Staying Current as a Teacher of Psychology

Whether you are an experienced psychology teacher or just starting your NQT year there are always going to be developments in the area of psychology and a need to stay current. Here I’ve collated lots of links and resources, some free, some paid, that I think all psychology teachers should consider. If you can think of anything that I’ve missed then contact me.

Magazines and Journals

Keeping up-to-date with current research in psychology, and the teaching of psychology is a great pleasure of the teaching psychology. Here are a range of magazines and journals that will keep you current with new research in psychology and from psychology classrooms.

The Psychologist is the monthly publication of the BPS which is free to members or you can access the free archive which contains most of the articles. It contains great feature articles (like Phil Banyard’s recent “Where is psychology’s non-stick frying pan?“), reviews of books and resources, and current research for all psychologists.

Also from the BPS is the Psychology Teaching Review, which is a quarterly journal published by the Division of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology. This is a peer reviewed journal that you get free with membership of DARTP or you can buy individually if you see an issue you’d like from the BPS shop.

Teaching of Psychology is the journal from the APA Division 2 for Teaching of Psychology (you get free access with membership of the division). If you teach psychology at a high school, introductory college, or higher level, you will find something of practical use in every issue of Teaching of Psychology. This indispensable journal offers creative and hands-on articles that help you use a variety of resources (for example, technology as a teaching tool) to enhance student learning.

Psychology Learning and Teaching (PLAT) is an international peer-reviewed journal devoted to enhancing knowledge of how to improve learning and teaching of psychology. To this purpose, PLAT publishes research articles, reviews, target articles and corresponding comments as well as reports on good and innovative learning, teaching and assessment practices.

As a member of The Association for the Teaching of Psychology (below) you get a magazine, ‘ATP Today’, three times a year. This contains reviews, feature articles and information from psychology teachers in the UK, for psychology teachers in the UK.

Psychology Review is aimed more at students, but it’s still interesting for teachers to have a flick through. Especially good to get a school subscription, or point it out to your students to subscribe to as well.

Books & Resources

One of the most downloaded resources in the psychology section of Resourcd.com. Brilliantly compiled by Michael Griffin with help from Resourcd and TES users, the Psychology Teachers Toolkit is crammed full of inspiring and practical ideas for psychology teachers. Loads of ideas, activities and assessment strategies for psychology teachers – there’s not a lot more you need.

The BPS will send you some great Psychology Careers Posters for free to liven up your classroom and let your students know what the ‘next steps’ are for different careers in psychology.

Teaching Psychology 14-19 is a core text for all training psychology teachers, as well as experienced teachers engaged in further study and professional development. Taking a reflective approach, Matt Jarvis explores key issues and debates against a backdrop of research and theory, and provides guidance on practical ideas intended to make life in the psychology classroom easier.

The BPS Research Digest want to demonstrate how fascinating and useful psychological science can be, while also casting a critical eye over the methods used. They don’t just pick up on the same studies covered by the mainstream media. The editor regularly trawls hundreds of peer-reviewed journals looking for the latest findings from across the breadth of psychological science.

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Associations

There are a wide selection of groups, societies and associations for teachers of psychology. Some are worth the fee, some might not be, you decide. With many of these you get access to a journal or magazine free (see the above list).

If you’re only going to join one group then it has to be the Association for the Teaching of Psychology (£25 annually, discount for student teachers). The ATP organise an annual conference where hundreds of psychology teachers come together to share best practice (and a few drinks) – members get a discount on tickets. You also get ATP Today free three times a year.

The British Psychological Society (£128 annually) has a powerful voice in raising the profile of psychology, developing standards and advancing the discipline. As a member of the BPS you get a copy of The Psychologist free every month as well as access to a whole range of benefits. If £128 is a bit steep for your wallet you can join as an e-subscriber for only £12 a year where you can access digital copies of the Psychologist each month rather than have it pop through your letterbox.

If you are a member of the BPS you can further join the Division of Academics, Researchers & Teachers in Psychology. DARTP promotes the professional interests of psychologists who teach and/or conduct research, whether in a university, school, college or any other academic environment. DARTP aims to facilitate the professional development of academics, researchers and teachers in psychology.

The Society for the Teaching of Psychology ($25/~£15), a division of the American Psychological Association (APA), advances understanding of the discipline by promoting excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology. The Society also strives to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning, advocate for the needs of teachers of psychology, foster partnerships across academic settings, and increase recognition of the value of the teaching profession. You don’t need to be a member of the APA to join and you get the Teaching of Psychology journal free four times a year.

European Federation of Psychology Teachers’ Associations (EFPTA) is a federation of national and regional associations of psychology teachers in schools and colleges in European countries. Members are mainly involved in teaching psychology at lower and upper secondary levels, to school students aged c.13-19 years. Their aim is to promote pre-university psychology education in Europe by facilitating co-operation amongst Psychology Teachers’ Associations.To this end we organise conferences, facilitate student and teacher collaborative projects, conduct research, and engage with other psychologists’ associations and educational organisations in Europe

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Training and INSET

The Association for the Teaching of Psychology Annual Conference is for teachers of psychology and will offer updating sessions on psychology, presentations and workshops on teaching and learning, and opportunities to share good practice. The three-day ATP Annual conference boasts over 50 workshops to enhance your CPD on a wide range of topics from teaching and learning to current research. It is the number one CPD event for teachers of psychology in the UK.

Resourcd Webinars  –  Webinar: Short for Web-based seminar, it is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software. Resourcd Webinars offer a variety of sessions from big names in psychology from the comfort of your classroom (or living room).

Glyndwr University’s MSc in Teaching of Psychology provides excellent CPD for practising teachers of post-16 Psychology who wish to obtain a Masters level qualification to maximise progression through the teaching procession. Both psychology graduates and graduates in other disciplines are eligible for this programme, which will support progressional development through an advanced study of theoretical developments and contemporary issues combined with the development of teaching and assessment skills.

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Forums, e-Lists and Social Media

There’s a range of other support from forums and e-lists where you can ask questions, get involved in discussions about teaching of psychology and develop your networks.

PsychExchange @ Resourcd is the biggest forum and file sharing site for teachers in the UK. Here you can share ideas, see a massive 20,000 uploaded files from teachers, and get involved in the community.

PsychTeacher PsychTeacher is a moderated discussion list for teachers of psychology at all levels of education that is owned and operated by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

Diversity-Teach Listserv focuses on issues related to infusing diversity and international perspectives into the psychology curriculum in addition to diversity-specific courses.  The forum is open to all who are interested in incorporating diversity into their teaching at all levels (including high school, 2-year, 4-year college/university, and graduate school settings).

Teaching in the Psychological Sciences is an electronic-based discussion group developed by the Department of Psychology, and Academic Computing at Frostburg State University. The primary goal of this electronic conference is to promote teaching improvement by providing a daily forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

Psychologists who Tweet – I wrote a post collating lots of psychologists, writers and linked associations in Psychology over at PsychBLOG a year ago. You’ll find loads of people you might want to follow – including me @jamiedavies!

Spaced Revision | Improving Revision with Effective Techniques.

As we start to approach the exam session again, many students (and teachers) will be entering their favourite purveyor of stationary goods to arm themselves with all thhighlight-in-bookse tools that one could need to prepare for an exam: cue cards, revision books and, of course, highlighters. I have seen many students think that revisiting their notes armed with a handful of multicoloured highlighters is an effective way to get ready for the big day — well at least there is something visible to show for their efforts.

In this post, I will suggest a new evidenced based revision strategy called ‘Spaced Learning’. I provide some resources that I use in class at the bottom of the post to get you started too.

A recent study (Dunlosky, 2013) considered the relative benefits of a variety of revision and learning strategies and reflected on the impact they have on both learning and retention. Some of the findings should not come as a surprise to you (highlighting and rereading are not effective) but there is probably more to be gained by focusing on the top performing techniques that both teachers and students should be using.

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Elements that seem to be key to improving retention are techniques that encourage the learner to think about what they are reviewing and distributing their efforts over time. The full article is quite a read at over 50 pages but it is possible to drop into it and review each of the ten techniques individually or just read the discussion of the article.

The Spaced Revision Technique

From this the idea of ‘Spaced Revision’ has evolved – an evidence based revision strategy that empowers students to use the techniques that work best for them within a set of scaffolding to support them. It has four stages that repeat over the course of a set period of time. This could be a revision period, over the course of a module, or ongoing over the course of the year.

Each spaced learning topic spans two days with two stages on the first day and the second two on the following day. A variety of different techniques are used for each topic you are reviewing (interleaved practice).

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Stage 1: Review a topic – for the first 20 minutes utilise any technique you are comfortable with to review the topic. This could be highlighting, making notes, creating flashcards or using post-its. Often, you might stop after this and think ‘my revision is done!’. But no, this is just the start of an effective learning technique.

Stage 2: Transformation task – this is building on the elaborative learning tasks discussed above. Here you need to transform the notes or highlighting that you have from Stage 1 into something different. This could be a mindmap, a drawing, a song, a poem. By doing this you will have to be thinking ‘how’ am I going to show this content in a different form and ‘why’ does each piece belong. It can be fun too.

That is the end of the first session. When you return to your revision in the next day or two (distributed practice) you complete Stages 3 and 4 on the first topic and then start again with Stages 1 and 2 of a new topic.

Stage 3: Practice testing – with a friend, family member or one of the many websites online that have relevant psychology quizzes – test yourself on the area that you have reviewed.

Stage 4: Exam questions – finally, complete an exam question or questions on the area you have reviewed and mark this yourself using a mark scheme or ask your teacher to mark it (practice testing). Importantly, when you are composing your answer use elaborative interrogation and think ‘why am I writing this?’

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The aim of Spaced Learning to to allow students to use techniques that they enjoy and help them revise while giving them a supportive scaffold to keep them going (or get them started).

Give it a go and let me know how you find the technique by tweeting @jamiedavies.

 

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  • You need to plan your revision well and make sure that you stick to the plan. If you ever miss a session, you need to double up. It is all too easy to fall behind and then just give up with the process. With that in mind make an achievable plan and stick to it – and here is a sheet to help you do that.
  • Most exam boards put past exam papers that are more than 12 months old online 0r you could use sites like Resourcd to find them too.

Flip your classroom with Resourcd.

Have you ever had a video you just wish you had time to watch in class? Do you want to engage your learners with something other than a hand-out for homework? Why not Flip your classroom? With Resourcd. you can now do this with ease.

There are lots of different ideas about Flipping your classroom, see this TED talk for more. But essentially you provide your learners with resources and videos to allow them to ‘learn’ the material as homework and then build on this with skills in your classroom.

Now with Resourcd Flipped you can try this, or just give a different type of homework for your students. Here is an example of a flipped session. You provide the student with a video and linked documents and activities that they complete outside of class (or in class if you are lucky enough to have a computer suite at your disposal).

See the video and try to Flip your first lesson. Enjoy!

The Scribble-it Lesson Plan

Taking inspiration from @teachertoolkit’s 5 Minute Lesson plan I wanted a simple but less structured sheet that I could scribble my plan for a session with links to oracy, literacy and numeracy, AfL, differentiation and the links with prior learning on.

This is what I’ve come up with – well it’s first incarnation. You can download an A4 version of it here.

 

Feel free to use, or even take inspiration from yourself and create a version that works better for you. If you do, share you thoughts, experiences and changes with everyone.