Curriculum Matters

Dana S. Dunn, Robin L. Cautin and Regan A. R. Gurung

in The Psychologically Literate Citizen

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794942
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914500 | DOI:
Curriculum Matters

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Psychology differs from many other disciplines in that students can readily connect course material to their own lives (Goldstein, 2010). This distinction is at the root of the idea of psychological literacy as defined by McGovern et al. (2010). Promoting psychological literacy entails reorienting what and how we teach students in a way that emphasizes psychology’s relevance. To the extent that the acquisition of core psychological knowledge takes place in the classroom, we believe that the obvious channel for cultivating psychological literacy is the undergraduate psychology curriculum. This chapter reviews the history of psychology curricula in the U.S.A. and then considers how student learning outcomes related to psychological literacy might shape disciplinary curricula for undergraduates. Such curricular change must address the necessary balance between graduate and undergraduate needs, and the balance between cutting-edge and core knowledge; for these reasons, the chapter specifically discusses the range of learning outcomes a psychologically literate curriculum should comprise. The chapter then turns to the competencies that should appear in psychologically literate curricula and addresses ways to give courses a more global perspective. The chapter also focuses on practical ways to make a departmental curriculum more psychologically literate and offer advice on assessing literacy. The chapter concludes with a call to develop a psychologically literate citizenry.

Keywords: psychological literacy; core psychological knowledge; undergraduate psychology curriculum; student learning outcomes; competencies; global perspective on psychological literacy; assessment

Chapter.  4673 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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