

Publication Information : Book Title : Education and Psychology in Interaction : Working with Uncertainty in Interconnected Fields. Contributors : Brahm Norwich – author. Publisher : Routledge. Place of Publication : London. Publication Year : 2000. Page Number : iii.

A preface is an opportunity to say something personal about the book, to present it to the reader from a different perspective. Although I include a personal angle in the introductory and concluding chapters, I feel it is worth making some of these points at the start of the book.

This book has taken several years to write. This is partly the usual problem of finding time to write while teaching, researching and carrying out administrative responsibilities. But it has also taken time to put together the ideas so as to form a broad overview. This has meant revisiting familiar work, and searching out new work from other fields that bear on the themes examined here.

What prompted me specifically to start the book was the extent of the decline in the position and value placed on educational psychology in university departments and institutes of education in the mid-1990s. This was impressed on me at a meeting of the Education Section of the British Psychological Society about that time. Someone remarked that professorial chairs in educational psychology at well-regarded schools of education were not being filled. This passing remark captured the significance of the widely recognised issues faced by educational psychology as both a theoretical and a practitioner field over a longer period.

What has been the relationship between psychology and education in the changing social and political context ? What is the basis for a constructive future relationship ? Though much has been written and said about this, little has been done that is based on a fundamental analysis of issues and questions. One of the continuing questions for me was whether psychology had already been ‘given away’, to use the phrase current in the 1970s. Do psychologists working in education have a continuing and distinctive contribution to make ? For example, have the empirical and systematic methods of research and evaluation which psychology has contributed been taken over and developed by non-psychologist educational researchers ? Have the ideas and practices which have been developed by practitioner psychologists been adopted by teachers and educationalists, leaving psychologists with no distinctive contribution to make ?

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