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Psychology

Psychology

If you’re nosey and curious about yourself and those around you, if you want to develop a toolkit to understand behaviour and the inner workings of the mind, if you are a ‘people watcher’ then Psychology is the perfect subject for you.

Psychology is a science of mind, behaviour and experience. As a recognised science, it is accepted by universities in the same standing as Biology, Physics and Chemistry. However, we are a subject that arouses hot debate as some of our methods are less ‘scientific’ than others. As such, we cross-over and complement a range of other disciplines including the humanities, sciences and social science. Typically ‘science’ orientated students will find Psychology offers an opportunity to expand their knowledge through differing methods. They can develop their critical and analytical skills which are important to the arts. Whereas, students who favour humanity based subjects will benefit from the gentle shift into the ‘scientific method’ and develop a new way of thinking about the world around them.

As such an exciting and challenging subject, Psychology is looked on favourably by universities, Trinity College Cambridge rates Psychology as a suitable A-Level for its application process. It is an excellent opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills that are invaluable in higher education and the world of work - any situations that require an understanding of people and behaviour will be managed better by those who have studied Psychology.

There are many careers available in this field. Business, education, clinical practice, forensics and sport require specialist Psychologists. However, Psychology is a useful adjunct to any career that involves people including; advertising, marketing, PR, medicine, law, health care and teaching.

The Psychology syllabus covers a range of personal and socially relevant topics. Students consider such issues as why people become violent, how childhood experiences may affect you as adult, how memory works, what makes relationships endure or fail, what goes on whilst we are asleep, how to manage stress and much more.

Staff

The Psychology department is run by Mr Neil Cassell.

Curriculum

This linear course comprises of 3 modules. It is designed to provide a broad base of understanding and all modules are assessed by a final exam at the end of two years. 

Paper 1: Introductory Topics in Psychology

33.3% of the total A level; 2-hour examination consisting of multiple choice, short answer and an essay section.

  • Psychopathology: this module considers how we define abnormal behaviour, how can it be explained and what methods are there for treatment.
  • Memory: this module investigates how we remember and why we forget. You will also consider the application of memory research to the courtroom.
  • Attachment: this module asks questions about early infant years and their impact upon our later adult life. You will explore case studies and experiments that investigate this in the real world.
  • Social Influence: this module explores why we conform and why we obey. You will discuss the consequences of human nature’s drive to belong and how this can be manipulated.

Paper 2: Psychology in Context

33.3% of the total A level; 2-hour examination consisting of multiple choice, short answer and an essay section.

  • This module provides an overview of the major approaches used in Psychology to understand the mind and behaviour. You will look at how each attempts to explain behaviour and how research is conducted through this approach.
  • Research Methods: this equips students with the skills to undertake research, to understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.


Paper 3: Issues and Options in Psychology

33.3% of the total A level; 2-hour examination consisting of multiple choice, short answer and an essay section.

  • In this final module the teacher will choose specific topics that suit the requirements and interests of the class. Topic options include: Relationships, Eating Behaviour, Schizophrenia, Aggression, Forensic Psychology, Stress and Addiction.

Resources

The Psychology Department is located in the Sixth Form Centre and has its own dedicated classroom which houses an interactive whiteboard with internet access, Wi-Fi facilities for students and a range of text resources. This aids the independent learning expected at this level of study and students are able to access material to deliver their own work in class debates or discussions. Being comfortable and modern, the Psychology classroom at the school provides the right atmosphere to focus and strive for excellence.

The library offers access to a range of journals, reviews and texts to support students in their studies. In addition, the department is fortunate in its own library of books, DVDs and online resources. We have a range of interactive online resources that can be accessed at home to aid learning. We are particularly keen to use interactive methods in class including our own ‘bio-feedback machine’ which we use to help students understand the physiological nature of stress.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Psychology is a subject which is constantly moving forward with new theories and studies being developed or new areas of focus being considered (for example the new movement in ‘Positive Psychology’). To keep up-to-date, students are given the opportunity to attend conferences, lectures and undergraduate seminars in London. The annual BPS British Psychological Society conference gives students the opportunity to hear from leading figures in Psychology talk about their latest research. A recent conference explored the world of counter-terrorism and forensic psychology this talk involved speakers from the FBI and the ‘Jill Dando’ centre at UCL. 

Alongside this, trips are organised to complement the area of study students are focusing on. To consider non-human behaviour a group were taken to observe the primates at London Zoo and listen to a lecture on evolutionary adaptation. Students also have the opportunity to visit Bethlem Royal Hospital and learn about some of its famous patients, its colourful history and its current methods of treatment. We are fortunate to gain access to one of the hospital's clinicians who shares their experience of working at Bethlem. Other trips include visiting the Freud Museum, the Science museum and to relevant pieces of theatre.

A unique feature of the FHS Psychology department is our special relationship with UCL. Each year, two undergraduates from the UCL Psychology Department join the school to support current students, to deliver talks at the Psychology Society and to help with university applications and exploring areas beyond the curriculum. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to see how psychology is taught at university level. In addition, speakers are organised to talk about diverse areas including – marketing, psychiatric care, social work, and PhD students who are keen to share their research findings and talk about their work.

 

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