From time to time students need a break from content and need to have time to apply what they know. Application is used as a way of assessing ability in the exams, and is often tricky for some students. The following lessons I’ve used often, particularly when numbers are diminished due to trips with other subjects or for a Friday afternoon.
If you don’t have gossip magazines readily available, then a few pounds can buy you a batch of magazines that you would not describe as high brow journalism. They contain Hollywood gossip, strange ‘real life’ stories and are cheap to buy.
I distribute them amongst pairs and ask students to read through them. They are not just to discuss the content however, I tell them also to look through psychologists eyes from each of the approaches they have learnt about and find a story that can be explained by each approach. It can be the same one, or different. An example might be when a father and son exhibit similar behaviour and this therefore could be explained by social learning theory or genetic predisposition. I give them post it notes to jot their ideas onto which they can stick temporarily onto the pages.
Students should present their ideas to the class after 20 minutes.
The students enjoy the lesson… and it makes them really think.
In the News
Using current news stories can also work. From time to time a news story will arise that can be a good way of getting them to apply what they know. It can be a useful starter ….just ask questions like
How would psychologists explain the London riots?
How would psychologists explain the spree killing in Norway?
How would psychologists explain Kirsten Stewart’s brief affair?
Encourage them to use all the approaches in their answers and a judgment on the best explanation. This takes literally 5 minutes and engages them from the outset. You could also set a home work of watching the News and choosing one story to analyse as a psychologist. Students then bring their ideas to next lesson. No marking necessary!