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How the Social Sciences Teacher at Titus Salt School uses Psychology Review Magazine to teach A-level Psychology effectively

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“The exam focus sections are an invaluable resource to teachers and students as we navigate the choppy seas of specification changes and what the examiner wants.”

As a teacher of psychology, I have collected a mountain of Psychology Review magazines over many years and spent many hours lingering over its content. The latest issues reflect how the magazine has evolved alongside specification changes and current issues. The exam focus sections are an invaluable resource to teachers and students as we navigate the choppy seas of specification changes and what the examiner wants.

The specific exam focus in one recent issue of Psychology Review relates to OCR (covering extended response on core studies) and Edexcel (covering how to answer exam questions on practical investigations). Previous issues have provided other useful exam board articles, including one of my favourites from Rachel Dodge on ‘How to write a good WJEC/Eduqas essay.’ Providing further analysis helps to demonstrate to students that evidence should be questioned and central to a scientific discipline.

I particularly enjoyed the updates on classic evidence: ‘50 years on from the bystander effect’ and ‘Evaluating the criticisms of the Stanford Prison Experiment.’

Over the years, I have found the experienced authors to be a great reassuring guide. In one recent issue, Nicky Hayes provides an historical, social and political context to the nature vs. nurture debate and then examines today’s possible issues. The conclusory ‘line of argument’ provides some very useful phrases and quotes that wouldn’t go amiss in any exam question on this topic. Other established psychology authors such as Matt Jarvis and Phil Baynard sit perfectly alongside current teachers and a student’s perspective.

Our school recently moved to the online version of Psychology Review, and although I still prefer the paper version, the electronic version has the added bonus of some fantastic free online resources: this issue has a presentation on ‘Bystander Revisited’ and ‘The psychology of internet trolls’ (Matt Jarvis) and a summary of biological rhythms (Tom Buxton-Cope).

I love these magazines: they are packed full of fascinating ideas and guidance. This balance of academic, creative and exam focus can support those skills that go beyond textbooks, keep teachers up to date and allow students to take their learning to the next level. Definitely worth the investment!