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5 ways to ensure that your Psychology classes are industry relevant

Psychology is a relevant subject and here 5 ways you may want to try to help your students connect Psychology to their studies and employment beyond school no matter what they might want to pursue.

  1. Know your students. It might seem obvious but make a real and genuine effort to know what students are considering doing when they leave school. This is often done amongst whakawhanaungatanga activities at the start of the year but do try and revisit throughout.

  2. Alphabet Career Game: This is a fun and simple activity, you get students to write a career for each letter of the alphabet in teams like a race. Then explore the definition of Psychology. The students then break up the alphabet in their groups and figure out how Psychology does relate to all the careers. Students get deep into debates about tradies, hospitality workers, Engineers etc.

  3. Fields. The ‘Fields’ Assessment at all levels is undeniably the most fantastic standard at exploring the use of theories within fields and also theories used in wider society. You can get students to look at professions and industries as the focus for their impact arguments instead of sticking to the ‘changed perception/ideologies in society argument’. You can do activities about how jobs and professions have changed due to a theory. If you are thinking of introducing or replacing a field to your offerings, consider if there is a popular career choice within the students that you can use like business, health or education, etc.

  4. Guests: This can totally vary depending on your location and connections. Local Universities or Polytechnic offer a lot of workshops and in school lectures. The Universities may discuss the logistical pathways of mainstream Psychology careers like Counsellors, Psychiatrist and Psychologists. However, they know Psychology is a popular Minor throughout New Zealand Universities and if you ask they could focus on the complementary nature of Psychology. It doesn’t have to be that formal though; sometimes you just meet people who you know are using Psychology or work in the industry and it never hurts to ask if they would come and talk to your class.

  5. Term Four Fun: When the year is wrapping up and you have a few blocks to go, have fun with it! Let students explore Psychology beyond the curriculum and look into careers. You could even do a mini series of short documentaries that showcase different jobs. These are always easy to find and you can find a range such as security dog trainers, professional athletes, probation officers, etc.

We all know the skills that Psychology implicitly teaches students will always help them later in life but these activities are about making that explicit connection.

Lately, just remember that not all students taking Psychology want to or will become Psychiatrists or Psychologists.

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