Teaching Psychology in the United Kingdom: Adapted, Muddled And In Need Of Therapy!

McCarthy, Andrew
Canterbury College (an associate college of University of Kent) and
Canterbury Christ Church University College

This discussion paper will present a personal view of the current state of psychology teaching in the UK. The emphasis will be on how this subject has evolved into its current nebulous state. That is an undefined position somewhere between psychology’s desire to be an adult scientific discipline; set against the irresistible demand to retain its childlike fascination with observable common sense.

Educationally, psychology is a muddled and homeless discipline. The start of a new millennium is an ideal time to ‘put our house in order’. This paper will suggest a coherent and aggressively independent progression from introduction to psychology for 16 year olds, (which must reintroduce inclusivity to mature students) through to degree level and beyond.

To this end, the paper will explore the difference between the teaching of psychology to a ‘nominal’ 16 year old in comparison to a higher level student. The system in the UK as it now exists, demands a higher level of academic input for studying pre-university psychology compared to part-one degree level psychology. Entry to higher level study carefully disguises the ‘time bomb’ of statistical research methods and does not demand psychology-based prerequisites. The title of this paper speaks for itself!