This semester I’m teaching a Human Behavior Elective for the first time.  The content is interesting to me and I love planning new curricula (seriously, I really do!) so I am excited about this opportunity.  With that said, because I haven’t taught it before, there is a lot of room for movement in planning.  My overall goals with the class are to provide students a basic introductory psychology content base, have them look at psychology through a science lens, and incorporate as many interesting activities as possible to help build student skills in research, the scientific method, and using evidence.  See my curriculum map here.

In the core science classes I’ve taught, authenticity to the discipline comes fairly naturally, because students are actually “doing science” by repeating the scientific method as any scientist would do.  As a department, though, we struggle with helping students make a contribution to the world in an authentic way.  ESA science students aren’t really discovering any new information in the world of science, so our focus this semester is more about how the product of our students’ work will contribute to some community.

When I originally started brainstorming for the Human Behavior class, I spoke to Jenny McCue, ESA’s social worker and all-around amazing lady, about any ideas she had for a unit on mental health.  We came up with the idea that my students could teach advisory lessons about mental health with the intent to de-stigmatize mental illness in the school community.  I thought the idea was incredible, but still hadn’t formulated exactly how it would look in my head when we started this department work on authenticity.  I think this idea lends itself perfectly to the goal of authentic audience.

So the question I’m looking at is How might we use the product of a unit on mental health to make contributions within the ESA community?

I think a great place to implement this would be in our advisory curriculum, with Human Behavior students presenting in either their own advisory or others.  What I’m still questioning is what will that product be?  I’ve considered having them create a lesson plan, but I’m not anywhere near the planning phase, so am open to any ideas!