Guidelines for preparing high school psychology teachers approved

Apr 05, 2012

The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives has approved a new set of national guidelines that outline models for preparing high school teachers to teach psychology effectively. The guidelines will be distributed to all state and the District of Columbia boards of education for review and consideration for implementation.

"These guidelines are the foundation for preparing professionals for the teaching and learning of psychological science at the high school level," said Kenneth A. Weaver, PhD, chair of APA's Board of Educational Affairs Working Group for the Certification and Training of High School Psychology Teachers. "They are designed to be read and used by state departments of education regardless of whether they choose to officially implement them."

The guidelines replace an expired 1978 APA policy that recommended courses for the certification of secondary school psychology teachers. Although APA has significantly supported and promoted the teaching of high school psychology over the past three decades, the 2012 guidelines are APA's first official statement on psychology teacher preparation since the previous policy.

The new guidelines were developed to align to APA's National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula (APA, 2011), a document that provides learning benchmarks for students taking the high school psychology course. APA expects high school psychology teachers to have the preparation necessary to teach the course as specified in the National Standards.

APA advocates two strategies, a course-based model or a standards-based model, to prepare new psychology teachers. Across the nation, states use these two approaches to prepare new teachers. The course-based approach requires completion of at least 30 credit hours of course work to meet the federal definition of a highly qualified teacher. The course-based models consist of categories of required or elective courses and a semester-long student teaching experience.

The new guidelines also contain the following standards-based model to strengthen effective teaching:

  • Standard 1. The teacher of psychology knows and can explain the major theoretical approaches, research findings and historical and contemporary trends in the science of psychology.
  • Standard 2. The teacher of psychology demonstrates how psychologists use major research methods including design, data analysis and interpretation.
  • Standard 3. The teacher of psychology applies the major theoretical approaches in psychology to reality-based educational, emotional, ethical, motivational, organizational, personal and social issues.
"An effective teacher enables students to see the relevance of psychology in their lives," Weaver said.

For both approaches, indicators are provided as suggestions for how preservice teachers can demonstrate mastery of the content. The guidelines also provide recommendations for current high school psychology teachers who do not have credentials in psychology.

APA advocates the development of a teaching credential endorsement for psychology in all states, and recommends that preservice teachers complete a second teaching field or endorsement for their teaching credential. The APA Education Directorate will periodically review and revise the , which will expire in February 2019.

Psychology is a popular and growing high school course. Nearly 30 percent of graduating students in 2009 earned psychology course credit during , according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 2011, nearly 198,000 students took the Advanced Placement Psychology Exam and more than 16,000 students took the International Baccalaureate Exam.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zero tolerance policies can work against cohesion in schools

Feb 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Students who feel connected to their peers and teachers are more inclined to alert a teacher or principal if they hear a fellow student "wants to do something dangerous," according to a new study published ...

Relationships Improve Student Success

Jun 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.