These are a few of the teaching resources I’ve created for my students. If you would like copies of these, please let me know.
Using a program called Camtasia, I created several short videos to illustrate common writing errors, or writing styles that can be confusing to readers (i.e. markers).
Applying the Psychology of Personality
Some psychological theories are difficult to apply, or they appear to apply to a limited set of situations – typically therapy.
This is a series of tutorial activities (or class discussions) that help students apply the theories they are learning to a very diverse set of real world problems. I contacted several people from a variety of settings to ask about the problem they faced, where they felt an understanding of human behavior (in particular personality) would help generate solutions.
I also teach a unit in psychological assessment and intervention at the 4th year level. I use a student pilot analogy to explain the different education levels. Undergraduate years 1 – 3 = flight theory. 4th year = flight simulator. Graduate studies = supervised flying. So at the 4th year, students are engaging in simulated practice. They are give a series of short videos of mock interviews to practice gathering and sorting through information.
The implementation and evaluation of Work Integrated Learning.
We are currently building a new Work Integrated Learning Program. This involves Professional Degrees where placements are guaranteed, professional internships, and industry study tours. This is a university wide initiative and I have been tasked with evaluating the strategy. My initial evaluation will focus on the school of health sciences, but will expand to a full evaluation of the program as it is rolled out.
Teaching the psychology of ageing with older adult mentors.
This project developed, ran and evaluated an advanced seminar in psychology. Six students enrolled. The course consisted of weekly seminars on topics related to the psychology of aging (e.g. cognitive impairment, social support, developmental theories of aging). Students were assessed via a major independent literature review on a topic of their choice. The key component of this course was the pairing of each student with an elderly community member who acted as a mentor. Student’s met with their mentors bi-weekly to discuss their research topic and to glean a real life perspective on the topic. Students also kept a journal of their experiences working with their mentor. Follow-up evaluation showed the course to be of considerable benefit to both the student and the mentor. While both acknowledged initial anxiety about the meetings, they all agreed that it was unfounded and the meetings were enjoyable and highly informative.
The Game of Late Life: A laboratory activity for undergraduate psychology. Educational Gerontology. (Brinker, J.K., Roberts, P. & Radnidge, B. 2013)
This paper presents the development and evaluation of a laboratory activity for first year psychology students. The game was designed to be an interactive activity to provide a balanced (both the good and the bad parts of aging) perspective on late life. The students break up into groups of 3 or 4 and the game begins by asking them to imagine themselves at the age of 65 and to write a brief history of their lives to that point (e.g. personality, career, marriage etc.). They then begin the game as if it were their 65th birthday. As players move along the game board, they encounter life events. Some of the life events are positive, some are negative, but many are left open for the student to decide on the valence based on their history. Through discussion, students decide on how they would interpret that event and how it would affect their lives. Results showed that the game improved attitudes towards and reduced anxiety about aging and older adults.
Ethics in the Research and Practice of Psychology.
Data for this project has been collected and analysed, and will be written up for publication. Much of the literature on teaching ethics argues that role plays are the most efficient (Strohmetz & Skleder, 1992). The APA Monitor (April, 2012) published a very interesting article that highlighted how the very qualities of a good clinician could put them at risk for poor ethical judgements. This clearly illustrated how the best of intentions could lead to unethical behaviour. I created a lab activity where students would break into small groups of 3 – the decision maker, the devil and the angel (it was made clear that these distinctions were not religiously based but only for illustrative purposes. The groups then worked through various ethical vignettes to demonstrate how good and bad were not always as straight forward as it may seem. Students informally reported that this activity was powerful and moving and made them reconsider many of their previously held beliefs about ethical decision making.
Spike Assessments Clinical Psychology Education
Data for this project has been collected and analysed, and was presented to the Learning and Innovation team, and the department of Psychology at ANU. One of the courses I teach for the graduate clinical program is a mix of 4 unrelated topics – drug use and abuse, sexual dysfunction, personality disorders and group psychotherapy. Designing an appropriate assessment for this course has been a trial. One of my classmates in Curriculum Design and Innovation is a faculty member from the Computer Science department. His action research project was the evaluation of “Spikes” as an assessment tool in his course. Briefly, Spikes are the least amount of information a person needs to solve a problem. As my classmate was describing this, it occurred to me that it may be very useful for my composite course. I am well aware that I cannot teach students all that they need to know about a topic in ¼ of a course, all I can do is to expose them to some of the issues surrounding it. What the Spikes could do is to teach the students how to efficiently and effectively acquire the information they need, when they need it. For each of the four topics, students completed one spike. To do this they clarified the question/problem, identified the relevant sources of information, and recorded the process of finding that information noting what was helpful and what was not, so as to learn for future searches. The evaluation highlighted revisions I need to make to the initial explanation of the Spikes, but they did say that what they learned from the process not only helped them in this course, but in their other courses and in their research work as well.
2008 – ANU Teaching Enhancement Grant – $4500
- Teaching the Psychology of Aging with Elderly Community Mentors
2010 – ANU Teaching Enhancement Grant – $10,000
- Creating Interactive Training Videos for Clinical Psychology Students
2012 – ANU Teaching Enhancement Grant – $8,644
- Evaluating Best Practice and the Development of a Working Model of Peer-Review of Teaching at the ANU