3 Easy Lesson Ideas: Reflecting on the IB Psych Course

Travis DixonTeaching Ideas

Reflecting on the IB Psych course can be a good way to finish the year.

As many of us come to the end of our IB Psychology courses, it’s important to take some time to reflect on everything we’ve learned. This simple lesson idea is a good way for students to do that. It also provides some feedback for the teacher.

Someone once asked me, “what’s the highest aspiration you have for your teaching?” It was an easy question to answer: “That my students use something I’ve taught them in their adult lives.”

After all, what’s the point of learning something if you’re going to forget it and never use it?

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#1 Top Ten

  • Take a few minutes to think back to your first lesson of IB Psychology and all the way up to today. Then try to think of some things that really stick out in your memory. Make a list of the ten things you think you’re most likely to remember in 5 years time.
  • They could be about studies, things you’ve done in the classroom, something about your classmates or your teacher or simply anything that might stick in your mind. Even if it’s completely random, write it down. Try to order them from the #10 to the Number #1 thing you think you’ll remember from the course.
  • For example, it’s now been almost 20 years since I sat in my General Psych class in a high school classroom in Connecticut (as a foreign exchange kid). I remember my teacher telling us about Genie, “the wild child” in our very first lesson. I remember on Day #2 we had a quiz to see if we could spell Psychology correctly. I also remember covering my book with paper (as we had to do) and writing “Psycho” on the front and thinking I was very clever. Oh, and I also remember my teacher farting in class. (I hope my students remember a few more meaningful things than I do!)

#2 Knowledge Bank

  • This is a more specific reflection activity (and was part of my Health Project). Think about a specific concept that you’ve learned about in the course that you think is useful to know (it’s stored safely in your knowledge bank). Explain why you think it’s important, including how it might help you later in life.
  • For example, one concept I use a lot is correlation does not mean causation. It seems I’m always seeing correlational studies being reported as showing causal relationships in the news. Understanding how to evaluate correlational studies allows me to think critically about the information I’m hearing in the news and not blindly believe every word of it.

What do you think are the most valuable things you’ve added to your knowledge bank?

#3 Bollocks Bank

  • While it’s tough to hear as a teacher, I like hearing what kids think should go in the bollocks bank as it helps me improve my course.

    This is the opposite to #2 – there are some things that you’ve learned about in the course or something you might have done that you think was absolute bollocks (i.e. it’s irrelevant, useless, not helpful, waste of time, etc.) Hopefully there aren’t too many of these, but there might be a few.

  • For example, I remember from my Psych class 20 years ago that our teacher “lost” his gradebook. He asked us into the hallway one-by-one during a lesson and asked us what grade he think we deserved. Lo and behold the grade we said was the grade we were given. He never lost the gradebook, he just never bothered giving us any tests. I think this was a bit of bollocks on his behalf.