A group of psychologists having similar points of views and making similar approaches to study human mind or behaviour constitute a school of thought in psychology. The important schools of psychology are:
- Gestalt psychology
The school of functionalism was originated as a reaction to the school of structuralism and it was initiated by by William James, the father of American psychology. Functionalism studies mind as its functions in adapting the individual to his environment. This school flourished in the universities of Chicago and Columbia in America and thus two different streams came into existence – the Columbia functionalism and the Chicago functionalism. The important among the Chicago functionalist were Dewcy, Angell and Carr. The Columbia functionalist include Thorndike, Cattell and Woodworth.
According to functionalism the aim of psychology is the study of what for and what of mental process. It is concerned with the nature and functions of mental process with emphasis on how these process work. Functionalism considers mind to be a recent development, still in an evolutionary phase, the function of which is to aid man’s adjustment to his environment.
- Functionalism revolutionized the curriculum by replacing theoretically overloaded curriculum with subjects having practical utility.
- Study of various problems of the learner and their solution is emphasized by functionalism in education.
- Functionalism gave utmost importance to learning by doing and developed activty oriented methods like project methods for teaching and learning.
- It emphasized child centered learning.
- The term function is variously used by different functionalists and they failed to define many important psychological concepts unanimously.
- Functionalism is teleological (it holds that mind functions to achieve some purpose)and electic.
- Like structuralists,functionalists also focused only on consciousness and neglected the unconscious facts of human mind.