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Psychology 390A-390B. The Teaching of Psychology (6-4)

Professional Course: 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 sequence.)—II-III. (II-III.)

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 found here.

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.









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Last Revised:  December 25, 2014

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