Psychology students are encouraged to develop a fascination with the mind and the way that it influences our behaviour. Psychology students regularly relate material covered to their own lives and the world around them. Through research methods and exploring a range of approaches, they learn to question theories and research studies, as well as consider a range of perspectives.
Mrs E Elwell, Head of Psychology
Why study this subject?
Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour, the Brain and the Mind. Psychologists observe human behaviour, create theories to explain the behaviour, and then carry out research to test these theories. Psychology is a challenging subject, requiring commitment and hard work. Ultimately though, the hard work is rewarded with a deeper understanding of people and society, and perhaps even yourself.
Is it right for me?
Psychology gives you a mental toolkit for analysing and interpreting information and builds empathy and understanding, supporting your ability to express yourself clearly and logically.
Psychology lessons vary, but tend to be made up of discussions, reading, investigating sources, debates and presentations. It is a broad subject, with many different areas and a number of different approaches towards explaining behaviour. Not all psychologists agree with each other.
Year 9 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Developmental Psychology
Mindset, learning, practice and effort
Dweck’s mindset theory and Willinghams learning theory.
Are skills with us from birth (nature) or do they change because of our experiences (nurture).
This is an engaging first topic for Year 9 Psychologists as it is directly relevant to them as learners of new subjects and skills.
Half Term 2 - How memory works
How does memory work?
What is the key to enhancing your long term memory and how would a psychologist suggest you revise? Why do we forget?
This topic introduces the cognitive approach of psychology and the reductionism versus holism debate, showing students that psychologists take many different perspectives to understanding behaviour.
Half Term 3 - Neuropsychology and the brain
How do our brains influence our behaviour?
What is the role of the brain and the central nervous system? How does brain damage impact on behaviour?
This topic has been chosen so that by the end of Year 9 students have a strong understanding of three different approaches to understanding behaviour: Developmental, Cognitive and Biological.
Half Term 4 - Research Methods
Students develop a toolkit of research methods.
The topic has been chosen because it will prepare students for designing their own research project during the next half term and to give them insight into how Psychologist’s discover new things about behaviour.
Half Term 5 - Research Methods: project
Students have an opportunity to showcase an area of personal interest by planning and conducting an extended research project.
This has been chosen to give students an opportunity to pursue an area of personal interest and to experience what it would be like to be a research psychologist.
Half Term 6 - Social Psychology: Bystander behaviour
Why do people sometimes not help in emergency situations?
Students research the case study of Kitty Genovese, and analyse bystander behaviour.
Year 10 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Memory and eyewitness testimony
Students learn about why our memories may not always be accurate and link this to eyewitness behaviour in the courtroom.
This follows on from student learning in Year 9 about how our memory works, but this time focussing on problems associated with memory.
Half Term 2 - Neuropsychology: gender differences
Is it true that men and women have different brains?
This follows on from student learning in Year 9 about areas of the brains, but this time focuses on how our brains might be different.
Half Term 3 - Social Psychology: obedience, conformity and bystander behaviour
What causes someone to ‘act out of character’ - is it the social situation they are in?
For example, why did so many people obey the immoral instructions from Hitler in WWII? And why did some people resist?
Is it true that teenagers feel more ‘peer pressure’ than adults?
Half Term 4 - Research Methods: investigations and handling data
Psychologists collect data and makes sure that their claims are backed up by scientific evidence.
Year 10 students will develop a critical understanding about how Psychologists plan their research and why they might choose different research methods.
Half Term 5 - Criminal Psychology: what makes someone a criminal?
Are criminals born or made?
Students use their understanding of genetics, brain areas and learning theories to explain why someone might become a criminal.
What influences our personality and is there such a thing as a ‘criminal personality type’.
Half Term 6 - Criminal Psychology: punishment and rehabilitation
What is the best way to punish criminal behaviour? Can we prevent criminal behaviour?
Students develop an understanding of behaviourist learning theories and cognitive behaviour therapy and explain how these might be used to punish and rehabilitate criminals.
Year 11 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Developmental: stages of development
Do all children go through the same stages of development?
What skills do 12 year olds have that 4 year olds dont have and how does this influence the types of activities that help them learn?
What are morals and do we have the same set of morals throughout our lives? How does this change with age?
Half Term 2 - Psychological problems: depression
What is depression and why might someone develop it?
How can we support someone with depression?
How can we treat depression?
Students use their understanding of genetics, brain areas and nurture to explore explanations and treatments for depression.
Half Term 3 - Psychological problems: addiction
What is addiction and why might someone develop it?
How can we support someone with addiction?
How can we treat addiction?
Students use their understanding of genetics, brain areas and nurture to explore explanations and treatments for addiction.
Half Term 4 - Sleep and Dreaming
Why do we feel sleepy in the evening?
What happens to our brain while we are asleep and why is it important we sleep at least 8 hours a night?
Students develop and understanding of Freud’s ‘dream work’ theory and discuss whether or not dreams have meaning. Could dream analysis be used as therapy or is this not scientific enough to be valid?
Half Term 5 - Revision