Psychology has an assessment problem

This is the fourth in a series of posts themed around curriculum thinking in Psychology. Inspired by Sarah Jones’ brilliant piece on ‘the small subjects’, here I am hoping to develop that conversation for my own subject. And although this is subject-specific, I hope that anyone with an interest in the important questions about whatContinue reading “Psychology has an assessment problem”

Schemas: the good, the bad and the reconstructed

There’s a lot of talk about memory in education. Until fairly recently, no one really seemed to be talking about schemas in relation to teaching; now they’re everywhere! The only time I encountered them formally was when looking at Piaget as part of my training. As a Psychology teacher they’re very familiar to me, althoughContinue reading “Schemas: the good, the bad and the reconstructed”

Developing performance, not managing it

Jo Castelino’s recent post on teacher development (improvement ain’t a bad word) resonated with me; we’ve all either been or had experience of those who don’t see improvement as something that really applies to them. For many, performance management or appraisal are also considered dirty words, full of negative connotations. But if we want teachersContinue reading “Developing performance, not managing it”

Making a MOCKery of Feedback

Like many teachers I’ve recently spent a lot of time marking mock papers. An important question to consider is what you’re going to do once you’ve marked them. Until a couple of years ago I had a really clear answer to that, a process I’d spent a while developing that I thought worked really well,Continue reading “Making a MOCKery of Feedback”

From core to hinterland and back again

“Will this be on the exam?” This might induce a groan in any teacher, but it isn’t a trivial concern. We do have to be wary of trying to teach students too much. We need to recognise that exam mark schemes are difficult to navigate successfully, and for students to under-achieve because we didn’t payContinue reading “From core to hinterland and back again”

Does the devil make work for idle hands?

I’ve been thinking about differentiation a lot recently. Both in my own classes, and in the many lessons I observe, I’m often aware that there are times when some students aren’t doing anything meaningful. In this instance I’m not talking about those who are struggling to start, staring out of the window, poking their classmateContinue reading “Does the devil make work for idle hands?”

Simmering, not boiling

I’m teaching Y12 all about synaptic transmission. Although it feels a little abstract for them right now, it’s absolutely crucial knowledge. I’ve set the scene: later in the course they’ll learn about disorders like depression and schizophrenia, and the drugs used to treat them; they simply can’t do that without sound knowledge of how neurotransmittersContinue reading “Simmering, not boiling”

We need to talk about differentiation. Or do we?

A common piece of feedback that teachers get from lesson observations is something along the lines of “You need to differentiate better.” There are many variations on this theme, whether it’s about scaffolding for lower attaining students or stretch and challenge for those at the top end*. It’s something about which I’ve both received andContinue reading “We need to talk about differentiation. Or do we?”

Opportunity Cost: Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Given that we have a limited amount of time with our students, it’s important that we make that time worth it. Students don’t deserve to have their time wasted completing poorly planned or conceived activities which don’t actually help them learn. Sure, this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, and there are many different thingsContinue reading “Opportunity Cost: Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

Teaching Research Methods in Psychology

Research Methods can be a bit marmite for some – both teachers and students alike. But love it or hate it we can’t ignore the fact that it’s the backbone of Psychology – and other social sciences for that matter. You can’t really discuss an explanation, theory or model without considering the evidence, and youContinue reading “Teaching Research Methods in Psychology”

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