Discussion, lecture, practice. Prerequisite: advanced graduate
standing in psychology or a closely related discipline and consent of
instructor. Methods and problems of teaching psychology at the
undergraduate and graduate levels; curriculum design and evaluation.
Practical experience in the preparation and presentation of material.
(S/U grading only; deferred grading only, pending completion of
Mentor: Dr. Dean Keith Simonton,
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Course Structure | Course Resources
This professional course is distributed over two consecutive
quarters, winter and spring. At most, only eight of you can be
enrolled in any given year, and you must complete both quarters to
receive credit for the course. Hence, you should only take this course
if you are 100% sure you are going to complete the two-quarter
sequence. To drop out early means that you will impose an unfair
burden on your fellow students, who will have to cover for your
absence. Even worse, you will have denied the opportunity for someone
else to enroll in a course that can have a long waiting list.
Winter quarter: You will first select the textbooks
to be used in actual instruction in the spring so that we can get
everybody copies as soon as possible. We will then discuss both the
philosophy of teaching and the mechanics of instruction, with emphasis
on covering introductory psychology courses at the lower-division
level. Next we will devote the remainder of winter quarter to practice
lectures to enable all of you to receive feedback from both me and
your fellow graduate students. The course syllabus for winter 2015 is
Spring quarter: Now you get to perform what you
practiced by team teaching a regular introductory class. For example,
whenever eight of you are enrolled in this professional course (the
enrollment maximum), you will be distributed between two sections of
Psychology 1. Hence, each of you would have responsibility for one
quarter of a course. Because a 4-unit quarter course is supposed to
have approximately 40 in-class hours, that means that you each would
be responsible for about 10 of those hours. You would also write the
multiple-choice exam for your course module. Teaching evaluations will
be collected at the end of each of your modules so that the
undergraduates can give you feedback beyond that provided by me. For
sample syllabi from prior 390 Psychology 1 sections, please go here. Please note that 390B
meets in the classroom for introductory instruction rather than in a
separate seminar room.
Although you do not receive a letter grade in this course, your
performance will clearly undergo qualitative evaluation both winter
and spring quarters. The resulting overall evaluation can become the
basis of any letters of recommendations that you may later ask me to
write when you apply for temporary or ladder-track positions that
place some degree of emphasis on teaching effectiveness - positions
that predominate in community and liberal arts colleges.
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Resources can be grouped into three categories, namely, websites,
videos/audios, publications, documents, and presentations.
- The Society for the Teaching
of Psychology, Division 2, American Psychological Association.
The single most important general resource.
Psychology Resources. The single most important source focused
on teaching introductory psychology (but still under construction)
Resources, Association for Psychological Science. Many useful
Resources, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Division
8, American Psychological Association. The resources are more broad
than implied by the SPSP designation.
Resources, Social Psychology Network. Ditto.
Statement, Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University. Something
to think about. Your thoughts will be needed when you apply for jobs!
- Gross Lucas, S. (2008). A
guide to teaching introductory psychology. Oxford, UK:
Blackwell Publishing. A very useful nuts-and-bolts book, with special
focus on lectures and demonstrations. Strongly recommended to help you
prepare your lectures.
- Sternberg, R. J. (Ed.). (1997). Teaching
psychology survival: Tips from the experts. Washington,
DC: American Psychological Association. Chapters by Philip G.
Zimbardo, David G. Myers, Robert J. Sternberg, Carole E. Wade, and
- Benjamin, Jr., L. T. (Ed.). (2008). Favorite
for the teaching of psychology. Washington, DC: American
Psychological Association. A wide assortment of tried and tested
"demonstrations, experiments, discussions, and simulations."
- Simonton, D. K. (2006). Nothing
than a university professor engaged in teaching, research, and
service: Nor less. In J. G. Irons, B. C. Beins, C. Burke, B.
Buskist, V. Hevern, & J. E. Williams (Eds.), The teaching of
psychology in autobiography: Perspectives from psychology’s
exemplary teachers (Vol. 2, pp. 85-91). Washington, DC: Society
for the Teaching of Psychology, American Psychological Association. A
presentation of my general orientation to teaching, including my
teaching philosophy and how I dealt with teaching while maintaining an
active research program. The series includes many other chapters,
including essays by Charles
(Bill) McKeachie, Michael
Wertheimer, and many others (albeit, sad to say, only a small
proportion are at research universities).
- Korn, J. H., & Sikorski, J. (2010). A
guide for beginning teachers of psychology. Washington,
DC: Society for Teaching Psychology, American Psychological
Association. An electronic book in either PDF or RTF - and free!
- Chapter 1: History. Powerpoint Lecture
for Exploring Psychology (Myers, 7th edition). To be presented
in seminar on third meeting.
the Big Five. Teaching Personality and Social Psychology
Pre-Conference for the meeting of the Society of Personality and
Social Psychology, Los Angeles, 2003. A speculation on what it takes
to be a great teacher. To be presented in seminar on third meeting.