Psychology as a required class

In school, students are required to learn a variety of subjects. Everything from graphing hyperbolas to recognizing anaphora in a classic novel is considered “necessary.” By the time students graduate, they have acquired and then forgotten very specialized skills for very specialized professions.

Yet while the American education system goes above and beyond in teaching certain subjects, it lacks concentration in important general skills. One example is psychology.

At WHS, psychology is an elective course. The fact that it is an option for students is a step in the right direction, but with language, art and PE requirements, students must go out of their way to take the class. Out of all the classes offered in high school, psychology is one of the most widely applicable for all students yet it is not a required course.

Whether one is a waiter or a lawyer, he or she will need to deal with other people. A psychology course can help students better understand and improve relationships in their own lives.

The College Board states that an average AP Psychology course is about eight to ten percent social psychology, five to seven percent personality, and six to eight percent motivation.

In learning social psychology and motivation, students can better understand their peers. Studying the psychology behind personalities also aids in understanding certain behaviors. The first step to address a problem is to understand it. Therefore, students taking psychology might be less likely to be bothered by a friend’s behavior; they may even be able to properly address it without causing an argument.

In addition, taking psychology helps students realize more about themselves. A typical psychology course covers topics such as memory, learning and motivation. Students will understand how these topics impact the way people act in day to day life. By learning how memory can be improved, students can improve their own memory. This will benefit students in other classes that they take. The same applies to the learning and motivation psychology that is covered in the class.

Even the biological aspect of psychology is helpful in everyday life.

“Other increasingly chronic health conditions such as adult-onset diabetes, obesity, and arthritis can be addressed through these strategies, both for prevention and treatment,” wrote Ph.D. certified college professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne in an article for Psychology Today.  Stress reduction is an important tool that can be used for a wide variety of diseases, even as adjunct therapy for cancer.”

Students can use information like this to improve their mental and physical health. Diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer are common in today’s society, and having a required class that covers these topics would be highly beneficial.

Finally, a psychology class hones skills that are helpful for several jobs. While psychology can be used in human resources and customer service, it can also be applied to mathematical and scientific professions.

According to the University of Essex, a psychology class helps students become adept at communication, critical thinking, research and problem solving.

Students gain communication skills similar to what any scientist would employ to share work with peers; therefore, it is transferable to most fields of science.

Researching and interpreting research is a key aspect of psychology. In taking this course, students are prepared to properly conduct research. They learn how to collect and interpret data, come to reasonable conclusions and communicate their results. This knowledge can aid in many professions. It can also help students recognize rake studies presented in the news.

Many required classes in high school are geared towards applying to a specific profession. While it is important to expose students to a variety of career options, psychology is a class that everyone benefits from regardless of the profession they pursue. For that reason, psychology should be a required class.

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