Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Survey and essay contest deadlines are fast approaching

Order now - supplies are limited!
If the lines are busy, just keep calling! 
Call now - our telethon ends today and we need each of you to help us today!

Now that we've given you the proper sense of urgency (thanks to social psych) - a reminder from Emily Leary of APA/TOPSS:

If you have not done so already, we invite you to take 20 minutes and participate in the National Survey of High School Psychology Teachers the American Psychological Association is conducting, available online at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/684207/National-Survey-of-High-School-Psychology-Teachers.  The survey will close March 1, 2012. 

Comment from Steve: TOPSS needs to know how many psych teachers there are, what their backgrounds are and what they need to best understand how to serve high school psychology. PLEASE take the survey AND share with other psych teachers you know!


APA TOPSS Scholars Essay Competition for High School Psychology Students
In the 2012 essay competition, students are asked to describe specific psychological concepts as they relate to the various ways a person might react to a natural disaster.  There will be four winners, each of whom will receive a $250 award. Submissions must be made by March 5, 2012.  For details, see http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/essay-competition.aspx.

--posted by Steve (who loves to listen to public radio fundraisers)

Please Hear What I Am Not Saying

This is a poem that I first was exposed to back in 1981 in my first university psychology class at Rochester Institute of Technology.  My professor was Dr. David Wiesner.  I later found out the original author was Charles Finn.  I have used this poem in a variety of contexts, from supplementing the Personality Theories (use of personas/masks, "presentation of self," to exploring Rogerian ideas related to identity and self-concept) to use with groups/classes that had difficulty getting past the "fronting" that we tend to do.  My favorite is to do a dramatic reading of the poem, slowly and with pauses so I can look around the room and gauge reaction.

I shared this with my AP class today--they, along with previous student were quite taken with the fundamental truths to the words.  I have had some students deny "the reality" of poem, saying they were the exception to this, therefore it is not true.

"The thicker the skin, the deeper the wound."

Here is a link to a .pdf version of the poem.

Please Hear What I Am Not Saying
an adaptation by Dr. David Wiesner
original by Charles C. Finn

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by this mask that I wear.
For I wear a thousand masks and none of them are really me.
Masks that I'm too afraid to take off, fearing that you'll get to know me.

Pretending is an art that is second nature to me.
I'm pretending that I am in command and that I need no one.
That I'm cool and that my surface is so smooth and I cannot be shaken by anything.
I act as if I am in control, but please don't for one moment be fooled by my surface, that's only my mask.

Beneath this mask lies no smugness, no complacence.
Beneath this mask dwells the real me in confusion, loneliness, and fear.

But I don't dare tell you that.
I don't dare tell you that this is my mask.

I'm frightened by all the possibilities of my weaknesses being exposed.

I think about it all the time. Will I look like a fool?
That's why I work frantically to create this mask to hide behind in my relationship with people.
This nonchalant, sophisticated facade helps me pretend and shields me from the glance that knows me.
But such a glance is precisely my only salvation.
It's my only salvation if, however, the glance is followed by  acceptance and love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself, from my  own self-built prison...from the barriers that I have so  painstakingly created.
It is only that glance that will assure me of what I cannot assure in myself and, that is, that I am really worth something.

But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to. I'm afraid to.  I'm afraid that your glance will not be followed by acceptance and love.
I'm afraid that you'll think less of me...that you'll laugh and that your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I am nothing. That I'm just no good and soon you're going to find out and you'll no longer love me...that you'll reject me.
So I play my game. My desperate, pretending game with the facades of assurance from without and that of a trembling little child from within.
And my life becomes a front.
And I idly chatter to you in suave tones about anything that really means nothing.
And yet I can never tell about the crying inside of me...of my greatest hurts...of my deepest fears...my concerns.
I can't tell you that because I am afraid.
So please listen carefully not to what I am saying, but to what I am not saying.
To what I'd like to be able to say. And for what my very own survival I need to say.

I dislike this hiding...honestly.
I dislike this phony, superficial game I'm playing.
I really would like to be genuine and spontaneous and me.
But you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand.

You've got to hold out your hand even when it appears to you that it's the last thing I want from you, because I am going to share a secret with you about myself;
the moment I act like I need you the least is the moment I need you the most.

The moment I act like I need you the least is the moment I need you the most.

Don't be fooled by this mask. When you see anger in this mask, don't be fooled for one second...that's not anger, that's hurt.
The mask of anger is easier to show than the mask of hurt.
And if we make the error of looking at people's masks only to see anger on their face, we may end up in a confrontation only because we missed the point.

You have the power to wipe away this blank stare of the "breathing dead" beneath this mask.
It will not be easy for you.
Long felt hurts make my masks endure. The nearer you approach me the harder I may strike back.
Irrationally, I fight against the very thing that I cry out for - my identity.

You may wonder who I am. You shouldn't.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear.
I am someone you know very well.
I am every man and woman and child.
I am you.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, February 27, 2012

Motivated by T-Shirts! Maria Vita's cool assignment

High school teacher extraordinaire Maria Vita (@MariaVita1 on Twitter) from Penn Manor High School developed this great, creative way to encourage students to think deeply about motivation theories: Make t-shirts!

Maria challenged her students to summarize key points about a motivation theory of their choice and figure out how to represent them visually. Maria posted the original assignment and pictures of their t-shirts here. Multi-modal learning! Semantic encoding! Awesome fashion statements! Great stuff!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ulric Neisser, RIP

Psychologist Ulric Neisser died earlier this month. He's probably best known as the man who coined the term "cognitive psychology" in his 1967 book and who did a great deal to increase the focus on the modern study of memory. But we shouldn't forget that he's also the man responsible for this video:
This work was the forerunner to the work of Daniel Simons and Chris Chabris and their Invisible Gorilla. In a Google Plus post, Daniel Simons said this about Neisser:
Sad news to report. Ulric "Dick" Neisser, considered by many to be the father of cognitive psychology, passed away on Friday. Neisser was a true innovator and critical thinker who didn't tolerate fuzzy thinking. He wrote the first textbook of cognitive psychology, and then less than a decade later, as a convert to Gibson's ecological approach to perception, challenged the core assumptions of the field he helped to start. His 1976 book, Cognition and Reality inspired me as much as any book I've read. It emphasized the need to study perception and memory as they work in the real world, and I still recommend it to my graduate students.

In my final year of graduate school, Neisser returned to Cornell from Emory, giving me the chance to spend a lot of time with my intellectual idol. It was Neisser's work from the 1970s on selective looking that inspired the "gorilla" study Chris Chabris and I conducted decades later, and it was Neisser's emphasis on ecological validity in perception and memory research that helped push me and Dan Levin to study change blindness under real world conditions. In both of those lines of research, we really were standing on the shoulders of a giant.

My own research and thinking were indelibly changed by Neisser and his work, and I will miss him as an intellectual inspiration, a colleague, and a friend.
--posted by Steve

Rethinking the intro psych class

One of my favorite psychology professors these days is Cedar Riener of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. I learned about him a few years ago when I contacted Daniel Willingham to write an article for the Psychology Teachers Network newsletter. Dr. Willingham had recently written the excellent book Why Don't Students Like School and was swamped with requests for his time, so he referred me to Dr. Riener. The article Dr. Riener wrote, "Learning Styles: Separating Fact and Fiction," was published in the winter 2010/2011 PTN and is a highly recommended read. (To access previous issues of the PTN, you must be a member of TOPSS or the APA; follow this link to the PDF of the newsletter, then enter your TOPSS/APA login information.)

I began reading Dr. Riener's blog soon after and am always impressed by the topics he chooses and his analysis. So it was no surprise this morning to see that there was a new fascinating post - but the more I read, I realized that this was something I should share with all of you as well. [FYI to those of you on Twitter: follow Dr. Riener at http://twitter.com/criener)

What Cedar Riener is doing is becoming a "reluctant revolutionary" by actively tinkering with the standard lecture-driven intro psych class by incorporating several different strategies, including:
  • increased student choices for learning (podcasts, TED Talks, scientific articles, popular science books)
  • pass/fail grading used with many small writing assignments (so the focus is on practice, not perfection)
  • an increase in questions and peer discussion, and a decrease in lecture time
  • integrating more activities and active learning
I know that many of these topics are ideas that I have been debating in my own head for several years, and implementing them when I can. Alas, because of the fixed (and immense!) AP Psych curriculum I feel less able to do this, particularly teaching the class in a one-semester course, and I imagine that IB Psych teachers feel the same constraint. What I have found interesting, though, is that when I have tried similar steps in my regular psychology or other social studies classes, I've had some significant push-back from students who aren't every comfortable with the changes. As Dr. Riener notes,
In the active learning sessions, it is often like pulling teeth, students are so scared of being wrong, but also sometimes scared to show that they haven’t done the reading. They take a few tentative steps and stop, look up as if to ask “you are going to tell me the answer now?”
What I probably like most about this post is this final section, where he admits the difficulties and minor setbacks that have occurred. Changing students - and more importantly, ourselves - is a huge risk beyond their comfort zones and ours, and forces us to reconsider what education really is, and what is and is not effective. It may cause us to rethink some of the sacred tenets of what we have always believed and look at what the research says - Daniel Willingham's book above, for example, is an great place to go for combining what psych research says with classroom implementation.

I hope that you all will go to Dr. Riener's blog and read his entire post, then comment either there or here with your perspective.

--posted by Steve

Friday, February 24, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure - Your Brain!

The incredible Allison Shaver (@allisonshaver), psych teacher extraordinaire in MA, and Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec) posted this incredible, creative, engaging use of Youtube. I fondly remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and I LOVE that current students are using that "old" format, along with the "new" power of YouTube to create this engaging way to explore the brain. Really great stuff! Congrats to Allison and her students!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Thursday, February 23, 2012


The post "Hack Your Brain to Use Cravings To Your Advantage" on the Lifehacker blog got me thinking: How many of you get students involved in using psychological principles/theories to "change" something about themselves? I know this could be thin ice and we need to be careful (including parent permissions? some kind of "IRB-like" review?) but it could be a very powerful learning experience for students.

The only activity I did with students that is similar at all is "Habits and Perspectives" : Students pick a personal habit they want to change, analyze their behavior from different psychological perspectives, and design a plan to change their behavior based on one or more of the perspectives.

Anyone else do anything similar? Good idea? Dangerous idea?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rho Kappa - High School Social Studies Honor Society!

Way back in the last century when I was involved with the TOPSS board, several folks in that organization did quite a bit of work to get a high school psychology honor society started. There are active 2 and 4 year psych. honor societies (Psi Beta and Psi Chi). These organizations sponsor conferences, awards, and Psi Chi's Journal of Undergraduate Research is a well respected, peer reviewed publishing opportunity for undergraduate research.

The idea of a high school psychology honor society (the working code name was "psi alpha") never gained traction within the structure of the APA. However, NCSS recently announced a high school social studies honor society: Rho Kappa. There aren't many details on the website yet, but it sounds to me like this could definitely be an "umbrella" organization that a high school psychology honor society could fit under.

Anyone out there interested in starting a psych. honor society? Does anyone have one already? If you're interested, I'm pretty sure the folks in charge of the NCSS Psychology Community would be VERY interested in talking to you about Rho Kappa!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Psychology Today's List of "Best-Kept Secrets"

I enjoyed reading this list of "best kept secrets" in psychology, but I question the title. These don't seem like "secrets" to me, but a decent list of "summaries" of bodies of research that may not be obvious or intuitive? These are the issues I'd like to talk about in any discussion about whether or not psychology is "common sense" or obvious.

This list could be the start of a discussion toward the end of the year (maybe after the exam for AP classes?). Students could discuss the validity of these conclusions, what research exists or would need to be done to justify these conclusions, and even add to the list. Based on what they learned this year/semester, what overall conclusions would THEY add to the list?

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Sunday, February 19, 2012

All my occipital lobe can perceive is you, valentine

For Valentine's Day last week the students in my regular psychology class were challenged to make hearts for their sweethearts (real or imagined) that fit three criteria: they had to include a part of the brain, the unit we were studying; they had to include the function of that part; and they had to fit the style of normal valentines. I'm posting some of my favorites here. What do you think? Which one do you love? And how do you tie holidays into your classes?

--posted by Steve

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Research Conference Opportunity for HIgh School Researchers!

Pam Marek from Kennesaw State sent the following message to the PSYCHTEACH email list earlier this week, and gave us permission to repeat the announcement here. Looks like a great opportunity for high school researchers to present their work! The folks at Kennesaw are wonderful and I bet it would be a wonderful experience for any high school students and teachers who can make it to the conference.

"On behalf of the Psychology Department at Kennesaw State University, I am extending this direct invitation to you and your undergraduate or high school psychology students to join us at the 11th Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference in Psychology (GURP) on April 14, 2012. We are also inviting post baccalaureate students and junior graduate students in their first or second year of study.

The one-day conference will be held in the new Social Sciences Building on the KSU campus in Kennesaw GA. We encourage you to promote this opportunity for students to present the results of their empirical research, either in poster form or as a paper presentation. We will be awarding prizes for the best paper and poster.

Please email me for a 1-page Power Point file you might print out and use to advertise GURP to your students. The deadline for submitting abstracts for review is March 21, 2012. Further information about submissions, plus directions to the college, lodging, etc., is available at the GURP website, http://www.kennesaw.edu/gurp/.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Adrienne Williamson, awill176@kennesaw.edu, Sharon Pearcey (our Department Chair), spearcey@kennesaw.edu, or email KSU's designated GURP account, gurp@kennesaw.edu."

posted by Rob McEntarffer

New Neuroscience Video Resource

One of my long favorite sources for videos has been Learner.org, a site by the Annenberg Foundation that allows registered users to stream a variety of videos from a diverse set of topics.  I posted this blog back in 2009 to highlight some previous episodes available--I am reposting below.

Annenberg Media has a new offering for psychology teachers in 2012--a video course in the history of and how to better understand neuroscience called, "Neuroscience and the Classroom: Making Connections."  While I obviously love the "making connections" pun, I am looking forward to updating my knowledge of the brain and behavioral neuroscience.  Based solely on the descriptions, they appear to be very interesting.  The few I've watched are relatively dry, but extremely good for those of us learning or reviewing some basic content.  They seem to be much shorter and helpful for teachers--only some are for high school students--preview and see if you can use them.  The videos also contain closed captioning.

If neuroscience is a challenge for you, this site is a must!
Direct Link to the Video Series


From Annenberg Media
Discovering Psychology: Updated Edition

The World of Abnormal Psychology (caution, this used 1992 DSM-III diagnoses)

The Mind: Teaching Modules

The Brain: Teaching Modules

Seasons of Life (development)

Growing Old in a New Age
Death: A Personal Understanding

From PBS

Dying to Be Thinhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/thin/program_t.html

Life's Greatest Miracle

Ape Genius

PBS Frontline Viewing Portal--for all showshttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/

Inside the Teenage Brainhttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/view/

The Merchants of Cool

American Experience--Jonestown and others

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Anniversary THSP Blog

Three years ago today, February 10, 2009, at exactly 12:21 pm, the first posting went up on the Teaching High School Psychology Blog. Since that day:
  • over 730 postings have been made,
  • the blog has gotten 320,000 hits with 605,000 pages viewed,
  • 160 people have become followers,
  • 635 people have subscribed to the blog and receive every posting via email,
  • the THSP Blog has joined Twitter,
  • an Amazon E-store has been added and
  • much, much more.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the THSP Blog a success! Here's hoping for many years to come.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love

The days leading up Valentine's Day might be a good opportunity to talk about one of the only "psychological love theories" I've heard of: Sternberg's Triangular theory of Love. This summary is a good overview, I think (note: looks like the links in that citation aren't working).

I enjoyed asking my students to read the abstract of the Psychological review article and using that as a basis for a discussion about the theory and how well it "fits" their experiences AND what they learned in the social psychology chapter about attraction AND other sources of information.

Maybe students could make Valentines for the different kinds of love? Could be entertaining (and potentially dangerous ... :)

image credit: http://nathensmiraculousescape.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/sternbergs-love-typology/

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, February 6, 2012

Most Influential Superbowl Ads?

If your students are all abuzz about the superbowl ads from last night's game, you may be able to turn their conversation in a social psych. direction.

Students could analyze the ads for their potential to INFLUENCE (instead of just entertain :) Students could think about how the ads use social psych. compliance strategies (e.g. foot in the door, etc.) as well as look at the work of Cialdini. This list of research based strategies is a good place to start (I haven't read his book Influence, but I've heard great things about it!

posted by Rob McEntarffer

Thursday, February 2, 2012

TOPSS announcements

The latest and greatest information from the good folks at TOPSS (Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools). For further information about any of this, contact the wonderful Emily Leary at the APA: eleary@apa.org

APA TOPSS Scholars Essay Competition for High School Psychology Students

In the 2012 essay competition, students are asked to describe specific psychological concepts as they relate to the various ways a person might react to a natural disaster. There will be four winners, each of whom will receive a $250 award. Submissions must be made by March 5, 2012. For details, see http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/essay-competition.aspx.

National Survey of High School Psychology Teachers

Please take 20 minutes to take this APA survey, available online at

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/684207/National-Survey-of-High-School-Psychology-Teachers. The survey will close March 1, 2012.

APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards

The purpose of the APA TOPSS Excellence in Teaching Awards is to provide an opportunity for TOPSS to recognize outstanding teachers in psychology. There will be up to three annual awards. Winners will receive a framed certificate, engraved award, cash prize of $500, High School Psychology Video Toolkit DVD, and a free TOPSS membership or renewal for the 2013 membership year. The Toolkit DVD has been generously donated by Worth Publishers. The submission deadline is March 15, 2012. For details, see http://www.apa.org/about/awards/teaching-excellence.aspx.

APF Professional Development Awards for High School Psychology Teachers

The purpose of these awards is to help high school psychology teachers travel to and attend regional or national teaching and/or psychology conferences; applicants may be awarded up to $500. The application deadline is April 15, 2012; visit http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/professional-topss.aspx for details.

APF High School Psychology Teacher Network Grants

The purpose of these awards is to support the development of local and regional networks of psychology teachers and to support a local or regional teaching workshop or conference for high school psychology teachers. APF will award $2,000 in grants in 2012. The application deadline is May 1, 2012; visit http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/psychology-teacher-network.aspx for details.

APF 2012 Pre-College Psychology Grant Program

This grant program which provides financial support for efforts aimed at improving the quality of education in psychological science and its application in the secondary schools. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2012; visit http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/pre-college.aspx for details.

Mark your calendar!

The 8th annual APA/Clark University Workshop will be held in the summer of 2012 in Worcester, MA (dates TBD), and the annual APA Convention will be held in Orlando, FL, August 2-5, 2012. We hope you will make plans to apply for the Clark Workshop and attend Convention! Please look for details in the Psychology Teacher Network newsletter and on the TOPSS website.

National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula (APA, 2011)

The revised National Standards provide a framework for teachers and others to use to craft introductory psychology courses for high school students, and are available online at http://www.apa.org/education/k12/national-standards.aspx.

TOPSS Membership

Please remember to renew your membership with TOPSS! To renew, visit http://www.apa.org/membership/renew.aspx. If you are not already a member, we hope you will join today. Dues are $50 per year, and membership includes subscriptions to the Psychology Teacher Network newsletter, the monthly APA Monitor on Psychology magazine, the American Psychologist journal, and the Educator newsletter. TOPSS membership also includes access to TOPSS unit lesson plans. To join, visit the TOPSS website at http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/index.aspx.

APA seeks comments on revised ethical guidelines for high school research projects The Committee on Human Research (CHR) of the American Psychological Association (APA) is seeking comments from the broad scientific community on the draft revision of the APA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct of Behavioral Projects Involving Human Participants by High School Students (the Guidelines) – see http://www.apa.org/science/leadership/research/hs-guidelines.pdf.

posted by Rob McEntarffer