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  1. #1
    Epiphany
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    Default Teaching Psychology In Primary School

    I think it would be beneficial for children to have an understanding of mental and emotional health, as well as coping strategies, during their formative years. The cruelties of school in childhood and adolescence will influence what kind of adults students grow up to be; and many kids are scarred for life with unhealthy thinking patterns and defense mechanisms that may lead to trouble in the professional world or possibly a life of violence. With the prevalence of bullying and school tragedies, it is clear that our youth are not receiving the emotional care they need. We teach kids the fundamentals of math, science and english, but leave them to fend for themselves when it comes to psychological development. Some of the most intellectually gifted students are lacking in emotional intelligence and struggling with mental health issues.
    Last edited by Epiphany; 01-11-2013 at 10:56 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Mental health is an idea. Psychology is often wrong and it doesn't always work. And emotional intelligence takes two to tango - blaming one for a lack thereof is to blame the other as well implicitly.

  3. #3
    Epiphany
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    Mental health is an idea. Psychology is often wrong and it doesn't always work.
    Psychology is the scientific study of mental functions and behaviors. Scientists may form inaccurate theories, at times, but that's true of science in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    And emotional intelligence takes two to tango - blaming one for a lack thereof is to blame the other as well implicitly.
    Can you elaborate on this?

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    i love skylights's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree. I think there should be a sort of "life coping" class taught in schools in general - stress management, holistic wellbeing, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and encouraging independence (ie financial management, etc). Of course elementary is early to start learning Freudian defense mechanisms or 401ks, but tailoring focus on wellbeing to students of any age could be incredibly beneficial.

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    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    There are two issues with the idea, though...

    First: Psychology, in the big picture, is a field of study still in its infancy and there are a lot of different schools of thought within it. Misdirection is all too easy...

    Second: Things like coping mechanisms and such are pretty individualized, so it could be unwise to teach all that from a very early age as applied to a broad picture of the Self. Could foster more stereotyping than understanding.
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

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    It's a good idea, but I have serious doubts about how well it could be executed. It all comes down to the quality of the curriculum and the instructors. Which can't really be regulated, so - in my opinion, the odds of widespread benefits aren't that high. I mean, really, the curriculum would have to be top-notch; and, psychology being a relatively easy thing to learn and teach at that level, the quality of elementary psych teachers would probably suck.

    I would be concerned that introducing psychology so early would lead kids to see it as something tedious and disconnected from the real world, as most do with any other subject they've been forced to study for years.

    Sorry for the pessimism, but I've been through D.A.R.E., bullying seminars, "character-building" classes, etc. and I'm positive that anything good I see in my peers is not a result of those programs. I realize that kids would be more receptive to something that could directly benefit them, but it's hard to imagine that they'd take it that seriously. Public awareness still has a long way to go - kids are conditioned to see mental/emotional health issues as a joke.

    I'd be more interested in introducing logic in primary school, as long as there were some sort of [fairly rigorous] proficiency test for prospective teachers to take. (I don't know anything about educational policy so I have no clue how that would work.) And, I don't know, maybe that's a totally unrealistic idea - I don't know where you'd start with kids of that age. In short, I know nothing. This is such a fascinating question, though.

  7. #7
    Epiphany
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    Insightful responses so far. Perhaps, primary school is a bit young, but I think jr high and high school students would benefit from psychology classes.

    I, myself, dealt with social anxiety that wasn't resolved for several years after I graduated and had to deal with it on my own. I had never even heard of the term 'social anxiety,' much less an explanation for why I felt the way I did. I think if I had been introduced to psychology at an earlier age, I could've gotten a jump start on dealing with the underlying issues that affected me professionally, as well as personally.

    Some students are dealing with psychological issues that are far more severe and present a threat to others, as well as themselves. Abusive tendencies in bullies and a need to demean or dominate others to compensate for personal insecurities could be addressed before they become a defining characteristic of someone's personality. With raging horomones introducing kids to their first sexual experiences and influencing how they view and relate to the opposite or same sex, it may help students to have at least an introductory knowledge of psychology, as they begin to form their identities.

    Sure, there may be some challenges in how to implement psychology into the curriculum, but I think the pro's would far outweigh the con's in the long run.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moniker View Post
    Some students are dealing with psychological issues that are far more severe and present a threat to others, as well as themselves. Nurtured violent tendencies in bullies and a need to demean or dominate others to compensate for personal insecurities could be addressed before they become a defining characteristic of someone's personality. With raging horomones introducing kids to their first sexual experiences and influencing how they view and relate to the opposite or same sex, it may help students to have at least an introductory knowledge of psychology, as they begin to form their identities.
    true. junior high would be a great place to start, actually.

    but how do you envision violent tendencies being addressed through a psychology course? I'm not well-versed in the psychology of violence at all, but I can't imagine that many bullies would read something about a "need to dominate others to compensate for personal insecurities" in a textbook and recognize themselves in that description, much less do something to change it.

    I'm not trying to argue a point, I just find this interesting.

  9. #9
    Epiphany
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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    true. junior high would be a great place to start, actually.

    but how do you envision violent tendencies being addressed through a psychology course? I'm not well-versed in the psychology of violence at all, but I can't imagine that many bullies would read something about a "need to dominate others to compensate for personal insecurities" in a textbook and recognize themselves in that description, much less do something to change it.

    I'm not trying to argue a point, I just find this interesting.
    Unfortunately, bullies get plenty of misinformation from society and the media that being dominant is a more desirable characteristic than being kind or fair. Kids pick up on these messages. I don't think it would be futile to counter that with information about the nature of bullying and the psychological reasons for it. That's not to say that every child would care or respond to it; plenty of kids fail to understand math and english, but we still teach it for their own benefit.

  10. #10
    Glycerine
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    Hmm I think promoting the subfield of positive psychology might be good.... it focuses on individual strengths and abilities and how those contribute to the community/society instead of necessarily pinpointing the athletes or smart kids.

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