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PSY3031 : The Psychology of Teaching and Learning

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Helen St Clair-Thompson
  • Lecturer: Dr Patrick Rosenkranz
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to provide an advanced knowledge of psychological constructs that may be important in educational settings; focusing on both cognitive constructs (e.g. working memory and executive functions) and non-cognitive constructs (e.g. motivation and personality). Each of these constructs will be considered in terms of its implications for educational practice. The module will therefore aim to answer questions such as “how can teachers reduce the cognitive demands of classroom activities?” and “how can teachers nurture motivation in a way that improves students’ learning?” In addition, the module aims to enable students to develop skills relevant to professional teaching practice (e.g. presentation skills and information literacy).

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will cover a broad range of topics throughout the module. Theories and research studies concerned with cognitive skills will be presented, for example, referring to working memory, attention, executive functions and intelligence. A range of other individual difference variables will also be described, such as personality, motivation, and resilience. A key focus will be the implications of research findings for practice within teaching and learning. Students will also have the opportunity to research a topic of their own choice in relation to educational interventions, and then prepare a presentation on this topic.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Preparation and delivery of oral presentation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Interactive lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1021:00102:00Revising lecture notes, further reading, and preparing for the written examination
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00Reading research papers on blackboard
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Workshops for guidance and delivery of oral presentation
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching session is one 2-hour lecture slot per week. The lectures will introduce the cognitive abilities and the range of individual difference variables covered on the module. Students will gain an insight into these constructs which will allow them to describe relevant theories, demonstrate an awareness of how the constructs can inform teaching and learning, and critically evaluate their contribution to teaching and learning practice. The nature of presentation throughout the lectures encourages peer interaction, support and discussion.

Four 1-hour workshops are also scheduled. These will provide information and allow for preparation and delivery of an oral presentation.

Independent study allows students to prepare for the assessments (oral presentation and written examination), including reading relevant literature, revising, and thinking critically about published research exploring the constructs covered on the module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A80Students will be required to answer 2 essay questions from a choice of 6.
Oral Presentation151A20Students will be required to prepare and deliver an oral presentation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination is an appropriate way to assess student’s knowledge of the relevant cognitive abilities and individual difference variables covered in the module, and also their ability to demonstrate an understanding of how these constructs can inform practice within teaching and learning. Critical evaluation of theories and relevant research studies will also be required in the essays.

The oral presentation is an appropriate method for assessing the intended skill outcomes; the ability to plan and prepare materials for an oral presentation, deliver a presentation and engage in peer observations of presentations.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.

Reading Lists