7204.09 - Psychology for Social Educators

Course number
Psychology for Social Educators
This course is an independent course that nevertheless is conducted in close co-operation with the course in pedagogy and general didactics. Students will gain insight in selected trajectories in the academic study of psychology, which are particularly relevant to the vocation of social education. Thorough knowledge about how children develop, learn, think, communicate and so on will help and guide the students, when they, as future social educators, will (1) plan their work, (2) assess their work and (3) document activities, projects, and so on, and document the results of these. The purpose of the course is that they students will - become aware of what characterises psychology as a science, and what characterises the methods, which are central in the practice of psychology - gain thorough knowledge on how children develop, how nature and social context influence this development - become aware of the logic that has shapes instititutions that work with children in the Faroe Islands, including how these institutions and the traditions that characterise them influence the attitude, sense of identity and the well being of the individual child
The course in psychology is organised around the following topics: 1. Basic Psychology. The first part focuses on foundational aspects of psychology as it relates to attachment. The theories of John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, Daniel Stern, D.W. Winnicott and so on will be considered. The historical shift in psychology that came about with psychologists as Dion Sommer will also be discussed. 2. Neuropsychology. Intensive research on the brain and it function has been conducted over the last decade. Researchers have found that the brain determines personality to a greater extent than previously assumed. For example, a person’s memory is pivotal to how they learn and develop. Neuropsychology is concerned with how the brain is organised as a network and how the various sections of the brain are related to communication, memory, the ability to concentrat, empathy and so on. 3. Qualitative research. Qualitative research methods have advanced greatly over the years. In the past quantiative research was seen as the primary and proper scientific approach while qualitative research was seen as secondary. But today interviews is a widely used qualitative research method, and is also a tool for both social educators and teachers to get a better picture of who a person is. 4. Normal grief. Grief is a natural part of human existence. Students will both receive theoretical and practical knowledge on the grieving process and the importance grieving may have for an individual person. And so the question, is sorrow and grief something we need to work on or is it to be silenced? Winnicott speaks of transitional objects as something a child uses to manage life. 5. Child rearing, family and institutions. Whose responsible for rearing a child? Parents, institutions or both? Some researchers think that the kindergarten is detrimental for children, the reason being that the professional pedagogical competence of the institution is lacking. 6. Intelligence and cognitive development. Intelligence is not a new notion but has been widely discussed lately. There are many theories on intelligence, but the best known is Gardner’s theory, which has had great influence. We will consider, among other things, the importance of intelligence for the individual child. 7. Gender and gender difference. What is gender? And what does it mean to be a girl or a boy? Is gender a social construction? How does the social educator relate to the child? And how can a female social educator relate to, support and help a boy develop? 8. Tools in psychology. It is important to have theoretical insight into children but what tools can we use to analyse the child? We will consider at assessment and intervention models. Poul Nissen is one of the researchers we will study. 9. Observation, analysis and interpretation. How can we avoid casting a child in a particular stereotype? This can be accomplished by observing the child in its own context. How a social educator will interpret her or his observation will depend whether she or he has the proper tools. 10. Scientific theory. What is science? Why is it important for the social educator to be well informed about science and research?
Assessment method
1. On completion of the course, students, either individually or in groups, will write a paper, in which they discuss and analyse a topic of their own choice. In the papers students shall demonstrate that they know how to use and benefit from psychology as a tool. The paper is to be no more than 5 pages. An oral presenation will be part of the evaluation of the paper. 2. On completion of the practicmum, students, in groups, will write a research paper that covers this course and the course in pedagogy and general didactics. The paper must either pe grounded in or make reference to the practicum. The paper will be defended orally. If the paper is written by two students, it shall be no longer than 15 pages. If the paper is written by three students, it shall be no longer than 20 pages. 3. The research paper must be turned in no later than Friday, 4 june 2010 . The course evaluation is based on the written papers 1. Students will recieve passed / not passed for the first paper. Internal examiners will be used. If a student does not pass this papger, she or he must write a new paper to pass this requirement. If the paper is written by a group of students, who is responsible for what part of the paper must be clearly marked. 2. The research paper, which is written in conjunction with the course in pedagogy and general didactics, will be defended orally. Grades will be granted according to the relevant grading scale. External examiners will be used. The criteria for the paper and research paper is as follows: • How well do the students employ psychological, pedagogical and didactical theories and conceptualities in the way they develop and argue their hypothesis • How well do the students integrate the theoretical aspect of the course with the practicum • How well is the paper written and organised • Language usage, syntax and spelling • Use of scientific sources and literature, and use of the APA style guide
Fróði Madsen