We continue our series of winter postcards from Psychology and Counselling modules. Becky Nash, an Associate Lecturer, writes about what’s happening on DD210 Living Psychology.
Hello, I’m Becky Nash and I’ve been an Associate Lecturer with the OU since 2010. I was keen to get back to work after a maternity break as I kept annoying everyone around me talking about Psychology and thought it best to put this chatter to good use with people who actually wanted to listen! I now teach on DE100, DD210 and DE200. DD210, Living Psychology: From The everyday to the extraordinary, is however my favourite module to teach!
What’s happening at the moment on DD210?
DD210 is a level 2 module and can be selected by students on Psychology degree pathways or other degrees pathways that cross over with Psychology, such as Criminology, Law or Social Science. As such DD210 is designed to be approachable regardless of whether you have previous experience of psychology or not. It has a broad range of relatable topics that help us explore and understand the world around us.
So far we have looked at Understanding Minds, in Block One, which explores our ability to mindread, a skill we often take for granted. Students enjoyed exploring how we define and assess this skill and seeing how it develops through childhood. Students are now just completing their second block and throwing all their energies into their next TMA, which is an essay comparing and contrasting approaches to self-esteem. We look at how we measure self-esteem and examples of self-help guides that seek to improving self-esteem. More importantly, we critically assess these guides and consider whether they do more harm than good.
What are the students enjoying about this module?
I have taught DD210 since it started in 2015 and find students really enjoy the relatability of this module – all topics are directly relevant to our daily lives. We take a critical look at many day-to-day topics such as conspiracy theories, homeopathy and psychics, and explore our beliefs about these and how they compare to the surrounding research evidence. Later on in the module students can look forward to training as a Ghostbuster!
Students enjoy our tutorials and day schools where they can share their ideas on topics. I love hearing students’ opinions about what they have learnt and talking through the more technical or difficult aspects of the materials. We have lively discussions and it is always great to hear when students have applied module materials in their lives, such as diffusing an escalating argument or helping a friend through a traumatic experience.
What do you yourself find interesting about it?
My background is in Evolutionary Psychology and so I really enjoy how DD210 weaves evolutionary concepts within its topics. We learn that our brain evolved in a particular environment and that it is still in tune with outdoor living, so make sure you remember to water those pot plants in your homes and offices, they are looking after your you too!
We also explore our beautiful brains and find out that we have areas that are highly skilled at helping us deal with the world around us. However, these skills are fallible and prone to error. We see things that are not there and are really not as good at predicting things as we may think!
What message would you send to current and future students?
I would like to reassure all students taking the module, that though they may feel there is lots of work involved with the assignments, they are learning a whole host of new and useful skills. DD210 takes you beyond essay writing and into the arts of reflective practice, non-experimental report writing and critical evaluation, which will all serve you well in your work lives. More crucially you will learn a lot about yourself and others.
DD210 will help you navigate the wide world, it will ask you to reflect on what you know, show you where you make mistakes, and help you assess the vast amount of information thrown at you on a daily basis. Fake news beware, we are on to you!