Teaching guide: psychology resources to inspire learning - podcast
Hello and welcome to AQA’s psychology podcast aimed at supporting your teaching of our new AS and A-Level specifications. In this podcast we’ll introduce you to the range of psychology resources available for our new AS and A-level Psychology. These resources will help you effectively plan and deliver engaging lessons that will inspire your students. We’ll also cover the importance of practical activities and the additional support we offer.
So let’s get started; you can find our range of free resources at aqa.org.uk/psychology-resources. To help you we’ve helpfully split our resources into three sections, plan, teach and assess. Prepare for your teaching year with our planning resources such as guidance for co-teaching AS and A-level students together, options, evening materials and more. Prepare your lessons and support your students’ learning with our teaching resources which include a range of lesson plans, detailed schemes of work for both the AS and A-level and more. Finally our assessment resources include specimen question papers and mark schemes, and student responses with examiner commentaries to help students prepare for assessment.
The resource you are likely to be the most familiar with is the AS and A-level Psychology specifications. The specifications explain with clarity and detail the necessary subject content, the schemes of assessment and the skills required for the qualifications. When we develop exam questions, we take great care is taken to use the wording in the specifications wherever possible. The specifications also provide detailed information about the maths and practical requirements for both the AS and A-level. You’ll find specific information about which maths skills are required and exemplification of the skills in context to the specifications.
We’ve made our AS subject content exactly the same as the first half of the A-level, this means you can co-teach AS and A-level students in the same class. In our planning resources section you’ll find guidance for co-teaching and a helpful co-teaching flow chart that you can use to plan your students’ journeys, whether they only want to do AS or perhaps aren’t sitting the AS exam and are going straight on to the A-level. If you’ve taught with us before you’re likely to find our summary of changes useful. These map the differences from our previous specifications, both A and B. If you’re switching to us, try our switching to AQA from other exam boards documents. We want to make your transition to teaching our new specifications as easy as possible.
To save you some time, we’ve developed schemes of work for both the AS and the A-level. These will be particularly beneficial for any topics or content in the new specifications that you aren’t familiar with. The schemes of work were created under the assumption that schools and colleges will have 36 teaching weeks and 4 ½ hours contact time per week. Of course this varies so you can adapt the schemes of work to your and your student’s needs. There are also schemes of work available for the various options for AS and A-level Psychology. You can find these under our ‘teaching resources’.
In our schemes, you’ll find detailed weekly content to accommodate different patterns of delivery, and a variety of suggestions for learning activities, practical research and links to resources. The links are great for adding variety to lessons. They link to suggestions for activities; TV/Radio broadcasts and YouTube links relevant to the various topics. There are also links to software for creating presentations and quizzes; there are articles and more. It’s worth mentioning that the suggested learning activities outlined in the schemes of work aren’t intended to cover all aspects of the content for each week and further resources such as textbooks and hand-outs should also be used.
For some areas of the specifications, for example: Biopsychology; Retrieval failure explanation for forgetting; and Humanistic psychology, sample lesson plans are available in our teaching resources. Lesson plans are not prescriptive but provide a useful starting point for you, especially if you’re newly qualified, a non-subject specialist or perhaps just aren’t as acquainted with a certain topic. Our lesson plans specify learning objectives, outcomes, required prior knowledge and resources. They also include a final section with suggestions for extension material, homework and preparation for the next lesson. These exemplar lesson plans provide useful activities and links which will help save you time and inject some diversity into your lesson style.
We know that preparation for assessment of new specifications can be off-putting, so we’ve provided specimen assessment materials, which consist of question papers, mark schemes and student exemplar responses. There are two sets of assessment materials available on our website (located in our assessment resources) and a third set available on e-AQA - our secure webpage. As this part of our website is secure, your students will not have access, meaning that you can use this set of assessment materials for mocks. We’ll talk more about e-AQA shortly.
Specimen assessment materials show you the format of the question papers and the ways that questions can be examined; for example multiple choice, stem questions, short answer and extended answer questions. We’ve also developed another podcast to help you prepare for assessment where we’ll answer some of teachers’ frequently asked questions.
As mentioned, e-AQA our secure website, provides information specific to your school or college. If you don’t already have access, your school or college’s exam administrator should be able to get you set up. On e-AQA you’ll find Secure Key Materials which give you access to the latest question papers and mark schemes, examiners’ reports, past exam papers, mark schemes and exemplar materials.
The presentation from our Preparing to teach events including the planning, teaching and assessment resources used to exemplify the training can also be found on e-AQA. Talk to your Centre Administrator about accessing additional services, including post-results services, entries administration, special consideration information and more. Login or register at aqa.org.uk/e-aqa
We’ve worked with Hodder Education and Illuminate Publishing, and have approved textbooks to support the new AS and A-level Psychology specifications. Using an 'AQA approved' textbook which has been revised by our subject experts, ensures that it provides good support for the specifications. The AQA approved textbooks can be ordered direct from the publishers, although please note that the purchase of these books is not considered essential to deliver the new specifications. You can find out more at aqa.org.uk/psychology-textbooks
Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and math’s skills are required in the new specifications and these will be assessed across all papers at both AS and A-level. It’s essential that students develop these skills through practical and ethical research activities which involve designing and conducting research, and analysing and interpreting data. To aid development of these essential skills we’ve produced a document called Practical activities for research methods, which shows a variety of examples of the type of research that students could carry out. You can find this in our teaching resources. The activities are linked to the specification’s topics and include an outline of the research tasks to be investigated. Practical examples on the topics such as Short-term memory, Gender stereotyping, Aggression, Age and sleep patterns, Reliability, and Crime statistics are available – you’ll find more available online. We’ve also developed a podcast which goes through how you can deliver practical activities in your classes using short term memory as an example.
The scheme of work (for year one) found in our teaching resources includes an Appendix (1) which shows an ‘Investigation Design Worksheet’. This provides a basic structure to support the planning of research investigations which teachers and students might find useful.
To add variety to your lessons take a look at our ‘List of free resources’ available in teaching resources. This list includes a mix of websites, articles, video material and more, totaling more than 80 resources that can engage your students. This diverse list includes topic specific material, for example relevant links for biopsychology and eating behavior. These are really valuable for preparing lessons and material for unfamiliar topics.
We also offer subject specific vocabulary which is a glossary of psychology terms. The list contains definitions and explanations of some of the key terms linked to the topics in the specifications; the list is by no means exhaustive. It’s useful for students to master such terms to enhance performance in exams. Encourage students to add to this list as they come across new terms during their studies.
In addition to the free resources available on our website we also offer a Teacher network group for the new psychology specifications. If you want to discuss and share teaching strategies, resources and ideas then this group could be for you. We’ve found these network groups are particularly valuable to newly qualified teachers, non-subject specialists, teachers working alone in a department or those with few resources. If you would like to join the new psychology teacher network group, please complete and return the membership form. Find out more at aqa.org.uk/psychology-TNG