Chapter

Introductory Psychology and Psychological Literacy

Lorelle J. Burton and Kathie J. McDonald

in The Psychologically Literate Citizen

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794942
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914500 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794942.003.0032
Introductory Psychology and Psychological Literacy

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Ongoing structural reform and evolution in the higher education sector continue to pose complex challenges for educators, including those who teach introductory psychology courses. One such challenge is helping students to overcome the first-year hurdle and develop the core attributes required for success at tertiary level. Psychology educators are uniquely situated to help students develop these life-long learning skills by setting the development of “psychological literacy” as a principal aim of first-year courses. Psychological literacy can achieve this by developing critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, respect for diversity, and self-awareness. In fact, these core skills can provide the foundation for all students—not just psychology students—to achieve success. Because of this, there is potential for introductory psychology courses to become compulsory across all disciplines as a foundation block for commencing students. This would help students transition more seamlessly and have an excellent foundation for academic success, assisting universities to improve retention rates and achieve higher education participation targets set by government. In addition to this, compulsory psychological literacy development moves toward the university goal of creating “global citizens” and even beyond this to becoming a strategy for national agendas such as social inclusion. Pedagogical issues surrounding the appropriate content and methods of delivery required to develop psychological literacy warrant further collaborative discussion. In order to achieve quality learning and teaching within higher education, educators cannot ignore the potential of psychological literacy and psychology educators arguably have a responsibility to advocate its potential within their institution.

Keywords: psychological literacy; global citizens; first-year students; introductory psychology; learning and teaching; student transition; critical thinking; problem solving; self-awareness; higher education

Chapter.  6217 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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