What to do after the AS Exams or possibly in the new term/end of term/when about to scream …
Coursework has died a death, and that leaves many of us with a gap post-AS exams (and at other times). Even though we may lose students to field courses or various days out this is still a time which could be really valuable in reminding students that psychology is fantastically interesting and fun, and reinforcing some of the research methods or other information so the odd fragment might last into September. So here are a set of ideas – do use them, edit them, or be stimulated to produce your own (in which case please could you share a copy with the rest of us by emailing me the file? Please?) firstname.lastname@example.org
For things which are suitable, it is good for students to have to remember the scientific method on which psychology is based: theory; hypothesis; sampling; empirical methods where possible; collection of data; data presentation and analysis; conclusions.
I have recycled this because it works well,is fun, and has a strong ethical side. I think it’s more suitable for Y13, who have that extra bit of maturity, and adults. It is based on the concept that the items we store most successfully into LTM are those with the greatest personal meaning, the deepest semantic processing.
Groups can each have a different task, such as constructing the questionnaire, deciding on open or closed questions or simple yes/no answers, deciding on the target population and sampling method, data collection and analysis and so on. The ethics of asking about a socially and personally sensitive memory also need discussion. There could be a plenary session to pool questions, ideas and planning, but students need to know that the teacher/tutor has the final say as the responsibility for activities rests with her/him.
One word of caution: when we first did this our questionnaire (all yes/no answers) was immensely popular with the adults in the sample, from the canteen staff to families – but one student came reeling back into the class after, misguidedly in my opinion, having used her father as part of her sample. It wasn’t just a case of too much information, she was additionally deeply shocked that he’d started kissing girls in the back row of the cinema when aged 11 !