Sunday, 6 September 2015

Another Terrific Parley: The ATP Conference, 2015!

by Amanda Wood

Every year, teachers of psychology from all over the UK and many from further afield meet together for a fabulous three-day programme of key note lectures by leading psychologists, workshops and breakout sessions. We meet at a different university every year and so far I have had the pleasure of visiting Exeter (my old stamping ground), Loughborough, Hertfordshire, Aston and Keele, which we have visited twice, since it was such a lovely campus! This year’s conference was held at Lancaster University, my furthest posting yet, but it was certainly worth the five and half hour journey! Lancaster is a rising star amongst the non-Russell Group universities. Currently residing at number 9 in the Best Universities League Table for 2016 (www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings), 83% of their research has been classed as “internationally excellent and world leading” and Lancaster has been named as the best value for money university in England. Furthermore, Lancaster itself is touted as one of England’s “top 10 most vibrant cities”. It is one of only 6 collegiate universities in England, where each college claims “its own distinctive character and community” and where students are promised a “friendly, safe and secure environment”. We certainly loved the layout of the accommodation and facilities and felt extremely well looked after by university staff throughout our visit.


After months of uncertainty, the new A Level specifications and sample papers are ready at last, meaning teachers across the land can finally embark upon the heady task of creating new schemes of work. This meant the 2015 conference was particularly important as an opportunity for teachers to discuss the intricacies of the various curricula with representatives of the four exam boards (OCR, AQA, Edexcel and Eduquas), talk to the publishers and authors about the forthcoming resources and to get together and discuss how to tackle some of the challenges of new courses.


From 2017, Ofqual will require all Psychology A Level exams to include a minimum of 10% “Mathematical Skills” questions and so my first workshop focused on just this. Deb Gajic, former Chair of the ATP and Head of Department at The Polesworth School in Coventry led a reassuringly fun and lively session. Everyone received a fun-sized bag of Haribo as we entered the room along with a bushel load of handouts, and quickly we were counting eggs, teddy bears and dummies, grumbling about the lack of hearts and cola bottles and resisting the urge to scoff the lot. Next she advocated calculating means and standard deviations for each type of sweet across the twenty or so bags we had gaily ripped asunder, before regaling us with the all-important detail that we can buy catering-size boxes of Haribo on eBay and that there is a Haribo website where we can, allegedly, find out how many sweets “should” appear in each small bag. Next we gallivanted briefly through standard form before hitting inferential stats, probability and type 1 and 2 errors. Four volunteers were welcomed to the stage to demonstrate the meaning of “degrees of freedom” in a brief game of musical chairs and we ended up competing in a wonderful activity called the “Lobster Pot Game”, apparently a BBC Bite-Sized revision favourite. Building on a full day of inset with Psychology Stats guru Hugh Coolican, the previous week, I came away feeling that although we might need to create and embed a few more examples and exercises along the way, my greatest challenge by far would be deciding where to securely store the necessary crate of Haribo, where the IB students couldn’t eat them all before we reached the “’A Level How Science Works’ bit” (My Year 13 leavers will know exactly what I mean ;). 


Next stop was a session intriguingly entitled “Dirty, sticky curriculum planning” by Clare Deavall of Cannock Chase High School. Clare introduced the idea of “threshold concepts”, the conquering of which is said to be “akin to passing through a portal or “conceptual gateway”, “opening up previously inaccessible way[s] of thinking about something” (Meyer and Land, 2003). I was not familiar with this term and Clare skilfully relayed the basics describing ideas within a discipline that may be particularly troublesome for the learner, but when finally mastered represent an irreversible shift in thinking, that is transformative, and allows the learner to integrate previously unrelated knowledge, and providing new avenues for discussion. Having read a little more about this idea on my return, the associated term ‘liminality’ began to resonate as I recalled episodes with specific learners where they had arguably found themselves, (if without conscious awareness) in a “a state of ‘liminality’, a suspended state of partial understanding, or a ‘stuck place’, in which understanding approximates to a kind of ‘mimicry’ or lack of authenticity”. Clare urged us to think about the “threshold concepts”, in each block of learning in our own new spec.  Reminded of the Vygotskian concept of the “spiral curriculum”, in small groups, we began to think how each concept could be introduced and gradually built upon. Her second theme, “sticky learning”, is based on the SUCCESS model, the brainchild of the Heath brothers, Chip and Dan (http://heathbrothers.com) . They say that sticky ideas are Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and tell a Story. Quickly, I recognised how these traits each link neatly with a strategy that I was keen to introduce in my own session on creating an “Applied” curriculum. The final strand in Clare’s talk focused on DIRT, that is, “Dedicated/Directed Improvement and Reflection Time” as a technique used to extend pupils learning, based on target setting from previous marked work. Emma Shakespeare, a hugely talented teacher from Doncaster presented the idea at last year’s conference leading me to incorporate it into our new marking policy.  However, Clare provided some great insight into how the idea can be developed further and I look forward to incorporating DIRT target setting into our lessons as well as our marking.

After two great breakouts, it was time for our first Keynote by the much acclaimed Professor Mark Levine, who made his name at Lancaster and is now Head of Psychology at the University of Exeter. Mark is hugely popular in the A level world, not least for his role in the invincible if somewhat archaic “Five Steps to Tyranny” documentary. We were of course thrilled to discover that the infamous clip, for which he is best known, involving a stuntman tripping over in a Liverpool or a Man U shirt in front of unsuspecting Man U fans, was indeed filmed  just outside the building in which we were currently sitting. A fantastic lecture on the psychology of bystander behaviour and the escalation of the good, old-fashioned “pub brawl” ensued. Through access to city centre CCTV footage from up and down the country, Mark is able to work out the probability of violence or pacification dependent upon the first few moves of the surrounding bystanders. He noted that busy town centres such as Leeds and Manchester may be flooded with as many as 75,000 revellers on a Friday or Saturday night with just 40 police officers to keep the streets safe.  Yet, contrary to popular ideas of people losing their sense of morality, becoming “deindivuated” and increasingly anti-social in crowds, Levine has been surprised by the lack of violent episodes. With increasing numbers, the group in fact begin to self-regulate and although bystander attempts at “third-party policing” are not always effective, conciliatory acts were plentiful. He went onto demonstrate how virtual reality has been used to create immersive environments where aggressive behaviour can be studied in a more controlled manner. His work was truly fascinating and immediately relevant to the new curriculum, with regard to theoretical, methodological and statistical aspects of the teaching.

With a headful of burgeoning ideas I was thrust forth into the third breakout of the day this time manned by Niall Sully from Notre Dame High School, Norwich. Niall first asked us to describe a slide showing three Greek columns in the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. The activity allowed us to pick out defining features of the different styles and demonstrated the essential skill of comparison. Next, he went onto detail an analogy that I have been using for some time already as a way of helping pupils to understand the link between theory and research studies. He showed a picture of a Greek temple with the roof (the theory) supported by the columns (research studies) and we discussed how the columns may be cracked and crumbling (the weaknesses in the studies) but also how they could be cemented and scaffolded (the strengths of the studies). This is similar to the activity that I have used for a few years entitled ‘building a tower of support’ where paper cups (the studies) are used to build a tower to support a theorist (made from card and sitting on top of the tower). Pupils are allowed to shoot elastic bands at each other’s towers if they are able to come up with methodological or ethical weaknesses of the studies that are presented as support. However, in round two, pupils are allowed to use glue/sellotape to fortify their towers, but only if they able to come up with suitable strengths. This is a great analogy but Niall, took it even further suggesting that different paradigms/approaches in psychology build their “temples” in different ways using different research methods and their theories are underpinned by differing beliefs about what is important in determining human behaviour. He went onto provide us with a wonderful vision of a “City of Psychology” which led me to consider an induction activity where we could literally take a walking tour of Portsmouth, making use of our own stunning Guildhall with its Corinthian columned portico, making comparisons with other styles of architecture within the immediate locality. I toyed with how this could be incorporated with my own idea dubbed “Tales of the City” to be revealed in my Sunday morning workshop. Could the City of Portsmouth become a map for the four approaches in Psychology? The possibilities seemed endless…But, before I got too carried away I had to brace myself for the final session in this inspirational, action-packed first day!

The final session of the day was run by Dr Alan Collins, The Head of Psychology at Lancaster. Alan was immediately likable, humorous and down-to earth and it was plain to see that he must surely be a favourite with each passing year’s crowd of under-graduates. Alan’s session was entitled “Enhancing memory; the role of narratives in recall” and was based on a provocative research paper by Nairne and Pandeirada (2010). Following brief standardised instructions, we had to read a short paragraph, which we later discovered differed according to which group we were in. Mine said I was stranded in a foreign city and was developing a dangerous infection following an injury; I had to find antibiotics to cure myself. Next we had to rate 32 words which appeared on a screen at the rate of one every ten seconds, for pleasantness or importance to survival in the above scenario, as directed on the answer sheet. We then conducted a short interference task involving taking three away from a series of numbers. Next, we had to recall as many words as possible. Despite a long day and an epic journey the day before, I was quite pleased to recall 25/32 which apparently was pretty good! It transpired that some people had read a scenario relating to survival in the modern world whilst others had read about survival in a grassland environment, indicative of our ancestral past. Alan then guided us, through skilful questioning to think about possible hypotheses for the study and to consider why it might not be possible to make valid conclusions due to flaws in the design. He showed us the results of the study briefly demonstrating that in the original study, words that were rated for survival were better recalled than those rated for pleasantness and that the best recall was for those rated for survival in the ancestral grassland environment. This study is highly contentious and efforts to replicate the results have been mixed. Alan noted that if there is a special mechanism to help us recall life threatening circumstances we are yet to fully understand it. This reminded me of our IB work on “flashbulb memory” and Pitman’s use of beta-blockers following traumatic accidents in an attempt to decrease the chances of victims suffering debilitating flashbacks and other symptoms of PTSD. Alan concluded his fascinating session by considering those unusual cases of people with exceptional autobiographical memory but also noting that the inability to forget can also be linked to mental disorders, and in particular, depression. This was an excellent session and I certainly look forward to replicating this study in both my Year 9 club and also with our Year 12s.

And so finally five sessions down it was time for some cake with “Oxford University Press” as they celebrated their new titles. A quick dash back to the halls to shower and change and we were back on campus again for a pre-dinner wine reception sponsored by the university. It was a wonderful opportunity to chat informally with our visiting keynote speakers and I particularly enjoyed chatting about studying at Exeter with Mark Levine as it transpired that he too had studied there and had now returned as Head of Department. This was just the start of a great evening of catching up with old friends over lovely food and a few well earnt drinks. ATP is well known for its quizzes and this year was no exception, with a multiplicity of dingbats, pictures rounds and anagrams, it was enough to well and truly finish us off! Thankfully, amidst the gloom of being unable to descramble a single psychological term, I was thrilled to win a “Core Concepts” DVD in the raffle and this was just the start as the following night I also won a signed copy of Richard Gross’s new “The Science of Mind and Behaviour; Seventh Edition”. For those not in the know, this book is every psychology student’s bible and I remember well my dog-eared copy at college, which my Dad replaced for me when I left for university (Edition 3) with a personal inscription. This was Richard’s last conference for a while so it was a real privilege to catch up with him, while I still had the chance.  And so eventually we headed for bed, ready for an early breakfast and a 9 am breakout….

First up, was a meeting with Christine Brain, representing our exam board, Edexcel. When the new specifications were being designed, university lecturers were consulted about the knowledge and skills they wanted to see in their undergraduates and Edexcel’s new curriculum has been the most faithful to these demands of all the boards. Christine talked us through some of the major changes with particular regard to changes in the assessment objectives and the ways in which they have been integrated into the papers and the mark schemes.





..…...supp
 

Our next key note speaker was Dr Catherine Fritz from the University of Northampton with a talk entitled “Teaching Positive Psychology; Strengths and Strategies”.  She started off with a question first asked by William James (1906), while psychology was in its infancy, “Why are some people able to use their psychological resources to a greater degree than others?” and she identified the fact that psychology had perhaps focused for too long on mental disorders, in particular, those aspects or symptoms which are deemed undesirable rather than focusing and harnessing what it is that allows some people to excel and live the happiest and most fulfilled lives. She highlighted Abraham Maslow comments on this topic: “The science of psychology has been far more successful on the negative than on the positive side.  It has revealed to us much about man’s shortcomings, his illness, his sins, but little about his potentialities, his virtues, his achievable aspirations, or his full psychological height.  It is as if psychology has voluntarily restricted itself to only half of its rightful jurisdiction, and that, the darker, meaner half.” She continued to plot the history of positive psychology looking at the work of Martin Seligman, starting with his famous ‘learned helplessness’ theory of depression, demonstrating that if environmental experiences can create depressive symptoms including pessimism then surely the reverse should also hold true; positive empowering situations should allow people to learn optimism. Seligman has devoted the last 15 years or so to refining this theory having turned his attention well and truly to the topic of optimal human functioning. His mission was to change psychology’s perspective from weakness to strength, vulnerability to resilience and pathology to wellness with particular attention being placed on the five pillars described in Figure 1:

In a bid to create a happier, more productive society, Fritz noted that we should be “encouraging growth” rather “trying to cure weakness” (Reeve, 2009). She argued that treating illness may less efficient than supporting health. Positive psychologists such as Wood et al (2011) have identified several key measurable character strengths and argue that if we utilise these more effectively we can increase our wellbeing, self-esteem, vitality and experience of positive emotions and decrease our stress levels. The character strengths are:   Wisdom and knowledge (creativity,  curiosity,  open-mindedness,  love of learning,  wisdom), Courage (bravery,  persistence,  integrity,  vitality),  Humanity (love,  kindness,  social/emotional intelligence), Justice (citizenship,  fairness,  leadership), Temperance (forgiveness and mercy,  humility and modesty,  prudence,  self-control) and Transcendence  (appreciation of beauty and excellence,  gratitude,  hope,  humour, spirituality). Fritz then went onto talk about Csikszentmihalyi’s work on “flow” a state of happiness and fulfilment, whereby our level of skill and the level of challenge presented by a task are well matched, allowing us to be stretched but not to a point where the challenge is beyond us. This concept is paralleled by Vygotsky’s work on the zone of proximal development, however Csikszentmihalyi’s focus is not on cognitive development but on the impact of the experiential aspect of this state on our self-awareness and future potentialities.  Fritz juxtaposed this work against that of “fixed” and “growth mindsets”, terms coined by Carol Dweck, as an introduction to the research of Niiya, Crocker, & Bartmess, (2004). Participants took a number of tests to assess the extent to which their sense of self-worth was dictated by academic success, fixed/growth mindset and self-esteem. They were then randomly allocated to two groups and having taken a test similar to an IQ test they were either told that they were on the 97th percentile (i.e. the high achievers) group) or the 47th percentile (the lower achievers). The researchers then measured self-esteem, anxiety, depression and hostility in the participants. Amongst other things they found that the greatest difference for fixed and growth mind set thinkers occurred in those Pps who felt that academic success was most important to their self-worth, following perceived failure. Here the growth mind set thinkers stayed relatively buoyant given their perceived failure and the importance of academic success to them, however the fixed minds set thinkers really suffered a substantial slump in self-esteem. Next Fritz showed us a study which showed how our body posture literally determines our mood and sense of self-esteem.  Participants were forced to sit either upright or in a slumped position using physiotherapy tape to keep them in position and self-esteem and a variety of other measures were taken before and after this intervention. Whilst the upright group’s levels stayed relatively similar throughout the exercise, it wasn’t just the body posture that slumped for the experimental group, it was also their self-esteem, mood and level of persistence in the face of challenge too! Overall, this was a fascinating talk with lots of practical applications for work with our pupils both in A Level and IB and also for our Year 9 club too.


Everyone’s favourite neuroscientist was up next, Dr Guy Sutton. Packed in like sardines, this was easily one of the best attended workshops of the weekend. As ever, Guy took us on a magical mystery tour starting with some myth-busting regarding pervasive ideas such as the fact that we “only use 10% of our brain” and that “brain gym” is worthwhile! It was great to hear him explain some research I came across a few months back demonstrating the ability to literally implant a memory into the brain of a sleeping mouse, (http://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-insert-happy-memories-into-the-brain-of-sleeping-mice). He also went on to explain the neurochemical underpinning of individual differences whereby some people take longer to fall asleep and/or stay asleep for shorter periods, noting experimental evidence where “turning off” a certain gene allowed the creature to sleep better and demonstrate decreased anxiety.  He then made an interesting link between sleep deprivation and psychosis.  This led him into a discussion of recent research into cannabis use, especially highly potent forms such as skunk, which he underlined has very real toxic effects with a greater number of studies underlining significant damage than not. He noted that the use of this drug in adolescence is particularly detrimental causing detectable structural changes in multiple regions including the amygdala. Guy also talked briefly about research into the link between nicotine, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and schizophrenia. Guy then moved onto to some research looking at consciousness in patients undergoing anaesthesia and also those in comas and gave an insight into possible explanations of out of body/near death experiences. He also mentioned some research that appears to demonstrate the neural underpinning of social thoughts. The work of Marcel Just appears to have demonstrated that in neuro-typical participants, there are very similar patterns of activation for certain social concepts and when a participant does not show the same pattern of activation this could be seen as an indicator of some form of abnormality. Just tested this idea using 17 typically developing participants and 17 with high functioning autism. When participants were asked to think about words such as “hugging” and “persuading” whilst in the fMRI scanner and ‘blind’ researchers could accurately detect whether some-one was autistic or not with 97% accuracy.


After a quick pit stop, we were catapulted into yet another key note lecture, this time by Dr Chris French of Goldsmiths University. His lecture was an introduction to Anomalistic Psychology entitled “Weird Science”. This area of psychology, he says, takes a sceptical approach to paranormal claims and he started by showing some entertaining footage from one of his recent TV appearances on a show called “Enemies of Reason” with Richard Dawkins, where he attempted to debunk myths surrounding the phenomena that is “dousing” or water divining. French quickly engaged in a few pranks, for example, revealing how easy it was to make all 200 of us think of the same number, demonstrating how showmen such as Derren Brown are able to manipulate their audiences with relative ease. He then went onto ask us “What is the nature of the human condition that predisposes so many people to believe in certain aspects of paranormal?” He argues that we must be lousy intuitive statisticians, saying that the idea of “coincidence” is typically rejected as the emotional impact of something other than coincidence is far more gratifying than the likely and rather dull reality. He called it the “You won't believe what happened to me!!!” effect. For example, we always remember the time when we were just thinking about someone and the phone rang and it was them, but why would we remember the thousands of times it has rung and we weren’t thinking about that person. French then went onto regale us with the details of the Barnum effect which I won’t spoil for you if you are unfamiliar but be warned I may well use this with my future Year 9s, so be prepared…He also highlighted to us our potential to see things that aren’t there and to not see things that are there (inattentional blindness) using the example of the 4 of a clock face with Roman numerals which appears as IIII instead of the more usual IV. He also introduced us to some research by Richards, Hellgren and French (2014) which investigated the relationship between inattentional blindness (IB), paranormal belief/experience, absorption, and working memory capacity (WMC). He described absorption as a highly focused state where individuals are unaware of stimuli outside of attentional focus and is linked with paranormal belief. The study found that IB individuals had higher absorption scores and were more likely to believe in the paranormal than non-inattentionally blind (NIBs) individuals and that working memory capacity (WMC) predicted IB, with IBs having lower WMC than NIBs. To be fair, one had to have a fairly spectacular WMC to keep up with all the acronyms suffice to say it was fortunate that we were not required to spot a man in a gorilla suit crossing the stage at any point throughout his talk, (or maybe I missed it)…


French then went onto talk about the highly controversial area of recovered memories and false memory syndrome which has generated vast amounts of research, most recently a paper where it was possible to convince participants that they had committed a crime when they were younger that they had forgotten until this point. (http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/people-can-be-convinced-they-committed-a-crime-they-dont-remember.html) French then explained that paranormal experiences may also be examples of false memories, which led him into a discussion of the well know psychological phenomena, flashbulb memory, where people have extremely  vivid recollections of events of personal or national importance, often highly emotional and evocative. They are usually extremely confident in the accuracy of these memories yet research has consistently demonstrated that these memories may well be inaccurate. French cited a recent study that indicated that 36% of a group surveyed had a false memory of non-existent footage of the Bali bombings. French’s talk then took a different turn as he moved on to talk about the experience of sleep paralysis where people are unable to move in a state between sleep and wakefulness, which apparently is more common in those who sleep on their backs. He went onto talk about the many and varied cross-cultural interpretations of these states including incubus and succubus, sexually motivated demons who try to impregnate their victims whilst they are sleeping, in order to possess them. This narrative has been around since the 1300s but in St Lucia the same experience is attributed to the “Kokma”, the monstrous spirits of dead, unbaptised babies who haunt people whilst they sleep. This tale is used to explain the fairly common feeling of being awake but with something sitting on the chest.  Other similar but more elaborate tales include alien abductions and ritualistic satanic abuse. French concluded by talking about the popular concept of “pareidolia”, a psychological phenomenon where we perceive a familiar pattern, where none in fact exists, in a sound or image. For example, we may see images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations or hear supposed ‘hidden messages’ in lyrics played backwards or slowed down. A couple of top examples include a modest terraced house in Swansea that looks a bit like Hitler but more possibly more spiritually and indeed financially rewarding, a toasted cheese sandwich depicting the Virgin Mary which attracted 1.7 million hits and eventually sold for £18,500 on eBay! French then played us the Led Zeppelin’s classic “Stairway to heaven” played forwards and then backwards with subtitles allowing us to access an alleged hidden message relating to Satan…the talk was highly entertaining and once again fueled me with a multiplicity of ideas for Year 9 club but also for possible future TOK (Theory of Knowledge) lessons for IB.

With just a few more sessions to go including my own, my next stop was a workshop with  colleague Mark Souter from Clacton, who demonstrated a variety of ICT solutions for setting work and self-assessment to create a well-differentiated classroom environment where progress is systematically tracked from one week to the next. We had a play with socrative, google classroom and quizlet prompting more thinking about how the Year 12s could make best use of their iPads in lessons from September.


The final talk that I attended was another session with Guy Sutton, focusing specifically on “The Criminal Mind” in an attempt to unpick possible biological underpinnings. He started with a claim from neuroscientist David Eagleman that one day we might find a biological basis to bad decision-making that would make it seem like any other physical condition. This of course would have far reaching implications for the justice system as we consider the issue of freewill and determinism and the extent to which the perpetrator should be held responsible for their actions. Guy made this point crystal clear with the case study of a teacher who used pornography and sexually assaulted his step daughter. He was offered a programme of rehabilitation instead of a custodial sentence yet perpetually propositioned the staff, (Burns et al 2003). When he spontaneously wet his trousers with no apparent embarrassment or inhibition, an astute doctor recognised the possible signs of an orbitofrontal brain tumour and whipped him in for a scan. It was true the man did in fact have a tumour which was arguably responsible for diminishing the man’s ability to restrain his sexual impulses as once it was removed his behaviour returned to normal and family life was resumed. However, months later his wife noticed a negative change in his behaviour again and following a scan it was apparent the tumour had returned in the same place. Needless, to say the case opens a fascinating ‘can of worms’ regarding criminal responsibility especially when coupled with the chilling case of Donta Page, a rapist and murderer, who had suffered extraordinary physical and sexual abuse as a child. He made legal history when he escaped the death penalty when his defence made the case that his brain was irreparably damaged by the abuse and these mitigating bio-social circumstances should be taken into account. Guy as always provided a wealth of references and resources to support our teaching, not least links to Allen Brain Atlas  at www.brain-map.org  and the Barrow-Cadbury Trust report “Repairing Shattered Lives” which examines the links between brain injury and offending, (http://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Repairing-Shattered-Lives_Report.pdf).


So this brings me to the end of the keynotes and workshops that I attended and all that remains is to remark briefly upon the workshop that I ran myself entitled “Edexcel 2015: Towards an Applied, Evaluative and Creative Curriculum”. In this workshop I looked at the way in which Edexcel have altered the style of questions in recent years and how this corresponds with the questions in the sample assessment materials for the new specification. Altogether, it was noted that very few marks will now be available for simply recalling and describing knowledge (the lower tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning) and therefore we need to spend a much greater proportion of time thinking about how psychological research can be applied to real world problems. We also need to ensure that all students are able to create well-elaborated and nuanced evaluation which is underpinned by an excellent understanding of research methods. This understanding should be made easier with a greater focus on pupils designing studies for themselves to test psychological ideas. Pupils will then be required to critique their own designs and thus feel more connected to the problems encountered. This more concrete understanding can then be used to critique research studies cited as evidence for the various theories. I presented a range of news stories from our local area connected with core themes linked to six main topic areas that pupils will use as inspiration for discussion of possible causes and to design studies to test their explanations. I look forward to working on the scheme of work further over the summer and finding more innovative ways to engage and equip tomorrow’s psychologists with the skills they will need not only to pass exams, but more importantly to succeed at university and beyond, as they tackle real world issues that affect our ability to live long happy, constructive and harmonious lives.


If you managed to get to the end of this epic article then like me, at the end of the weekend, you will doubtless feel exhausted and need time to mull over the abundance of ideas as they germinate and take hold. I would like to thank the Headmaster and the Bursar for supporting me over the past seven years that I have been attending this magnificent event and I would also like to thank the ATP, and in particular Helen Kitching, the conference organiser, who was sadly unable to attend herself this year. She has done an incredible job and now all that remains is to look forward to next year’s event, which will, thank goodness, be held ‘down South’ at The University of Sussex.











No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments with names are more likely to be published.