Best Practices For Teaching Introduction To Psychology

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For more information about fixed and growth mindsets and how they impact student performance, see the TED talk by psychologist Carol Dweck. A TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth discusses how student learning can be examined in the context of motivation and illustrates how the personality trait of grit, which is correlated with success, can be developed through teaching of a growth mindset. Research shows that prior knowledge influences both conceptual growth and conceptual change in students. With conceptual growth, students add to their existing knowledge, and with conceptual change, students correct misconceptions or errors in existing knowledge.

Facilitating conceptual growth or change requires first obtaining a baseline level of student knowledge prior to the start of each unit through formative assessment. The results of this discussion can guide the selection of assignments and activities that will be appropriate for facilitating either conceptual growth or conceptual change. Prior knowledge can be used to help students incorporate background knowledge and draw connections between units during the course. Research indicates that cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development.

Instructors can use this research to facilitate learning by designing instruction that utilizes scaffolding, differentiation and mixed ability grouping. It is also critical that the most advanced students have the opportunity to work with others who will challenge them, including other students or the instructor.

Learning is based on context, so generalizing learning to new contexts is not spontaneous, but rather needs to be facilitated. Student growth and deeper learning are developed when instructors help students transfer learning from one context to another. Students will also be better able to generalize learning to new contexts if instructors invest time in focusing on deeper learning.


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One method of developing this skill is to have students use their understanding of a particular unit to generate potential solutions for real-world problems. This principle details empirically based strategies that will help students more effectively encode learned materials into long-term memory. In addition to those in the memory unit, examples from this principle can help inform instruction throughout the course. By issuing formative assessment frequently through practice problems, activities and sample tests, instructors can help students increase their knowledge, skills and confidence.

Additionally, instructors conducting practice activities at spaced intervals distributed practice will help students achieve greater increases in long-term retrieval ability. Practice tests should include open-ended questions that require both the retrieval of existing knowledge and the challenge of applying that information to new situations or contexts, thus also incorporating principle four. See also the APA teaching module on practice for knowledge acquisition. This principle highlights the importance of instructor responses and indicates the best manner in which to deliver feedback to students in order to maintain or increase motivation to learn.

Providing students with clear, explanatory and timely feedback is important for learning. Self-regulation skills, including attention, organization, self-control, planning and memory strategies, improve learning and engagement and can be taught through direct instruction, modeling and classroom organization. Teachers can model organizational methods and assist students by highlighting learning targets at the start and conclusion of lessons, using classroom calendars, highlighting difficult concepts that will require more practice, breaking large projects into manageable components, using well designed rubrics and allowing sufficient processing time through questioning, summarizing and practice.

Psychology students can apply this research to their own study habits such as learning to practice self-control by limiting the distractions presented by cell phones and social media. Students can also be encouraged to design experiments related to the limits of attention and discuss the practical implications of their results.

Creativity is considered a critical skill for the technology driven world of the 21st century and because it is not a stable trait, it can be taught, nurtured and increased. This principle describes specific methods of structuring assignments to increase creativity and ideas for how to model creative problem solving. Creativity in the psychology classroom can include opportunities for student-designed research projects, video projects, demonstrations and model building. Students who are motivated and interested in learning are more successful.

CPSE has outlined the most important ways to help increase student motivation and engagement. Students tend to enjoy learning and to do better when they are more intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated to achieve. This principle is directed at how instructors can increase intrinsic motivation through classroom practices and activities that support the fundamental need of students to feel autonomous.

It is important to note that not everything of importance is intrinsically motivating to all students and that there is a place for extrinsic motivation in education. During the unit on motivation, when intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are typically discussed, students can examine their personal motivations and how they influence their success. Lastly, students can examine the research related to the overjustification effect, also discussed in this principle.

For more information about motivation and the over-justification effect and how they impact student performance, see the TED talk by psychologist Dan Pink.

This exercise contains sentences that violate specific rules Read More In this activity students practice designing survey questions by creating course evaluations. Students alternately serve as both researchers and participants, and the results from the activity Read More This assignment covers several bases. It requires students to use SPSS to interpret and analyze secondary data.

Find a Resource: Advanced Search. Do you have a great way to teach students how to communicate research? New Research Methods Textbook We are happy to announce that we have finished a new, innovative, research methods textbook titled "Discovering the Scientist Within" with Worth Publishers.

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In fact, psychology is a top pursued major at a large number of schools. All students who want to delve into the vast subject matter in this field must start at the beginning — Psychology Introductory Psychology courses generally cover a similar curriculum of material including topics such as the historical approaches to the field, how to employ the scientific method for use in psychological research and a basic understanding of the major methods used in professional psychology. There are a great many introductory psychology books available for instructors to choose from.

This list highlights the text best, most widely used and most student-approved textbooks currently available. Many of these publications are subsequent editions of an ongoing series of texts, indicating that those texts have maintained a high level of success over the years. In order to be included on this list, the introductory psychology textbook must be peer-reviewed, used nationally, have received acclaim from both students and instructors and have positive reviews online.

Year of Publication: An Introduction to the History of Psychology is a non-traditional textbook co-authored by Hergenhahn and Henley.

This contemporary text immediately engaged the reader by presenting the early puzzle that was addressed by Greek philosophers — dreams. Philosophers were stumped for a long period of time as to what dreams were, the purpose they served and how valuable were the contents. From this puzzle came a great number of elaborate theories each attempting to explain human memory and perception. This seventh edition of the text asserts the majority of interests among modern psychologists are expressions of themes and theories that have been a part of psychology for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.

1st Edition

The textbook includes many photographs and academic devices, complete with a plethora of biographical information on the important figures in psychology. Students receive the balance between visual stimulation and narration to expand their understanding of each chapter. This book can be used in unison with the InfoTrac Student Collection. Year of Publication: This introductory textbook was written with a different kind of psychology student in mind. The College Board, the group of individuals who created the AP program and the SAT program, developed this unique program to meet the needs of students who would not use the traditional college path.

The CLEP program remains the most widely trusted credit-by-examination program for more than 40 years, accepted by 2, colleges and universities and administered in over 1, test centers. This exam is an excellent option for non-traditional students, specifically those serving in the military. The text covers a high percentage of the topics included on the test and was created for use with the Online CLEP Test Preparation system. While the book was specifically designed for students who plan to take the CLEP Test, it covers enough of the basic psychological topics to make it an excellent choice for any introductory psychology course.

It can be used for those studying the topic on their own, as well as those engaging in a traditional introductory psychology course.

Best Practices for Teaching Introduction to Psychology - CRC Press Book

This distinctive psychology textbook is an excellent option for those seeking a different kind of psychology education. Year of Publication: One of the mist widely used introductory psychology textbooks is the Introduction to Psychology series, written by James Kalat. In the 13th edition of this series the text moves beyond simply covering the major theories and studies within the field of psychology.

By using this approach, students not only gather the knowledge expected at the introductory level, but they also learn to think critically and become better consumers of research. In this highly student-praised book, the author, a North Carolina State University professor, challenges students previously-held ideas about the field of psychology to allow them to evolve into more informed consumers of information throughout their college experience as well as in post-college life. By combining these teaching strategies, the textbook is able to suit the learning style needs of a wider audience of students.

Students using this introductory psychology text can take advantage of the InfoTrac Student Collection.

When you read student reviews of the text the word you see again and again is interesting. While many introductory psychology textbooks tend to be dry and boring, this book stands out as quite the opposite. It features a look and style that mimics a magazine or graphic novel, with visual displays and graphics.