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Using COVID-19 in the classroom: How teaching can benefit from the global pandemic

Two Loughborough psychologists have put together a plan for how secondary school teachers can use the COVID-19 pandemic to help explain psychological concepts.

In a pre-recorded webinar, Dr Chris McLeod and Dr Emma Haycraft run through some of the core concepts of psychology, such as conformity, social influence, mental health and behaviourism.

For each topic, they use examples from the COVID-19 pandemic to illustrate the real-world impact of psychology.

In one case, the webinar looks at how disobedient government officials can undermine initiatives to change public behaviour by creating an ‘us versus them’ mentality.

In another, the webinar explains how teachers can discuss the psychological differences in interpersonal relationships when using face-to-face vs digital interaction, e.g. Zoom and Skype.

Dr Haycraft said: “Using COVID-19 to teach psychology enables teachers to use a relatable, real-world example – one that everyone is familiar with – to illustrate and explain about core concepts in psychology.

“It provides a unique opportunity to update the examples used in teaching and to replace them with more current, topical illustrations to help bring the subject to life in the classroom.

Dr McLeod added: “This is a fresh new way to support the teaching of psychology to improve students’ psychological literacy and increase their engagement with more abstract concepts.

"Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented various difficulties in relation to teaching, using COVID-19 as a lens to teach these concepts is one benefit that can be taken from the past year.”

The webinar is part of a series by the Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) and Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), released this month, which focusses on different school subjects.

It is available to all schools in England which are PTI members and to any schools worldwide outside England registered with Cambridge Assessment International Education and/or with Cambridge University Press.

Around 10,000 to 20,000 schools will be notified about the webinar series which they can watch or download.

PTI members can access the webinars at: www.ptieducation.org/webinars

ENDS

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/04

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

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