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Psychology at Harris Beckenham is located within the Social Science department whose overall aim is to encourage students to become active, reflective and critical individuals.
Psychology as a subject aims to develop critical, curious and creative thinkers who use the scientific process as applied in Psychology to investigate human behaviour in the real world. We believe that Psychology can make a powerful impact on student’s lives by giving them a unique and profound insight into their own and other’s behaviour. Psychology is underpinned by scientific method and it is our aim to provide students with experimental skills to enable them to understand and evaluate psychological theory.
Through the acquisition of psychological content and the development of critical thinking, students’ passions are ignited towards exploring two fundamental question at the heart of psychology. What shapes human thought and behaviour? What are the real-world applications of this knowledge that can improve peoples’ lives?
"The brain is wider than the sky." — Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
The above quote showcases the vast complexity and depth of the human mind. The bigger goal of our curriculum is to provoke an admiration of the mind that causes students to think and reflect in novel ways about their own behaviour and that of those around them. We also want to inspire students to apply their psychological insight in a wide range of occupations once they leave education; the skills and knowledge students develop in psychology have value across many work sectors including health care, business, education, law, social care and media.
At A Level students have five hours of Psychology lessons per week and are expected to complete a minimum of three hours of independent study per week. At Harris Beckenham, we have chosen AQA as our exam board as we feel they provide a rigorous and challenging course that gives student an insight into the many ways in which psychology is studied and applied.
Lessons are focused on enabling students to acquire mastery of subject specific terminology, theory and research. For example, knowledge retrieval tasks, quizzes, cumulative assessments and mastery tests are regularly used to build student confidence in their subject knowledge and provide lots of opportunities to apply this knowledge to different questions about human thought and behaviour. Lessons also reflect and return to the underlying principle that psychology is a subject that has real world application and is based on empirical research and the scientific approach. This includes exposing students to as many psychology academics and practitioners as possible, for example through TED talks and news items, so that they understand that psychology is a dynamic, current and active area of academia with real relevance to our understanding of the world and human behaviour. Lessons focus on the development of skills of analysis and evaluation, for example through discussion and evaluative writing.
Research methods are embedded in every unit and assessed regularly. For example, students have a chance to plan, conduct, write up and review their own research in every unit. Where relevant and possible, students will attend trips to relevant exhibitions, talks and other events. End of unit assessments and cumulative assessments are conducted throughout the year. This allows teaching staff to identify additional areas of knowledge and skill weaknesses that can be addressed.
A psychological worldview – Students will be able to use the language of psychology to talk about and understand themselves and the world around them. This can be gauged through student presentations, student research projects and student voice feedback.
Achievement – While not the only indicator of success, students will be able to succeed in their exams demonstrating the impact in terms of mastery of the subject. For those wishing to pursue psychology at a higher level, for example at university, these grades are even more important.
Destinations – Psychology related degrees and apprenticeships is a popular selection for our Year 13 students applying to University. This shows that by taking Psychology at A-Level, students recognise that Psychology has offered them a new language and framework for understanding human behaviour.