A-level Psychology launched for the first time at King’s in September 2021. Lower Sixth are now four weeks into the new Psychology course and are already fascinated by what it has to offer.
This captivating A-level gives pupils an insight into human behaviour and how the mind really works. Pupils are already showing a keen interest, applying theories to real-life situations both in the classroom and at home, sparking discussions with family members about why people behave the way they do.
In psychology we are currently looking at how our memory works, questioning whether the short-term memory is one component or split into several to form part of a working memory. The course has given pupils an opportunity to take part in experiments that replicate real-life research as well as look at how theory is applied and, in some cases, derived from fascinating clinical evidence. Pupils have studied the case of patient HM, who had his hippocampus removed and could no longer lay down new long-term memories, to KF, who suffered from amnesia following a motorcycle accident which impacted his short-term memory, both cases being significant in teaching us how memory works. Pupils have also discovered that in some cases chimpanzees have a superior working memory to that of humans, who would have thought?
Pupils have been looking into early attachment with Dr Dorsett and have seen how at distinct stages of development children rely on specific types of attachments, and that in fact choose comfort over food during those early years. The topic has raised many questions surrounding ethics and the long old debate of whether we are a product of our environment or our genetics.
Psychology is a subject that lends itself to many A-Levels whether pupils enjoy the sciences or the arts and humanities. The subject creates many transferable skills such as critical thinking and analytical skills for both undergraduate courses, but also for those pupils going on into employment. Psychology has previously been a popular choice at degree level, with 10% of last year’s cohort going on to study it, and it is already proving to be the same this year. In the new year, we are going to be inviting guest speakers in to support pupils with making informed decisions and providing pupils with an insight into careers that are on offer in psychology.
Dr Dorsett will be opening psychology up to our younger pupils, offering a psychology club for middle years after the October half term. This will be a great opportunity for pupils to get a taste of the exciting and in some cases controversial topics that will be covered in A-Level psychology. What could be more interesting than studying a subject which gives you an insight into your own behaviour and that of society?
Our new Head of Psychology, Mrs Kent said ‘It has been refreshing to work with young people who have a real love of learning and a thirst to gain new knowledge, pupils have not been afraid to question and challenge existing theories.’
And what do our students think?
‘Psychology has been one of my favourite subjects in A-Level so far. The guidance given has felt so clear and discussions in class over the ethics and content of our course has been amazing and fun’ Mary H
‘I am really enjoying Psychology. It’s been really interesting and enjoyable to learn a whole new subject. I am looking forward to seeing what doors psychology opens for me in the future’ Harriet J
‘I think the idea of investigating how people’s brains work and why people do what they do is extremely interesting. I’ve loved looking at the experiments and theories done by psychologists in the past, and how they came to conclusions’ Abi G