Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Norma Wolford,
Madonna University,

Presentation (ppt)


In a successful learning environment there is a three way relationship between teacher, students, and subject matter.  The teacher and students collaborate on a quest toward an understanding of course subject matter which is propelled by natural curiosity and sustained by study, introspection, and shared experience.  When students seem inherently enthusiastic about learning and consider abnormal psychology to be compelling subject matter, the teacher has a preset foundation upon which to build. Some students however, may look to be inspired, challenged, or stimulated in their learning.  Whatever level of motivation a student possesses, the teacher has a unique opportunity to increase or extend it.

This presentation will examine strategies that encourage the natural curiosity of students in order to establish a collaborative learning environment that promotes student success in an abnormal psychology course.  The presenter will discuss her experiences teaching abnormal psychology in a private university setting.  She will present ideas for course design that build on areas of student interest and appeal in order to promote successful learning.  The design paradigm will be influenced by environmental factors, culture, technology, instructional practices, and learning styles.  Specific techniques will be shared that focus on motivating students by utilizing content highly interesting to them; content areas such as classic and contemporary art, film, and music. Practical implementation of course activities will be demonstrated as the presenter engages the audience in the learning process. Positive student response to these techniques, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with their use will be discussed.

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