Sunday, September 19, 2010

Your input needed on possible changes for psych teachers

Kay Minter is the current chair of TOPSS (Teachers of Psychology in the Secondary Schools) and she is trying to gather information from teachers of high school psychology from all over the country and world about some possible changes. Here are Kay's questions:

1) There is some question as to whether high school psychology will become included in the group known as STEM subjects - that is, Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. If psych is included, what might be the ramifications to high school teachers from your perspective? Would there be a push to make psychology and psych teachers part of the Science department instead of Social Studies? If so, how would you view this change and how might it affect you?

2) Do current teachers of psychology (all levels: regular, AP, and IB) believe that a separate statistics course (like Statistics 101) should be a required undergraduate course for a teacher to be certified in psychology?  Are the statistics that usually accompany a psychology department "Research Methods" course enough statistics for a new certification in psychology? (This would be for future teachers; current teachers would be grandfathered in.)

These kinds of questions are being asked of APA and TOPSS from multiple sources, so your input would be very much appreciated. Please post your thoughts in the comments below or you can send them directly to me at ashejones@gmail.com.

(And I might add: STEM is a very big buzzword in education funding these days, so there may be real implications to psychology being considered one of the STEM courses.)

  -- posted by Steve

8 comments:

megfah said...

1. I'm not convinced identification as STEM would push psych into science departments - at least, not quickly. If it happened, it could have huge ramifications for teachers' schedules and qualifications, since many psych teachers also teach other social studies classes - so teachers could end up bridging departments. Maybe an even bigger question is whether STEM identification would affect how psych teachers get licensed - if that changes, high schools would probably make the change.
2. For my undergrad psych minor, I had to take psychometric methods (stats for psych majors). I guess I don't know how common that requirement is in education programs. But that seems far, far more logical and applicable than a general intro stats course. And in my own teaching, I never come close to needed the advanced statistical techniques I learned in it.

Anonymous said...

1. I have always taught psychology as a science anyway. My school still does not see it that way. I think identification as STEM would boost our courses in respect.
2. I had no research courses in undergraduate, but I had three in graduate school. Personally I think one good course including parametric and nonparametric analysis would be a good requirement. I currently teach IB standard and higher level psychology, and have taught AP and regular in the past.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of adding Psychology to STEM, but do not believe that it necessarily means transferring it to a Science department, or that all teachers should have Stats (although I did). Our school is oriented to the entertainment and media arts industries, and psychology is a great addition to give our students access to the way people think, behave, learn, etc

Dave Lane said...

I have been teaching psychology as a science since 1973, but it is still in the history dept.
I think a course in staztistics, either as part of a tests and measurements course in psychology or in the math dept is a very good idea. I had one of each, and find it very helpful.

Anonymous said...

I teach AP Psychology up in northern Canada - British Columbia. I have 2 statistics courses at the undergraduate level and two at the graduate level and I believe these to be very helpful. I would encourage the idea that teachers of psychology have a statistics course.

Tracy Larson
tlarson@sd57.bc.ca

Rob Mc said...

1. The STEM question is a tough one. My bet is that the implications of being in STEM (and being in the science dept) are probably VERY contextual - it would have different implications in each district right? One other consideration: Would inclusion in STEM get psych standards into the Common Core standards for science?

2. I may be in the minority here, but I think it would be a shame to try to "separate" stats from the regular psych course. Students need to know some basic stats CONCEPTUALLY (i.e. interpreting, not computing). Without understanding measures of central tendency and what stat. significance is (again the CONCEPT of it), can students really interpret psych studies?

Rob Mc said...

1. The STEM question is a tough one. My bet is that the implications of being in STEM (and being in the science dept) are probably VERY contextual - it would have different implications in each district right? One other consideration: Would inclusion in STEM get psych standards into the Common Core standards for science?

2. I may be in the minority here, but I think it would be a shame to try to "separate" stats from the regular psych course. Students need to know some basic stats CONCEPTUALLY (i.e. interpreting, not computing). Without understanding measures of central tendency and what stat. significance is (again the CONCEPT of it), can students really interpret psych studies?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Anonymous poster regarding his opinion on Psychology in the social studies department. I view this as a predominantly "social" science and despite that fact that this is my first year teaching it, I am loving it.

I would love to see psych be included in the STEM definition, if only for the possible allocation of resources that it might bring.