Frequently Asked Questions

What is a school psychologist?

A school psychologist is interested in the translation and implementation of Psychological knowledge within the school system. This implies that psychology is the core of the student's training and the foundation upon which professional development will occur. Such a conception demands that the psychologist draw upon a number of specialty areas such as professional education, educational psychology, clinical and child psychology, curriculum design, developmental psychology, social psychology, and the experimental analysis of behavior.

Where does a school psychologist work?

A school psychologist works in a variety of different environments including: public schools, clinics and hospitals, private schools, school health clinics, universities, community agencies, and in private practice.

What is the school psychologist's function in the educational environment?

The school psychologist does not apply skills in a vacuum, but in the context of an educational system containing other professionals. Therefore, the psychologist must have a realistic understanding of the functions, methods, and problems of the school, and be especially appreciative of the role of the classroom teacher as well as other special staff members carrying on related functions (e.g., the counselor, speech therapist, special education teacher, etc.). The school psychologist is involved in consultation, assessment, intervention, prevention, educational development, research, planning, and health care provision.

What educational factors are common issues for school psychologist?

Many unique situations are contained within the general learning environment. The major psychosocial factors to be considered in any situation include, the child, the teacher, other children, the family and the specific cultural environment. These will directly affect the other factors and exert major influences on the learning and behavior of any given child. To deal with the relation of these factors, the school psychologist will need to be familiar with two areas: (1) psychological theories including intervention theories, cognition and personality paradigms, assessment and evaluation procedures, methods of communication, and so on; and (2) the structure and organization of public schools, particularly the practical aspects of day-to-day instruction and the problems teachers encounter.

What is the goal of education?

The school psychologist recognizes that the ultimate goal of education is to provide all pupils with opportunities for maximal intellectual, educational and interpersonal growth so that they may live full and satisfying lives as contributing members of a diverse society. Clearly, the pupil is the cornerstone of attention for everyone. With special training in inter- and intra-personal behavior, and an appreciation for the contributions of diverse groups, the school psychologist is in a unique position to recognize and deal with many variables within the school system that contribute to the child's development (i.e., the teacher, the administration, peers, class and program placement, specific situations, and so on.)

What is the school psychology program like at MTSU?

The School Psychology Program at Middle Tennessee State University is field-based. The purpose of the program is to educate Ed.S. level school psychologists for licensure by the Tennessee Board of Education. Graduates also are eligible to apply for designation as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. The program requires a research-based thesis.

What type of theory does the MTSU school psychology program use?

The school psychology program uses a psychosocial model and promotes a multicultural perspective that celebrates human diversity. The program sees the child as a unique individual always confronting a unique situation. As such, the child can only be understood in the context of both the general factors that contribute to the environment and the specific factors that make up the child's unique situation. The child's learning environment is influenced by three major social systems: society in general (including the cultural context), the family situation, and the school system. Differing sets of values, goals, and expectations are possessed by each of these social systems, and their interaction will exert major influences on the child and the classroom. The school psychologist must be prepared to understand and deal with each of these factors.