SMSC in Psychology

Humanities subjects are all heavily focussed on people and their relationships and as such we are well placed to contribute to students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. In every lesson across the Faculty, students are expected either to consider the needs and experiences of others, or their own personal responses to events, problems and changes. Teachers in Humanities encourage students to discuss and debate controversy outside the classroom. At times this is in a formal setting like educational visits or homework, but also we expect the study of Humanities subjects to affect positively the way students live their daily lives. We encourage young people to enquire, consider and question in lessons and beyond.

Spiritual Development in Psychology

·         Students work in groups to role play psychological experiments- and research into obedience by Stanley Milgram. Links were made with the aim of the study investigating why Nazi Germans were obedient during the Holocaust and whether Americans showed the same characteristics. In one lesson we looked at variations of Milgram’s original research and students performed as experimenters and participants partaking in the experiment; on top of this a handful recreated the original study at sixth form open evening to advertise Psychology. Cross curricular links to drama skills as well as presentational skills considering the audience.


·         There is a whole topic on social influence. One lesson focuses entirely on social change and how minorities influence societies over time; Looking at the Suffragette movement, Nazi Germany and real life examples through history. Students research how Social Change occurs, using the Snowball Effect and apply to recycling, breastfeeding, smoking and historical social change. This unit not only improves their understanding but gives them tools and techniques to further their own social skills, explore social issues and cohesiveness within society.



·         Evaluating research using different societies through time as well as in the modern world. We consistently look at behaviours are acceptable in one country and not the next; Why are rates of eating disorders so high in western countries? By looking at different societies students are able to evaluate how generalizable research is to the real world.



Moral Development in Psychology


·         The argument of what is right and wrong; a recurring theme in ethical issues of psychological research. Students consistently test and consider what it is to be ethical. In terms of science, as well as the wider context of case studies and real life events that we consider; Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Abu Ghraib, Suffragettes, etc.

·         Theory of moral development, stages and how we can further our own moral development. When we study Kohlberg and his theories of development, we not only study morality within our society, but within ourselves. This lesson students can assess what Morality is and how we determine morality by examining social norms.



·         Lessons on social influence focusing solely on the events that led up to things such as the Holocaust and looking at how the actions of the few can have massive effect on the majority in minority influence or obedience. We discuss the morality of those who claimed to be obeying a higher force as justification for their own actions.

·         Moral issues surrounding abuse; physical, psychological, drug, gambling and addictions are key to A2 psychology and pupils consider the misuse of advertising or people employed by Casinos and the ethical issues that surround it.



Social Development in Psychology

·         Cognitive psychology- Looking at how a set of beliefs affects a person’s behaviour. Specifically the cognitive approach within our individual differences module; students learn about how thinking and cognition directly affect how we behave in everyday life. By looking at how beliefs affect our behaviour we can better understand religious beliefs as well as other.

·         Investigating religious examples in terms of conformity. For example; In our lesson on Obedience we looked at differences between catholic and protestant Christians in terms of obedience.

·         Encouraging pupils to study and understand others; specifically mental illness, understanding how their lives are affected by it and how we can learn to manage and treat mental illness. Every Abnormality lesson the students increase their understanding by learning about how real people are affected by mental illness. Linking back into how thoughts and beliefs can affect our behaviour.

·         Locus of control- and how changing how you think about things can improve self-esteem, confidence and quality of life.

·         Positive perception of self- Promoting a healthy approach to self-image, self-worth and self confidence.

·         Look at motivational values and how they affect people’s lives; characteristics of how people develop and behave. An example lesson where students discussed motivational values and its effect on academic prowess.

·         Allowing them time and space to create their own thoughts and opinions on the topic.



·         Understanding differences between people and finding ways to bridge the gap. We are not all so different (Jonny suffering from schizo-affective disorder)

Cultural Development in Psychology

·         Looking at cross cultural studies, meta-analysis and studies of different cultures.

·         Social influence- Looking at behaviours and thoughts of both the individual as well as the society all over the world.

·         Evaluating research in terms of its sample- gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Promoting racial equality whilst learning A02 evaluative techniques for their exam and life. Discussing gender and cultural stereotypes and issues of – androcentricity, gynocentricity and ethnocentricity.



·         Consistently challenging cultural stereotypes of how societies perceive mental illness and evolve their understanding of people affected by mental health issues.


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