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Creating engagement - a junior taster

Changing schools was a big decision and in the process I learned that my new school didn’t currently run a Senior Psychology programme. OH NO, what will I teach!!. As a Psychology specialist this was really disappointing for me. However, as a stop-gap for this year, before they introduce Senior Psychology, they have allowed me to run a Year 9 student interest class. For me this was an extremely exciting opportunity as it provided me with a stage to showcase my subject but took away all of the constraints of assessment and timeframes. Effectively I got to choose all the fun bits and create a hand-on and interactive highlights reel.

The students opted into the programme and had a common interest in learning about psychology which was great and meant that even the small bite sized learning snippets were eagerly absorbed.

Using the loose framework of “Who am I” we were able to explore neuroscience and biological influences and then move through behavioural and social influences as well. The fact that we could touch on quite high-level thinking, but just dip our toes in meant that everyone in the room could learn at their own pace. Those that loved it could delve deeper and uncover so many new concepts and those that struggled could identify and relate learnings to their own lives and experiences.

Highlights were definitely exploring memory tasks, optical illusions and reaction and attention spans (Bopit was great for this). Student feedback was that they loved how they could draw on their own experiences and relate concepts to their own lives. They could see themselves in the learning.

Forward planning - if your school is looking for an alternative option for your junior classes I would definitely recommend offering a taster in Psychology.

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