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Learning Communities Post-propaedeutic phase Psychology

Contact person

dr. J.A.M. Heesink. j.a.m.heesink@rug.nl

Summary

The post-propaedeutic programme comprises a second year composed of compulsory course units only, similar to the propaedeutic phase, and a third year that is mainly made up of electives. The choices to be made in the third year are not easy, but they are decisive for the students’ future study and career options. It is therefore of crucial importance that by the end of the second year students have gained sufficient understanding of the relevant academic fields and the course units/Minors/Majors and Master’s degree programmes that prepare them for these fields.

A few years ago a Learning Community was introduced, which promotes a stimulating, joint study attitude in a way that the students rate highly. Students find the second year much less attractive/motivating due to the many compulsory subject-specific and research-oriented course units. A similar Learning Community, focusing on linking subject-specific/theoretical course units to professional fields, practical questions, and the application of professional and academic skills already acquired, will undoubtedly be perceived as motivating and stimulating.

Best Practices

At the beginning of the 2nd year, learning communities (year groups) have been formed in the Bachelor of Psychology. Together with their year group, consisting of 12 students in total, students have taken part in the courses 'Communication & Diagnostic Skills' and 'Academic Fields'.

The learning communities can be considered a success for a variety of reasons:

  • Firstly, they provide the second-year students with a safe environment for practicing skills, such as conducting a career interview. Our students have indicated that they have felt more free to experiment and to be more critical towards one another as well.
  • In addition, the organization of the second-year students into year groups, supports the cohesion between subjects in the second year. For instance, assignments for the academic fields course, have been linked with compulsory orientation courses and lectures by speakers from the field of psychology.
  • The year groups also provide a framework within which students can put their learned skills into practice. At the end of the year, students have for example advised one another regarding career plans and associated choices for subjects, Minors, Master programs and career fields.
  • Finally, the year groups provide a multiple level learning lab in which senior students too, can practice their skills, and actively pass on their knowledge. Indeed, our year groups have been led by carefully trained third-year student trainers. In turn, the student trainers themselves have been coached by Master students who are training to become coaches. Of course, this whole process is overseen by our enthusiastic and experienced staff.

All in all, our students as well as our teaching staff, are very positive about the learning communities. The year groups break down the anonymity of our large course program, and help to create a network for mutual support and inspiration.

Last modified:16 March 2017 1.10 p.m.
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