Aims & Objectives
Psychology a 5 week, Transition Year module which aims at opening up students’ minds about society around them and making them aware about why people behave in the way they do. It does not strive to provide answers for the students, rather it is about raising questions through the creation of disequilibrium.
This disequilibrium will be created through the examination of case studies of experiments that have been conducted in the second half of the 20th century, primarily in the United States. It will be necessary to guide the students understanding of the coursework and their group work in order to ensure that the correct messages are understood. The emphasis will necessarily be on understanding how people and society behave in order for students to live positive, contributary lives in society.
- Students will understand the importance of questioning the behaviours and motivations of the people they meet.
- Students will understand the importance of listening to the opinions of others and giving every person the opportunity to get their ideas across.
- Students will realise the importance to trying to understand where someone is coming from in their behaviour and will not judge them because of it.
- Students will be able to critically assess how one event follows from another.
- Students will be able to identify the seeds of conflict and suggest ways that such conflict can be avoided and/or mitigated.
- Students will understand the importance in taking a leadership role in events in order to shape the outcome positively.
- Students will be able to extract the key events from written texts and construct an accurate summary of a text from this information.
Week 1: Obedience Experiment
- Ask students of do random things at beginning of class.
- Question why they obeyed?
- Brainstorm why we obey people in a position of authority or in perceived authority (teachers, people in white coats, people in hi-viz jackets etc).
- Read through obedience experiment and discuss as we go.
- Watch youtube clips “stanley milgram obedience to authority 2009 part 1 of 3”.
Week 2: Social Conformity Experiment
- brainstorm why people tend to divide themselves into groups (especially in secondary school).
- Cutlery in formal dinner question.
- How many of us have gone along with something we didn’t want to do but because everyone else was?
- Read Social conformity notes
- In groups, discuss the potential benefits and dangers of this.
- Feedback on the board.
- Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs
- Read and explain (focus on importance of love/confirmation of self from others).
- Youtube clips on social conformity experiments.
Week 3: Group Rivalry Experiment
- Recap on why people form groups.
- Competition as a human characteristic.
- Read notes on Robbers Cave Experiment. Discuss as we go.
- In groups, brainstorm specific examples of this rivalry in Irish/British society.
- Feedback and discussion on board.
- Youtube clip “A Beautiful Mind Group Dynamics”.
Week 4: Stanford Prison Experiment
- “Power corrupts. Total power, corrupts totally” - discuss. Specific manifestations.
- Read notes on Zimbardo’s “Stanford Prison Experiment”.
- Note the different events and stages as we go.
- In groups students decide why each of these occurances happened.
- Feedback and discuss.
Week 5: “The Experiment” DVD
- Watch and point out key aspects as we go.
Week 6: The Bystander Effect
- Hands up who would help someone in need? Why?
- Hands up who would help someone in danger? Why/ why not?
- Read Irish Times article on Yue,Yue in China, Kitty Genovese in New York and the bystander effect.
- Brainstorm why people may have behaved in this way.
- Youtube clips on the bystander affect. Discuss as we go.
Week 7: Sports Psychology
- Identify one goal/ambition you may have. Outline the various factors that might stand in your way.
- Brainstorm what it is that makes the most successful people successful.
- Intro sports psychology as the psychology of success.
- Read through notes and explain/discuss as we go.
- Conclude = you are who you are. Success + happiness lies in not trying to be someone you’re not, but rather in recognising and accepting your abilities and developing them to their fullest extent.
Students will be required to produce a two page synopsis of one of the following specialisms of psychology:
- Educational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, the psychology of enclosed spaces - solitary confinement and submarines, the psychology of stress related illness, the psychology of execution - hangman, lethal injection and nazis, the psychology of family/ familial support/ defending your family, the psychology of training - team versus individual sports.
- General class discussion.
- Group work and general class feedback.
- The provision of notes for each class.
- The use of youtube and data projector for clips of the respective psychology experiments.