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Reflections on psychological literacy Dr Jacqui Akhurst (Associate Professor, Psychology, YSJU, Prof. Sir Ron Cooke International Scholar 2012-3)

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Presentation on theme: "Reflections on psychological literacy Dr Jacqui Akhurst (Associate Professor, Psychology, YSJU, Prof. Sir Ron Cooke International Scholar 2012-3)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reflections on psychological literacy Dr Jacqui Akhurst (Associate Professor, Psychology, YSJU, Prof. Sir Ron Cooke International Scholar )

2 Outline What are we preparing our students for? Psychological literacy as a concept How do we integrate into the curriculum skills, knowledge and values that have transferability to the world of work? Discussion of these ideas in participants’ domains

3 What are we preparing our students for? About 25% of graduates go on to postgraduate studies Professions pursued by psychology graduates in the UK, 2009

4 Psychological literacy explored … “… the graduate attributes (knowledge, skills, attitudes) or learning outcomes of the Undergraduate psychology degree program” (McGovern et al., 2010) Cranney and Dunn (2011) simply defined psychological literacy as the “adaptive capacity to apply psychological science to achieve personal and societal needs”

5 So, what about the terms ‘psychologically literate citizen’? ‘The Psychological’? Mind – brain relationship … What / where is it? ‘Literacy’? Simply, implies reading and writing, but is it more? ‘Citizenship’? What does this mean in the UK context?

6 The ‘psychological’ From Brown & Stenner (2009) Psychology without foundations: The worlds we inhabit are physical, organic, personal and social … “psychology – broadly defined as the study of what it is to be a person – is everywhere” As psychologists “we have a kind of obligation to try and follow attempts to articulate the psychological wherever they lead us … way beyond the safe confines of the psychology department …” Psychology needs to be reflexive “to the extent that it recognises the need to study the scientific discipline as well as the subject matter (and the relations between the two)” (p.5)

7 Literacy … Unesco (2006) explorations: literacy as an autonomous set of skills (enabling access to knowledge and information); literacy as applied, practised and situated (and implications for the social and economic e.g. Lave & Wenger); literacy as a learning process (constructivism e.g. Dewey, Piaget, Knowles, Kolb; ‘critical pedagogy’ - Freire); literacy as text (discourse i.r.t. choice and power – Foucault; relevance to learners’ future lives)? ‘As definitions of literacy shifted – from a discrete set of technical skills, to human resource skills for economic growth, to capabilities for socio-cultural and political change – international organizations acknowledged broader understandings of literacy, which encompass ‘conscientization,’ literacy practices, lifelong learning, orality, and information and communication technology literacy’.

8 Citizenship … “The role of citizenship and civic responsibility in higher education is a highly contested yet crucial element of any considerations of the role of university in society” (Arthur & Bohlin, 2009, 2) How much is citizenship about conformity and compliance, rather than the rich tradition of activism and dissent, as in universities in the past the UK? What values / whose definitions are embedded in the term? Of what, in the UK – home country, GB, EU …? For some, citizenship implies the right to protest and hold governmental officers accountable when policies appear to conflict with ethics and democratic values

9 Applications to national and global contexts Local communities In relationships The Individual ‘Self’ Chronosystem (all the above systems change over time) Employment related Religious Recreational Local ‘citizen’ activities Cultural awareness and competence Take multiple perspectives Sense of ‘habitat’ Adapting Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model … Political and economic engagement From Cranney & Morris (2011) In J. Cranney and D. Dunn, ch18

10 Cranney et al: Psychological literacy and the ‘Pyramid of power’ Values & ethics Critical & Creative thinking Communication skills DISCIPLINE KNOWLEDGE & RESEARCH SKILLS APPLICATIONS Self / others Employment Professional psychology Local and global communities

11 For individual and group reflection … Where have you used your psychological literacy in your teaching?

12 Conceptual cautions (Sternberg, in Cranney & Dunn, 2011) Today’s literacy may be tomorrow’s illiteracy Risks of over-analysis Beyond ‘knowledge acquisition’ Not only critical thinking, but creative practical and wise thinking Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees

13 So, how do we better prepare students for the ‘real world’? Some resources to evaluate your curriculum content ology/EnhancingEmployability.pdf ology/EnhancingEmployability.pdf (scroll to pp38 onwards for audit tools for students and staff) Caprice Lantz’s work at ology/employability_guide.pdf ology/employability_guide.pdf And additional resources in …


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