Let’s all be positive!

Positive Psychology is receiving more and more consideration by mainstream psychologists.  While traditionally By Ilona Boniwell, PP UK website. psychology has focused on understanding unhappiness and dysfunction, Positive Psychology, in the words of  its founder, Martin Seligman, is the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive'.  We can all learn by knowing how some people are resilient and resourceful in the face of adversity, while others crumble. Positive ...

Tips for remembering material

We're coming up to the time of the year when students are asking their teachers, sometimes in an increasingly frantic manner, "How do I remember all of this?"  Teachers' responses don't always help calm them, as they often involve something in the nature of  "You must also focus on how to use it."  The result can be panic - so here are some tips for students (and teachers) concerning how to remember material in a meaningful way. Teach it to someone else ...

When I’ve had just one more cigarette…

By Thursday, January 1, 2015 , , , , 0

New Year is the time when many smokers and heavy drinkers will resolve to give up cigarettes or alcohol. Studying addictive behaviours is part of the Health Psychology option, and is a topic of great interest to students, many of whom themselves will already be addicted to nicotine.  Attitudes to smoking and to excessive drinking have changed greatly over the years, as the dangers of addiction became apparent. See here for an insight to exactly how much advertising has altered ...

Sleep and mental health.

The BBC's All in the Mind Radio programme often details interesting examples of research that can spark your students' interest in Psychology.  Recently, the editor of the British Psychological Society appeared on the programme and outlined recent research. One of the most interesting findings from sleep researchers Putilov et al. was that we are not all either owls or larks, but there are two intermediate chronotypes.  (So far listeners to the programme have proposed "swifts" and "dodos or pelicans").  This ...

Interesting research for the Abnormal Psychology option

It is about this time of year that your Year 2 students and you are learning and talking about different mental disorders.  It is important to keep these  discussions relevant and up to date, and this is where the different internet resources are helpful. In What's Wrong with Empirically-Supported Treatments? clinical psychologist Rune Moelbak argues that elevating the status of  scientifically-supported treatments reduces the patient to a passive recipient of treatment.  Moelbak's article raises questions that are relevant to TOK as ...

Recent research in Psychology

Having fun with Psychology One of the factors that makes Psychology such fun to teach is that there are always new findings being published and spoken about, some more reliable than others, but all worth looking at and occasionally adding to your lesson. For example, today new research was published concerning the mechanism that repairs the brain after a stroke.  If you are teaching about the biological level of analysis, you could link this nicely to neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor's presentation regarding ...

Psychology in the News

By Friday, August 1, 2014 , 0

Psychology is everywhere, from popular press explanations regarding human behaviour, to peer-reviewed journal articles  which might not be quite so entertaining to read, but which probably contain more accuracy than will be found in the media headlines.  The challenge is to get students to sort out the scientifically supported from the simply scandalous.  Fortunately for us as teachers there are a number of good sites that make an excellent job of explaining current psychological research in easy-to- understand terms. Psychology Today ...

Have fun teaching about memory.

Most students find the idea of the unreliability of memory very interesting.  There is a lot of material in psychology that can help you make your memory lessons 'unforgettable'.  Memory is one of the processes studied at the cognitive level of analysis, along with perception.  All relevant exam questions can be answered using either, so there is no need to teach both. Key issues in memory are: Theories and models of how memory operates and is organized. Unreliability of memory Role of emotion in ...

Psychology fun!

The end of one year draws close, and already you are probably thinking of holidays and relaxation. (Unless you teach in the Southern hemisphere of course, but these blog suggestions can still help you out). Maybe spending some a few minutes thinking about how to "hook" your new Psychology students into the subject within the first few weeks is time well spent? Psychology is one of the easiest subjects in which to do this. Most students start it full of enthusiasm, ...

Use it or lose it! Revision and neural pathways.

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change its structure in response to learning new skills, and practice of old ones.  So how does this relate to students and exam revision? Simple - pathways between neurons can be strengthened over time and with repeated actions.  Students should start revising early, and remember that simple repetition – practising retrieving a memory over and over again – is the best form of consolidating the pattern and increasing the neural connections. Students should also try ...