The Psychology Way
Our subject has a ‘Subject Way’ at the heart of it. Our Subject Way is designed to help students become young subject specialists. The Subject Way has two main purposes:
Firstly, to teach students the vital skills they need to achieve their full potential and gain the very best grades they can. Secondly, to teach students how each subject relates to the wider world, incorporating the life skills they will learn.
It is our belief that knowing how what you learn links to the wider world, brings a subject to life and therefore improves overall understanding and engagement.
At Wickersley School and Sports College we understand that getting the curriculum right for each and every individual student is the single most important factor in ensuring progress, encouraging positive engagement and raising aspirations
More than just grades: At Wickersley School and Sports College, we want to send all students out into the world able and qualified to play their full part in it, through an ambitious, creative and innovative curriculum which empowers students with the skills, knowledge and attributes to allow them to succeed in the next phase of their education and into their working life.
We aim to engender a love of learning, self-belief and aspiration through 4 key intentions:
- The removal of barriers to learning
- Developing skills for learning
- Developing personal attributes (Thrybergh Way)
- Enriching student experiences and broadening their horizons
Our curriculum is not driven by performance tables. It is our belief that a strong, broad, balanced curriculum, tailored to individual needs can remove there barriers to learning and allow all students to access the curriculum appropriate to them and will therefore meet their individual needs.
We believe in a strong foundation of core subjects including English, Maths and Science. All students who are identified with deficits in literacy and numeracy are given additional curriculum support. These core fundamental skills are essential in both accessing our broad curriculum offer and the next stage of life; be it education, employment or training.
Intention 1 – The removal of barriers to learning
We want all our students to go out into the world, and become successful, happy, fulfilled adults who will be good citizens and make a positive contribution to society. The acquisition of basic skills is either at the heart of achieving this or a barrier to learning and prevents students from fully flourishing. Four common barriers, if left unchallenged, will limit the progress, engagement and development of students who access our curriculum.
We see these barriers as a high priority for the school. In order to prevent them from becoming a barrier for student development and progress we implement (and closely monitor) the following strategies:
Students who study Psychology are given many opportunities to read frequently. This happens in the classroom, as students are directed to obtain information from textbooks, and journal articles, and whilst carrying out independent research for projects. For whole class reading activities, students are asked to read aloud, and comprehension questions are asked periodically to test understandin
Numeracy plays an important role in Psychology, and in both the GCSE and A Level course, mathematical requirements account for 10% of the qualification. Students are taught how to analyse both qualitative and quantitative data and interpret the results from studies; in addition to performing their own basic calculations on data they have collected themselves. At KS5, students are required to know when to use a range of statistical tests, whilst being able to calculate the sign test on data provided by the examiner. They also learn how to interpret and draw graphs, and from any calculations made, interpret their significance.
In order to develop oracy within Psychology, pupils are given ample opportunities to have discussions in the classroom. Specifically this revolves around the wide range of issues and debates within the discipline, including but not limited to; gender and culture bias, ethical considerations, nature v nurture, free will v determinism. Students are encouraged to evaluate theories and studies through oracy tasks, and are given checklists of key terminology on which to base their discussion around.
Vocabulary is key to knowledge and understanding in Psychology, and in view of this, vocabulary is discussed in context every lesson. This is usually done at the beginning of a lesson, but also throughout, and where appropriate it is taught explicitly through the use of the frayer model. In Psychology, all staff model and praise tier 2 language, as part of the social science words of the term initiative, and all students are encouraged to incorporate these both in their oral and written answers if they are able to. In extended writing, staff give feedback on how vocabulary is used, and where necessary they highlight where information could have been reworded. From September , the V sign will be used to indicate where vocabulary could be changed. Psychology students at both key stages are given a vocab book of key terminology at the beginning of the academic year, and are asked to complete this as a working document independently. Any gaps are completed at the end of the unit.
Intention 2 – Developing Skills for Learning
Developing student knowledge and essential learning skills go hand in hand. Students need to remember with fluency in order to be fully established mini-subject specialists. We strive, at all times, for personal excellence by developing the 6 key skills for success:
- Divergent thinking
In Psychology students are provided with frequent opportunities to develop their skills for learning in every lesson. To name but a few, students are taught and encouraged to be critical thinkers when learning a new theory or study, and independence is fostered, particularly through extended tasks which require research time. Staff regularly signpost A Level students to supplementary articles and media outlets that can enhance their knowledge and understanding, whilst also promoting good research skills, which is a key objective by the end of the course. At least once per half term, students develop their writing stamina by writing an essay on the topic just covered, and through this, they develop their literacy skills, and over time, produce work that is written in a much more academic style. Communication skills are fostered through the oracy tasks within the lesson, as well as through extended project and presentation work which simultaneously allow students to master the art of presenting in front of an audience. We recognise the importance of this skill, particularly for A Level students and their transition to university
Intention 3 – Fostering personal attributes
At the heart of our curriculum is the Wickersley Way. This allows us all to promote the attributes our children need in order to develop their independence, responsibility and resilience to have a happy and successful life beyond Wickersley. The Wickersley Way promotes:
Through the topic studied in Psychology across the key stages, students are naturally given regular opportunities to develop their ability to empathize with others, allowing them to build respectful, understanding relationships with those around them. This is particularly true when studying mental health, as students gain an understanding of the complex personal issues that others have to deal with in their daily life. Our students are taught to recognise the complex and diverse nature of human behaviour, and naturally come to appreciate this diversity and become tolerant of the differences between people. In line with the whole school ethos and ready to learn policy, students are encouraged to be ambitious, hard working and resilient ; ready to learn individuals who quickly become confident enthusiastic learners.
Intention 4 – Enriching student experiences and broadening their horizons
Our intent is that all students have a full understanding of how to develop themselves as well rounded citizens, maintain healthy relationships and understand how to keep themselves safe both online and in their day-to-day life. We want all students to know what options are open to them in the future and understand the routes they have in order to progress on their life journey. Our curriculum will include:
- The very nature of this subject means that the horizons of students are broadened. Everything that is covered on the GCSE and A Level courses can be applied to everyday life, and thus through their learning, students are able to apply their knowledge to the real world to understand and appreciate the complexities of human behaviour. There is no question that the course helps students understand what is going on around them and prepare them for life beyond the classroom.
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Introduction to the brain and Sleep and Dreaming
Students will be introduced to the brain, and will then study Sleep and Dreaming, looking at theories of sleep, sleep disorders and understanding dreams
Sex and Gender
Students will study Sex and Gender, looking at the differences between them and theories of gender development
The development of personality
Students will study the development of personality, looking at theories of personality, personality disorders, and specifically their causes.
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Students will gain an introduction to Research Methods, including the processes involve in designing studies and analysing any results obtained.
Students will begin to study human memory , including models of memory, why we forget and the reliability of eye witness testimony.
Students will begin to study Development too, including Early Brain Development, and Theories of Child Development
Students will study human Perception- looking specifically at depth cues, visual illusions and theories of human perception
Students will also spend this term revisiting previous units, in preparation for their mock exam
Brain and Neuropsychology
Students will be introduced to the Brain and Neuropsychology unit, which covers neurons and synapses, and the process of synaptic transmission. They progress to cover localisation and function of the brain, in addition to brain scanning.
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Students will begin to study psychological problems, being introduced to mental health, the stigma attached to it, in addition to the incidence of mental illness, and cultural variations in diagnosis rates
They will then consider the effects of mental health problems, both on the individual and society as a whole
They will then progress to focus on 1 mental health condition- that of depression- focussing specifically on the causes and treatments, from both a biological and cognitive perspective
Students will simultaneously study the Social Influence unit- looking at conformity and obedience , in addition to deindividuation and crowd behaviour
Psychological Problems continued….
Continuing the Psychological Problems unit, students will progress to study addiction, specifically the causes and possible treatments.
They will also begin to study Language and Thought, looking at the differences between the 2 terms and theories of Language development. The final part of this unit will see students study Non Verbal Behaviour including animal behaviour.
This term will be dedicated to the structured revision of previous units.
Our Subjects at KS4