Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Kimberlyn Leary,
Harvard Medical School,

Presentation (ppt)


Teaching abnormal psychology and psychopathology takes place in many venues. Most typically, we teach present or future psychologists or those who by virtue of choosing a psychology course have declared an intention to think like a psychologist. This presentation will compare and contrast teaching abnormal psychology in these contexts with a range of others that include functioning as a tutor to third year medical students in a course on communication and rapport building with medical and psychiatric patients, and teaching about psychopathology (among other things) to conflict management specialists in the course of research and collaboration on negotiation and mediation (Leary & Wheeler, 2003). The focus will be on the ways in which abnormal psychology is understood and represented in academic and practice disciplines, the process of engaging with the expectations all learners have, and how this informs and changes pedagogical technique and the content of teaching about abnormal psychology. Particular attention will be paid to the concept of the “teachable moment.” These moments cannot be predicted in advance, and require that the instructor develop an attunement to the particular students in any classroom and to the cultural surround in order to respond to the emergent possibilities newly enabled in such moments.

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