Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Personal Journey from Creating Evil to Now Inspiring Heroism: A Webinar with Phil Zimbardo

Our friend Nancy Diehl (former TOPSS officer and all-around great person/psychologist) just shared this--looks like a great opportunity for teachers, so check it out and join the webinar!

Register today!

Webinar with Dr. Zimbardo. Just confirmed... ANYONE CAN PARTICIPATE! 

For teachers $10- for APA TOPSS members $5. 

 Join Division 52 President Merry Bullock and Stanford Professor Phil Zimbardo in a conversation on Zimbardo’s trajectory from trying to understand situational aspects of evil to trying to promote everyday heroism.

Hosted by: APA Division 52 and APA Office of International Affairs June 8th, 2018 3:00 PM EDT / 12:00PM PDT

CE credit is available 

For more information and to register:

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, June 4, 2018

2018 TOPSS Committee Call for Nominations

2018 TOPSS Committee Call for Nominations 

If you would like to become more involved with the APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS), and are interested in gaining leadership experience and positively impacting the teaching of high school psychology, we encourage you to consider serving on the TOPSS Committee.

TOPSS is especially interested in encouraging individuals in all locations and from diverse backgrounds (including diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, ability/disability, sexual orientation, age and religion) to consider running for TOPSS office. In 2018, the following elected positions will be filled: Chair-elect and Member-at-large. Both are three-year positions.

The TOPSS Committee meets at least once a year in Washington, DC. The APA covers travel and accommodation expenses. Please consider nominating a colleague who you feel would make a positive impact. Self-nominations are also welcomed.

Each term of office begins in January and continues for the succeeding 12 months. For details, please visit http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/committee-nominations.aspx.

 Nominations are due July 1, 2018.

Author note--I am in my second year in serving on the TOPSS board. There is at least one meeting in Washington, D.C. each year, with a second one sometimes occurring. We have conference calls monthly with each member having a particular focus and projects to be a point person on. One year later, we are still working on the amazing ideas and programs that the Psychology Summit created. Our newest project is deciding what to do with the one million dollars David G. Myers gave to the foundation for TOPSS to use. We are in an incredible time to be working within TOPSS and the teaching of psychology. I highly recommend giving it a shot.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, May 18, 2018

Request for Feedback on APA’s National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula

Request for Feedback on APA’s National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula 

The National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula Working Group invites feedback on the National Standards (APA, 2011) to inform the next revision of the policy document.

 All high school psychology teachers are invited to complete a short survey available online here by July 1, 2018.

The Working Group will review all submitted feedback this fall as it begins to revise the psychology standards. The current National Standards, which expire in August 2021, define learning benchmarks for the high school psychology course.

The standards are available online at http://www.apa.org/education/k12/national-standards.aspx. Questions can be sent to topss@apa.org.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

APA Annual Conference--HS Teacher Opportunities

Hi Everyone,

If you can, check out the offerings for the APA's annual convention. This year it is in San Francisco in August. If you are already out here, join us. Among other offerings, you can see me interview the great Paul Ekman. I still cannot believe that one. So check this out and register!

The following is excerpted from a letter by past-Chair of TOPSS, Kristin Whitlock, sent out to TOPSS members. Wonderful opportunities for teachers of high school psych!

Dear Colleague, I am writing to encourage you to attend the annual American Psychological Association (APA) Convention, being held August 9-12, 2018, in San Francisco, CA. APA is a great opportunity to learn firsthand about current findings in psychological science, network with other high school psychology teachers, and meet noted psychologists.

Full Day Pre-Convention Workshop for Psychology Teachers 

On Wednesday, August 8, the APA Education Directorate is hosting a full day workshop for psychology teachers on metacognition, hard to teach topics in introductory psychology, and improving student well-being. The cost of this workshop is $40 to attend for TOPSS members; breakfast, lunch, and materials will be provided. Presenters are Elizabeth Yost Hammer, PhD, and Elliott Hammer, PhD, both of Xavier University of Louisiana, and Annette Jordan Nielsen of Woods Cross High School (Utah). For details and to register, please visit the workshop website. The application deadline is July 1. The workshop will be held at the San Francisco State University downtown campus. Space is limited, so we hope you will register soon.

 TOPSS Invited Speakers and Reception 

We are pleased to announce the TOPSS invited speakers at Convention. These sessions will all be held in the Moscone Convention Center:

  • Elliot Hammer, PhD, Xavier University of Louisiana; Leveling the Field: Fostering Identification with School in all our Students; Friday, August 10, 3:00 – 3:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 206
  • Paul Ekman, PhD, University of California, San Francisco; Lee Gurel Lecture: A Conversation with Dr. Paul Ekman; Saturday, August 11, 2:00 – 2:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 215 
  • Linda Woolf, PhD, Webster University; Randal M. Ernst Lecture: Politics, Sex, Religion, and Rights: Controversial Topics in the Classroom; Saturday, August 11, 3:00 – 3:50 PM, Moscone Center Room 151 

There will also be a reception for high school psychology teachers on Friday, August 10, from 5:00-6:30 PM, at The Irish Bank, 10 Mark Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108. We hope you can join us for complimentary drinks and appetizers.

The APA Convention is an outstanding opportunity to learn about psychology and network with teachers and psychologists. You can choose from hundreds of sessions on psychology, including numerous plenary addresses on cutting edge research in the field at APA.

You can read about additional convention sessions for educators through the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website. You can read a high school teacher perspective on why the APA Convention is the “greatest professional development opportunity available” here.

If you are not the only psychology teacher at your school we hope you will share this information with your fellow psychology teachers. For more details and to register for convention, visit the APA Convention website. You can also register on-site. We hope to see you in August!


Kristin H. Whitlock, MEd Davis High School,
Kaysville, UT
Past Chair, TOPSS
Chair, TOPSS 2017 Convention Programming

Office of Precollege and Undergraduate Education
The American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 202-572-3013
Email: topss@apa.org

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, May 7, 2018

Job Opening in China-great opportunity for the right person

This is the information for a job opening in China--it's a great opportunity for a person at a certain point in their lives. This info comes by way of Kay Minter.

Forgive the formatting--I copy/pasted from a forwarded email. :)

Job Description:
This is an amazing opportunity to live and work in Hangzhou China, the most beautiful garden city in China if you are the ONE we are looking for!
One of the top 4 high schools in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China is looking for a certified and experienced AP Biology and AP Psychology teacher.
The school is located downtown with convenient connection to train stations, airport and only a 5 minutes’ walk to the beautiful West Lake.  In 2012, the AP center was founded which is dedicated to educating and helping the top students in Hangzhou to further study in the eminent universities worldwide. The school highly emphasizes and values the teaching quality so that they think their teachers’ main responsibility is to maintain a high level of teaching quality and in the meantime keep being professional inside and outside classroom.
Job Requirement for AP Biology and AP Psychology Teacherstarting Sep 2018
  • Master’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree with Teaching Certification; 
  • Preferably 35 years of teaching experience; 
  • Must be able to teach AP level of AP Biology and AP Psychology at high school level. We strongly recommend that you have experience in teaching these subjects. 
  • ELL or ESOL teacher training and/or experience is highly preferred; 
  • Teachers who are very comfortable with technology are preferred  
  • Proficiency in facilitating lab experiences for ELL/ESOL students. 
  • Candidates must be able to successfully clear a criminal background check and provide official college degree. 
  • The candidate should agree on a three month probation period. Details of the probation are listed in the contract.    Here we offer our expatriate teachers a very attractive compensation package and treat our teachers with great respect. 
  • Our compensation varies based on related teaching experience and our evaluation based on your interviews.  
  • The rough range is about 300,000 RMB to 350,000 RMB annually. If a teacher deserves higher pay than this range, the school has no problem about offering a higher salary. 
  • 20000 RMB of contract completion bonus if the school is satisfied with the teacher    
  • A housing reimbursement of 4000 RMB per month and 4500 RMB per month if you come with your family (which can usually cover the rent) 
  • Reimbursement of the 2 flights: to our school and back to your home country  
  • 3000 RMB of excess luggage fee or moving fee if you’re already in China 
  • Comprehensive Insurance annually from an international insurance company.  
  • 10 days of paid sick/personal leave;  5 days of Paid Bereavement Leave 
  • One month of Paid Maternity Leave and 5 days of Paternity Leave
If you are interested, please send your resume and a cover letter to sinoized@gmail.com no later than May 11th 2018

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 15 Deadline Reminders for Grants and Contests

The following information is from the APA Education Directorate. Please apply and/or encourage your students to apply.

The following programs all have April 15 deadlines; we hope you or your students will apply!

APA TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students 

Students are invited to participate in a video competition to demonstrate how psychology can benefit society at a local, regional, or global level. Each submission must include a 2-5 minute video, supported by a written statement of 750-1,000 words. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2018. 

APF High School Psychology Outreach Grants  

$5,000 is available to fund innovative programs that support networking, professional development and educational outreach opportunities for high school psychology teachers and students. These grants support regional teaching networks for high school psychology teachers (a new “how-to” guide is online here). The deadline to apply is April 15, 2018.

APF Professional Development Awards for High School Psychology Teachers http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/professional-topss.aspx 

$2,500 is available to help fund high school psychology teachers' travel and attendance to the 2018 APA Annual Convention, being held in San Francisco, California, Aug. 9-12, 2018. Funds can be used to offset costs of travel, conference registration, and housing accommodations. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2018.

APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers: June 27-29, 2018http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/clark-university-workshop.aspx

This three-day workshop is specifically for high school psychology teachers. The 2018 workshop presenters will include Jessica Flitter, of West Bend High School (West Bend, Wisconsin), and Scott Reed, of Hamilton High School (Chandler, Arizona). Regan Gurung, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay will give the keynote address entitled “To Boldly Go (Beyond Content): Teaching High School Psychology, Skills, and Learning.” There is no registration fee. Housing and food are provided for participants and travel stipends and travel scholarships are available. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2018.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide

Many of you have likely read recently that the current generation of adolescents is facing higher levels of anxiety and depression than ever before. I've read a number of articles highlighting that fact. Today's teens face challenges in life that anyone over 25 has not experienced and to generalize, the individual teens often do not have the coping skills needed to cope with those stressors. In addition to creating relationships with students so they have a trusted adult in their lives, there are some more impactful steps teachers can take.

Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide, 2nd Edition is an updated book that gives both teens and adults some excellent advice on recognizing anxiety and depression, recognizing warning signals, bullying, surviving another's suicide, LGBTQ-specific concerns and issues, and making connections. The stories are powerful, the information is solid and accurate, and the book is incredibly valuable.

As a person who has experienced suicides of friends, students, and a family member, I found this book to be incredibly powerful. If only I had such a resource earlier in my life. . .

Below are a list of chapters Jane Leder covers in this important book.

  1. When It's Someone You Know
  2. Behind the Statistics
  3. Anxiety and Depression
  4. Exploding the Myths / Recognizing the Warning Signals
  5. Suicide Survivors
  6. Over the Edge: Interviews with Suicide Attempters
  7. Bullying: A Power Play That Hurts
  8. LGBTQ Teens: Overcoming the Stigma with Resiliency and Pride
  9. Connections

I personally had a chance to read a pre-publication version of this book and was impressed. This is a valuable book that should be required reading for all middle and high school employees and made widely available for students. I personally bought five copies for my classroom and am encouraging anyone in education to read and purchase copies for your classroom or your library. Yes, I am biased, but human life is that important to me.

Yours in survival and prevention,

Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Magic, Mentalism, & Hypnosis: John Mohl Guest Blogger

Today we have a guest blogger, Dr. John Mohl, AP Psychology teacher and experimental psychologist from Pennsylvania. He brings us an insightful examination into mentalism and magic.

Derren Brown, a talented mentalist and magician, has been well known in the UK for over a decade, but many Americans are getting their first exposure to him through his first Netflix show The Push. [NOTE: Spoiler alert…if you are planning to watch it, stop reading until you’ve had the chance to see it]. Based on the premise that humans are vulnerable to manipulative persuasion, the show presents four people who had previously applied to be on a Derren Brown program but were told that they were not selected, and were unaware that their experiences were being filmed. Each person was individually placed in a staged setting in which other people (who were all actors) used persuasion techniques aimed to get the participants to do increasing deviant behavior, with the climax of being pressured to push an antagonizing character off the roof of a building avoid potential legal trouble stemming from earlier actions in the show (that person was surreptitiously harnessed, so no harm was done if the person was pushed). Three of the four participants ended up doing the push.

 The perceived implications are clear: we are susceptible to influence that can bring us perform even the worst of actions, for which we must be weary and prepared to resist. However, if everything presented in the program is accepted at face value, there is reason to doubt the validity of the results. While participants were likely not “in on the act” on an explicit level, they likely were on an implicit one. To understand this idea, we need to examine an often-overlooked issue in human behavioral research.

When people enter a psychological study, they have certain assumptions. The first is that the study is done in the name of science. They know that they are there to help investigators test a hypothesis. The second assumption is that no one will be harmed in the course of the study (barring any acknowledged risk learned during the informed consent process). They know that their actions will not have any lasting aversive impact on themselves or others involved. Finally, anything that happens to them, including any deceptions, only does so with their acknowledgement and consent. Coupled with these assumptions is the fact that participants, who volunteer themselves freely, desire to be good subjects. They hope to give the experimenter whatever he or she desires in order for the experiment to be successful, and will perform in whatever way they think is desired. The participant is always thinking, observing, and making judgments about the study, and can perceive the slightest of nuances embedded within the study, the people involved, and the procedures being used. All of these could, albeit unintentionally, potentially communicate the point of the study. As such, the participant will try to conform to what is expected of him or her. These nuances are what Martin Orne called demand characteristics.

 Though many psychology students (and teachers) are unfamiliar with them, demand characteristics are present in every psychological study. They are unavoidable and, unless a proper design is used, their potential confounding effects in studies are unknown. Participants act on demand characteristics implicitly and not as deliberate attempt to ruin a study, but their doing so can threaten the validity of its findings. In an ingenious experimental design used to determine whether hypnosis can make one do anti-social acts, Orne and his colleagues used two groups. The first was composed of highly hypnotizable people who were instructed to experience hypnosis like they normally would. The other was made up of people who were not responsive to hypnosis in spite of repeated attempts. These participants were told to fake their responses in order to dupe the hypnotist, who was blind to who was simulating and who was real. In doing so, the hypnotist (who, based on previous research, does no better than chance in guessing who was actually malingering) would treat both groups the same way. This way, the demand characteristics can be parsed out from the true effects of hypnosis: whatever the hypnotized participants do, and not the simulators, would truly be the result of the hypnotic process.

Participants were told in hypnosis to do a variety of anti-social acts, such as dipping their hand into fuming nitric acid, throwing the acid into the face of the experimenter, and reaching out to pick up a poisonous snake. However, unknown to the participants, the experiment was set up in such a way that no actual harm was being done to anyone (the participant, for example, was actually placed behind an invisible glass barrier that would prevent the experimenter from being hit with the acid). Five out of the six truly hypnotized participants completed all of the acts, but all six simulators did the acts as well, indicating that their acquiesce was the product of the demand characteristics to which they were complying, and not hypnotic suggestion.

Derren Brown’s The Push portrays a setting that is vastly different than the experimental setting. Still, demand characteristics and participants’ accompanying set of assumptions still apply. Presumably, participants had previously signed consent forms that acknowledged potential (and unwitting) participation in a future event. The actors in the show who interacted with the subjects may have communicated the demand characteristics of the situation in the same fashion that experimental confederates might do. Brown’s previous specials have portrayed people in staged settings in which they “robbed a bank” and “assassinated” a known celebrity without anyone actually being harmed. Participants knew, then, that their potential participation, while potentially distressing, would not include anything dangerous. These variables could have factored into the participants’ decision to do the final act.

 The strong and compelling emotions exhibited by the show’s participants could serve as evidence that they accepted the reality of the situation (i.e., they are really pushing someone). However, these can also manifest in simulating conditions. A dissertation study conducted by Charles Holland replicated Stanley Milgram’s procedure in his famous Obedience Experiment, but it had two additional quasi-control conditions. One had participants believing that the shocks were really only one-tenth of what was portrayed on the machine, while the other had participants informed that they were in the control group and were instructed to pretend that they were na├»ve subjects. In all three conditions, participants exhibited many of the same behaviors. Blind observers did no better than chance in guessing the condition to which participants were assigned. Thus, if simulating participants can produce sweating, fidgeting, and signs of distress in a psychological study, they could also in a TV show that they hope might be successful. The general message that Derren Brown promotes, that psychological principles, applied in a certain fashion can influence how we think and make decisions, should not be overlooked. The Foot-in-the Door Technique, which he referenced in the show, can lead people to acquiesce to large requests after agreeing to smaller ones. Forms of coercive persuasion (“brainwashing”) have been shown to work in a variety of settings, ranging from POWs returning from the Korean War to people who have been persuaded to join cults. A number of psychological factors employed in the special could have had a genuine effect. However, the degree to which demand characteristics played a role in getting the participants to commit the seemingly murderous act simply cannot be ascertained. While Brown referred to the episode as an experiment, the lack of a proper control group undermines his claim of how vulnerable we are to persuasion. If a simulating control group, similar to what was used in Orne’s or Holland’s research, were uniformly to refuse to commit the final act, then The Push would be much more convincing. However, until such is done, we must pull back on making overarching judgments.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn, written by Dr. John Mohl

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2nd Annual Psychology Conference for Michigan High School Psychology Teachers

I'm happy to share this announcement of the 2nd Annual Psychology Conference for Michigan High School Psychology Teachers! The conference - which is FREE and includes lunch - features professors David Myers and Katelyn Poelker, both of Hope College. More information about the conference is shared in the link above and in PDF format in this flyer. Register soon to reserve your spot!

--posted by Steve

Friday, March 23, 2018

APA Center for Psychology in Schools and Education Needs Your Help

Hi All,

I am at the APA Spring Consolidated Meeting in Washington, D.C. at the moment. There is a group called Center for Psychology in Schools and Education. They have a great desire to assist teachers, counselors, and support personnel in the K-12 world.

They need your feedback in order to create resources and programming to best meet our needs.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey at this link.

For additional information, please contact Maha Khalid at mkhalid@apa.org or call at 202-336-5977.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn