Psychology is a key subject at our school and one of the most popular subjects for students. Psychology lessons begin in Year 8 where students are introduced to the key concepts and figures such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. In Year 9 students focus on some of the key areas in Psychology such as attachment, atypical behaviour, the self and the relationship between sex and gender. Years 10 and 11 are devoted to the Psychology GCSE course.
Understanding Human Behaviour
So what makes Psychology lessons so universally popular with students? As students reach their teenage years they are increasingly fascinated by the big, personal questions, such as who am I, am I different, where do my emotions come from and what determines people’s behaviour? In Psychology students have the opportunity to address these questions in considerable detail. For some students this can feel like the lifting of a veil as they begin to make sense of themselves and those around them. It allows students to step back from themselves and begin to understand who they are, how they are both unique and part of a shared human experience. The fundamental purpose of these lessons is to help to develop the student’s self-awareness and to help them to understand their emotions and behaviour. We believe that these lessons are key to the student’s personal, social and academic development.
'The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.'
William James (1842-1910)
Developing New Perspectives
Psychology lessons are mostly discussion based. They can take the form of a safe, group therapy where students can feel supported and heard. Equally lessons spill over into other disciplines like Philosophy where the students are able to explore key philosophical questions such as do we have free will and do we perceive the world subjectively or is objectivity possible? These discussions help to expand the student’s minds, which inevitably helps them with other subjects such as English, History and Science, as it provides them with new reference points and perspectives.
Carrying Out Research in Psychology
Although many lessons involve deep discussions, Psychology is also a hands on subject. A key component of Psychology involves creating and conducting research. Here the students develop studies / experiments where they can test the theories they have been studying and apply the key scientific principles of research. Students are encouraged to work scientifically, considering all angles and refining their experiment to avoid unnecessary bias or extraneous variables. Carrying out these studies teaches students the essential lesson that theories require evidence and careful consideration.
Here is a general outline of the topics studied at our school. Please note that this is principally a guide and is subject to change.