Psychology@Westminster College Logo, click to return to Psychology Home page. Teaching Philosophies

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The underlying priniciple of teaching of Psychology at Westminster is that research, learning and teaching are Mr. Flintinseparable parts of one whole.  One learns Psychology by doing the science of Psychology.  All students, in nearly all Psychology courses either approach written materials about psychology in an analytic manner, or actually carry out individual research projects.  Even the distinction between student and faculty research/learning are deliberately blurred.  Faculty intensively lecture, discuss, guide, coach, advise, mentor and act as highly experienced experts. Simultaneously they collaborate with students and learn new skills and content with and from the students.  Sometimes faculty initiate the research topics with students joining in.  At other times the student initiates and the faculty join the effort.  The result is an exciting learning environment.

It is the goal of the Psychology Department that students learn to pose and answer questions about psychology for themselves.  The content of Psychology is constantly expanding.  Through our courses students should learn how to be proactive consumers of psychology information relevant to their careers and lives.  They should also learn how to use empirical methods to generate answers for themselves.

Learning occurs best in a structured and reinforcing organization.  That is why most Psychology courses have prerequisites and a suggested sequencing.  Furthermore we believe the scientific process is best taught in the  context of specific psychology content  That is why research methods are taught across the curriculum at three different levels.  Click here to see an illustration of methods across the psychology curriculum.

We beleive that the best specific teaching/learning methods depend upon the professor, specific students and course content.  In teaching one size does NOT fit all.  That's why we often survey students at the beginning of a class and adapt teaching styles during the semester.


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