Nicola Heath, Psychology Subject Advisor
As the new academic year approaches, I wanted to share with you some key ideas and documents that will help with your planning, whether you are a new OCR teacher or have been with us for many years.
Before diving into lesson planning or reviewing, it is important to familiarise yourself with the H567 specification.
If you already teach with OCR, it can be useful to refresh yourself with the content of the course and make sure that all aspects are covered in your current curriculum. If you are a new teacher, it’s important to look carefully at what students need to know (as well as what they don’t!) when creating your curriculum plan. We have some excellent examples of schemes of work you can use as a starting point for your planning.
The latest exam materials are a great way to get insight into the experience students will have of sitting psychology exams. The exam papers, mark schemes and examiner reports are all on Teach Cambridge, under the Assessment then Exams tab. These documents will provide further examples of questions to use with your students as well as an overview of the strengths, weaknesses and common misconceptions from this year’s students.
The examiner reports are thorough and provide feedback on each question on the exam. The call out points in the examiner reports will highlight some key areas to focus your attention on with your own students. The example answers in the examiner reports can also aid your own and students understanding of how to respond to the demands of the question posed. Take a look at my previous blog about how you can use examiner reports with your students.
Have your students taken their exams with us this year? Active Results is a really useful tool to analyse their performance. You can compare performance overall across papers as well as per question and even compare to the national average. Use these tools to highlight where your students did particularly well and where you might want to add some support for next year.
We have over 200 free resources on Teach Cambridge that you can use for your planning or with your students in the classroom. You can find them under the Activities and Teaching and Delivery Guides tabs.
The most useful resources are the teacher guides for core studies and key research which outline the psychological studies that students need to know for units 2 and 3. We also have a delivery guide for each aspect of the course, and they contain a large range of teaching ideas to use in your lessons.
Some additional resources worth using when planning your curriculum are listed below. However, it is worth spending some time browsing Teach Cambridge and ‘favouriting’ any potentially useful documents to use later on. These free learning resources will save you lots of time and effort as you create or update your lessons.
Another resource that will save you time is ExamBuilder, our free tool that you can use to create bespoke assessments and mock exams from past paper questions. There are a wide range of filters to get to specific topics and types of question you want to use with your students.
We regularly publish blogs aimed at teachers. Some are specific to psychology and others are related to general teaching and learning. I will often mention these on Twitter and in our newsletters, but do look at the previous ones and see what catches your interest. For example the recent ones on flipped learning and spaced review may give you some ideas for planning the year ahead.
We run a range of events to support you with your planning and teaching, including Exam Review, Exploring the Exam, Starting to Teach and Q&A events. Many of these are free.
If you are interested in meeting other teachers and sharing ideas, why not join one of our online network events later this term?
Our teachers tell us that one of the best forms of professional development is to become an examiner as you get a real in-depth look at how exams are marked and plenty of practice too!
Do you want to brush up on your maths skills and get some interactive teaching ideas for statistics? AMSP are offering a free Maths for Teachers of Psychology course that starts on 3 October.
Keep your eyes peeled on the BPS website as they will be running a series of free webinars aimed at psychology teachers throughout this academic year. I will also share the details when they are published.
Tutor2U offer a range of free and paid for resources for psychology in general as well as OCR specific content.
If you are looking for a way to provide reading material and track engagement and understanding, Seneca is worth checking out.
Do you want to add more video clips to your lessons and homework tasks? MASSOLIT have a dedicated video library that is collated under useful subheadings so you can easily find what you are looking for.
Looking for up to date psychology research to add enrichment to topics and provide real world context? Sign up to the BPS Research Digest to get regular emails with clear summaries of newly published research.
The Mind Changers podcast series has some excellent talks about studies and topics related to OCR Psychology. StartStudying (formerly MindVark) have podcasts on YouTube about core studies. You could play clips or set an episode as homework; maybe even suggest your students listen to them whilst taking a walk and getting some fresh air.
There’s a wide range of people on Twitter, posting daily articles, tips and ideas that might just give you that inspirational boost to support you and your students. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
If you are starting to teach OCR A Level Psychology for the first time, or have questions about content, assessment or resources, you can contact me on email@example.com. As a subject advisor, my role is to help and support you to deliver our psychology qualifications.
Do you have any other resources that you have found useful when planning? Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @ocr_psychology. You can also sign up to subject updates to keep up-to-date with the latest news, updates and resources.
Nicola joined OCR in 2022 as the Subject Advisor for Psychology. Prior to joining OCR, she taught Psychology for over 10 years and had various other responsibilities in that time including being Head of Year. SENDCo and Subject Leader for PSHE. Nicola has a personal interest in mental health and wellbeing and enjoys reading, baking and spending time outdoors to relax.