Show cover of Psychology in the Classroom

Psychology in the Classroom

The show that takes psychological research and translates it for classroom teachers so they can effectively apply it to their teaching practice to help improve outcomes for their students. Interviews with leading psychologists and other experts in the field of education, as well as deep dives into educational theory and a little bit of neuromyth busting.


How Students understand teacher communications about exams
In this episode Dr Hannah Wilkinson talks about her doctoral research which focused on re-evaluating teachers’ use of test-taking practices from a psychological lens; unpicking how students appraised these types of communications and how it affects their engagement in the classroom. Essentially we will consider the messages that we, as teachers, give to students when we talk about exam preparation specifically and the different ways that students might interpret these communications and how, hopefully we can make them more impactful. We talk about threat and efficacy appeals.   Papers Hannah Mentioned: Wilkinson, H. (2024). Efficacy Appeals in the High-Stakes Classroom: Re-Examining Teachers' use of Test Preparation Strategies (Doctoral dissertation, Liverpool John Moores University):   Putwain, D. W., Symes, W., Nicholson, L. J., & Remedios, R. (2021). Teacher motivational messages used prior to examinations: What are they, how are they evaluated, and what are their educational outcomes?. In Advances in motivation science (Vol. 8, pp. 63-103). Elsevier:
36:00 3/27/24
Managing Exam Nerves
In this episode, and as we fast approach exams, we look at how to help student manage their nerves. There are lots of strategies that can be employed but learning to sit comfortably with the uncomfortable feeling of exam anxiety can be challenging. This episode looks at one way we can help our students to learn to bring their thoughts and feelings under control using a technique stolen from sports psychology, but equally effective for high pressure exam performance situations: visualisation. It allows students to practise their coping skills and to understand that they can manage any exam scenario however terrifying! For further tips of Exam anxiety strategies do also listen to these two podcasts:  
12:03 3/26/24
Nailing Exam Technique
This week we look at why exam technique matters - the more working memory students can free up to write good answers, rather than figuring out what they need to do and how long they have got left, the better. This episode covers 5 things that students should practice to help make an exam go smoothly:  Knowing the rubric Overall plan of attack Managing timing (including extra time) Breaking down the question Spotting traps If you want to know more about working memory and cognitive load there are a couple of good episodes you can listen to here: Working Memory: Cognitive Load:      
14:46 3/20/24
Why students get revision wrong
Despite all our efforts to teach students to revise using effective methods they often revert back to less effective methods such as copying and reading and rereading notes. Why is this, when we have told them that these techniques are less effective in the long term? This week's episode looks at 4 common reasons why students revision fails: Planning Fallacy Illusion of Fluency Misinterpreted-effort hypothesis Failure to reflect The link to the episode about Roediger and Karpicke's research is The references for Misinterpreted-effort hypothesis is: Afton Kirk-Johnson, Brian M. Galla, Scott H. Fraundorf, (2019) Perceiving effort as poor learning: The misinterpreted-effort hypothesis of how experienced effort and perceived learning relate to study strategy choice, Cognitive Psychology, Volume 115,    
11:54 3/6/24
How to make the most of retrieval practice
This week the episode will be based around retrieval practice - a concept most of you will be familiar with, and if you aren’t then do take a listen to this episode which delves into the research underpinning the concept. Many students when learning, make the error of being passive recipients of information, reading, listening, watching or copying. Whilst a few bits may stick, more information will stick if they actively reconstruct the information through some sort of recall activity.  Today we will cover 4 retrieval concepts you will know but thinking about the why.  My hope is that this episode will perhaps reframe some of these basic ideas so that students use them even more effectively. Just in case the link above doesn't work here it is in full to copy and paste:  
17:50 2/28/24
How to ensure exams help recall
You know that thing, you're listening to the radio and minding your own business and a song comes on the radio and memories flood back (possibly embarrassing teenage ones!). That song is a cue to unlocking your memory - all sorts of things can be cues - smells, images, letters, words. In an exam the main cues are going to be words - specifically those in the question. If we understand that cues help us remember and that they are important at the time of learning then we can ensure that when we learn information we learn it with specific cues at the forefront of our mind. This week we consider how to leverage the theory of 'cue dependent forgetting' during revision to help us recall more when we are in an exam. If you want to watch my very embarrassing 'Mind Palace' video here you go: As I mention too in the podcast I am really seeking listener feedback so please spare 2 minutes to complete this form: Finally you can find out more on this podcast:  
12:52 2/21/24
How to build long term learning
This week we move from the practialities of starting and planning revision to the learning itself.  The focus is on how we can help students to build learning so that it is retained in long term memory. Whilst there are lots of ways to approach this today's episode focused on 3 key concepts: Levels of processing, spacing and interleaving. I mentioned that there are several podcasts that delve into these concepts in more depth. Further information can be found here: Levels of processing: Interleaving: Finally please do fill in the podcast feedback form so I can make the content even better!    
13:47 2/14/24
How to make an effective study plan
I would argue that good planning is an art or at the very least a skill that needs to learned and perfected and yet we often cut our planning teeth on a revision timetable just before we do exams. How many student's plans turn out to be too vague, over ambitious or too rigid? This week's episode explores this skill and how we can best encourage students to become effective planners: understanding what they need to get done, what the time frame is in which they need to do it and how best they can plan to suit their own context.  If you want to watch the youtube video I made you can take a look here:
18:42 2/7/24
How to motivate students to engage in independent study
What is it that motivates students to study? A few lucky people may genuinely enjoy the process of memorising facts and preparing for exams, but this is probably rare. For most people studying requires effort and despite the high stakes, the reward of good exam results (or fear of bad ones) in the distant future is not enough of a motivation when there are far more exciting and immediately rewarding things to do instead. So this week we consider how we can motivate students to engage in independent study by bringing in short term, tangible rewards. If you want to learn more about planning the link I mention is here:
15:10 1/31/24
How to help students build effective study habits
In this second episode we explore why study habits may help students with independent study and how we as teachers can support students to build effective study habits. Behavioural change is really hard, as anyone who had already forgotten their new year's resolution, can attest to! There are a few key things that we can help students with if they want to build in independent learning to their schedule. We consider the role of homework in building habits, habit stacking, cueing habits and reducing friction. Finally we think about how we can help students embed behaviour change when it needs to happen outside of the classroom context. These behavioural change tips are equally applicable to other behaviours such as exercise, sleep and work, so worth a listen if you want to change your habits too!  The two books for further reading are Wendy Wood's Good Habits, Bad Habits and James Clear's Atomic Habits.
19:08 1/24/24
Why We Need To Teach Study Skills
Inherent in our educational system is the expectation that students will study independently to achieve at the higher levels.  Some students are lucky and hit on strategies that work, others flounder whilst motivated to do well they don’t know how to learn. As educators why leave the effectiveness of independent study largely up to chance when we have a whole host of excellent tools at our disposal, we need to share them with our students in a strategic and coherent way to give students the confidence to use these tools effectively in a wide range of different scenarios and ultimately to take control of their own educational success.  
16:00 1/17/24
Is there a link between wellbeing and academic attainment?
Welcome back to the new term of podcasts. We are starting off with an episode about wellbeing with Dr Ros McLellan from Cambridge University. We take a deep dive into exactly what wellbeing means and its impact on educational attainment. Rather than taking wellbeing as a homogenous concept this discussion considers the difference between eudaimonic and hedonic wellbeing and how they have differing impacts on educational outcomes. You can find the original paper here: Tania Clarke, Ros McLellan & Gordon Harold (2023) Beyond Life Satisfaction: Wellbeing Correlates of Adolescents’ Academic Attainment, School Psychology Review: Companion Paper: Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory posits that an individual’s development is influenced by a series of interconnected environmental systems, ranging from the immediate surroundings (e.g., family) to broad societal structures (e.g., culture).
38:30 1/10/24
Real or Fake: How much do you know about autism?
In this second 'takeover' Niamh and Summer, from Bootham School, ask you to think about autism and some common misconceptions - which peice of research is real and which is fake. Test your understanding in this fun podcast.
04:55 1/1/24
An introduction to psychological perspectives
It's Christmas Takeover time and today's episode is hosted by Oliver Sherratt, a year 12 student at Abingdon school studying A level psychology. He delves into the intricate and fascinating world of psychology approaches. These six approaches will lay a base for your understanding of what we know psychology to be as well as igniting a flame within you which will spur you onwards to learn more about the great subject. Today's episode will be a brief and concise whistle stop tour and thus I encourage listeners to read more in depth after listening to fully cement their understanding. Come along for the journey! A great taster for those thinking of choosing psychology A level.
05:05 12/28/23
We are Born to Sing: the benefits of singing with Natasha Hendry and Yoon Irons
There are many things that make this time of year special, one of which is music - whether that is carols or corny Christmas songs, they can prompt memories and get us together to sing as a community in ways that we simply don’t at any other time of year. But there is strong evidence to suggest that singing has physiological, psychological and social benefits and we should not just relegate community singing to Christmas.  Today I am speaking to two psychologists who believe that schools can and should be a place where singing is embraced everyday - Dr Yoon Irons and Natasha Hendry.   Links from this week’s episode: Sing Up: You are the Music by Victoria Williamson Why we sing by Julia Hollander Singing by Yoon Irons and Grenville Hancox Links to Natasha’s research can be found here: Hendry, Natasha (2023), ‘Fitting in and sticking out: An exploratory study of the Whiteness of the school music curriculum and its effects on Global Majority musicians’, Journal of Popular Music Education, 7:1, pp. 25–45, Hendry, N., Lynam, D. S., & Lafarge, C. (2022). Singing for wellbeing: formulating a model for community group singing interventions. Qualitative Health Research, 32(8-9), 1399-1414.  
39:44 12/20/23
RE-STAR: The impact of school on the brain and emotion
We know that many neurodivergent young people such as those with ADHD or autism traits develop depression during adolescence – but we currently don’t know which individuals are at risk, what underlying processes increase that risk or, perhaps most importantly, the best way to intervene to increase resilience to reduce that risk.  RE-STAR aims to address this by exploring the interplay between autism and/or ADHD traits, exposure to environmental stressors, and emotional responding in neurodivergent young people (NYP), in driving developmental pathways to depression. My Guests this week are Dr. Steve lukito, Eloise Funnell and Tiegan Boyens from the Re-Star team who are heading up work package 2: My Brain, Emotions and me or BE ME.  If you would like to find out more about RE-STAR in general here is the website: The BE ME Website is: Maciej's Blog:  
38:55 12/13/23
Popcorn & Psychology: using films to aid learning with Sheila Thomas
As we come to the end of a very long term a few of you might well be considering which lessons you might be able to put on a film.  So to ensure that this is a justifiable educational tool Dr Sheila Thomas talks about her use of film in the classroom: how to make it a really valuable experience for the students and get them thinking more deeply and in a cross curricular way about films.   To get Sheila’s website and get hold of the list of films and how to use them you can follow this link: The previous podcast I did on videos and learning is here: The AI question generator for Youtube videos is Quizizz.  
35:30 12/6/23
Do smart drugs help you learn? with Dr Elizabeth Bowman
'Smart' or 'Study' drugs are usually prescribed for people with ADHD to help them concentrate. However many people without ADHD take them, in theory, to focus on studying - e.g. writing an essay or revising for an exam.  The estimates of how many people have taken them vary between about 16-20%, and the use of these drugs is on the rise.  So the question is do these drugs actually help complex cognitive processes that are required for study?  Recent research done by Elizaeth Bowman and her colleagues aimed to find out and in this episode Elizabeth joins me to talk about their research and most importantly their findings. You can read the orginal paper in Science Advances here: You can read a summary (or share it with your students) here: You can find out more about the Centre here:
29:55 11/29/23
Applying Psychology to Teaching with Sophia Afsar
Here is the next installment of the ‘Talking to psychology teachers series’ with guest teacher Sophia Afsar. We are going to be talking about how to create the perfect multiple choice question (with and without the help of ChatGPT), the importance of student-teacher relationships and how using concrete examples that students can relate to helps them understand more abstract concepts.  The links to the episodes mentioned are: Dual Coding: Interleaving: Student-Teacher Relationships with Dr Ben Looker: Metacognition: Desirable difficulties:    
21:25 11/22/23
The Six Step Bitesize Learning Cycle with Joshi Jariwala
“Be the best you can be, now.” This is the overriding message to self and others which aligns to my personal values and fuels my being! Joshi Jariwala During, the Covid era, there was a will to be kind to students who were overwhelmed with endless unpredictable lists to survive, completely unrelated to study. Though committed, they could not jump start their drive to learn. Joshi Jariwala shares with you her journey of turning that kindness into a practical tool to softly help her students unfreeze their state of mind and guide them towards their study in bitesize chunks. The journey culminated into a six-step bite size learning cycle to help form new habits in a simple and easy to follow manner. The basis of the model resides in positive psychology, neuroscience, and mindfulness, which are her interests particularly the latter which she enjoys and in which she has completed the eight-week course. Although honestly, the model was borne through reflection, practise, and an urge to help! With nearly 30 years in the fields of youth and community work, accountancy, human resource management, and teaching initially on a sessional basis and on a full-time basis for the last six years, she is happy learning and contributing to make a difference where she can!  To get in touch with Joshi email: 
35:05 11/15/23
How Psychology can support classroom practice with Paramjeet Moon
This episode is the 4th in the ‘Talking to Psychology Teachers’ Series and Paramjeet Moon, psychology teacher with 24 years experience, talks about her love of psychology and the myriad of ways in which it has influenced her teaching practice, from cognitive psychology, working memory, interleaving, relationships, the teenage brain, seating arrangements and much more this conversation is full of great tips for any teacher wishing to tweak their practice to make it just a little better.   If you want to watch the ‘Kevin becomes a teenager’ it is here: And an example of a PLC can be found on this link if you go to the show notes via the podcast page of my website (if you are listening via an app such as Spotify or Amazon):      
30:36 11/8/23
Mindset: Educational fact or fiction with Brooke Macnamara
In this episode Dr Brooke Macnamara shares details of her research about mindset.  Her research is a fascinating insight into the interventions around mindsets including growth mindset - a concept which I am sure you are familiar.  If you, like me, have read Carol Dweck’s work it is compelling, but can we really change mindset?  The concept itself is quite vague and is a belief or set of beliefs that then impact behaviour.  The challenge for research is to show that we can firstly change the belief (and only the belief) and this will ultimately result in improved academic ourcomes.  The interventions though rarely just focus on the beliefs as we shall hear. You can find the Twitter/X thread here or search @BrookeMacnamara on X to find the thread which is pinned to her profile. The paper we are discussing can be read via open source here:
43:12 11/1/23
A Knowledge of Madness with Evie Bentley
This week Evie Bentley talks about how her knowledge of psychology helped her understand and manage what could have been a very frightening experience.  As teachers we are often asked ‘what is the point of learning this’ whatever this might be.  But you never know when knowledge may come in handy and sometimes it is at the moments you least expect, something Evie discovered in the early hours of the morning.
26:47 10/24/23
Does Wearing Make-up Make You Smarter? with Alessia Evans
Alessia Evans developed a love of makeup from a young age and started working in the cosmetics industry at 19 where she climbed the ranks as a makeup artist, trainer and manager for L'Oreal. Fast forward 10+ years, and Alessia has bowed out of the beauty industry to study Psychology, undertaking a dissertation investigating whether applying makeup makes us smarter... what she discovered was remarkable! Since being awarded the British Psychological Prize for Best Dissertation 2020, Alessia has gone on to write for a magazine on the psychology of beauty and currently lectures at the University of South Wales where she also recently completed her Masters in Psychology Research.  This week she joins Psychology in the Classroom to talk about the impact that make up can have on social interaction, mental health and cognitive function.  We discuss schools’ general aversion to make-up and ask the question ‘Is this rule appropriate?’ The answer may not be what you expect, whatever you think about make-up, Alessia provides some really fascinating insights into the reasons why we wear make-up and why we should perhaps open up the conversation around make-up in schools. You can get in touch with Alessia Here: You can find details of Nancy Etcoff’s book here - Survival of the Prettiest, or just search her name online.
39:12 10/17/23
Motivation through expectancy and Value with Ed King
This week is the third in the ‘talking to psychology teachers’ series and Ed King shares some insights into expectancy-value theory and how it drives motivation as well as some practical tips on how to work on both expectancy and value to increase student (and our own) motivation in the classroom. Student’s Achievement can be determined by two factors: Expectancy & value - These two interact to predict outcomes such as engagement, continuing interest, and academic achievement.  For more information this is the link: To find out about the diary project:
26:43 10/10/23
Study Smart with Felicitas Biwer
This week Felicitas Biwer talks about how students can study smarter with better self-regulation, effort regulation, planning and reflection.  Packed with top tips on independent learning this is the episode I want all my students to listen too, but can also help teachers understand how and why we need to teach these skills to our students.  If you would like to listen to the original podcast about Felicitas's research the link is here. If you would like to find out more about the study smart programme this is the website:
37:44 10/3/23
Supporting EAL Students with Lyndsey Hayes
This week Lyndsey Hayes talks about how she has learned to support learners who don't have English as their first language, the challenges this poses and some really practical tips to help them learn.  This is the second podcast introducing psychology teachers talking about how psychology has influenced their practice. Below are the links to some useful resources that Lyndsey mentions: International House, London: Some Ideas on encorporating CLIL into your lesson: Link to the ATP Article
30:44 9/26/23
Re-STAR: Understanding the Impact of School on the Emotions of Neurodiverse Pupils
...with Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou and Dr Myrto Kakoulidou. How do neurodiverse individuals experience emotions?  Is it different to neurotypical people?  If not then should schools be relying on interventions based on neurotypical (adult) experiences?  The team at RE-STAR (Regulating Emotions - Strengthening Adolescent Resilience) are part way through a huge 4 year project to understand emotional experiences of young neurodiverse people with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyper activity disorder or ADHD   In this episode Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou and Dr Myrto Kakoulidou talk about their work on understanding emotional experiences of young people with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD and how schools (in particular) could better understand and support these young people with their emotions and we get a sneak peek at some of the results! To find out more follow the link: The link for families to find out more about the My Emotions and Me-part 2 study and take part: The link for teachers/schools to register an interest and get involved in the RE-STAR programme more generally: Microsoft form
80:21 9/19/23
Creating a Sense of Belonging in the Classroom with Dani Bryton
This week sees the first of the ‘talking to psychology teachers’ series, Dani Bryton discusses how the psychology of motivation has influenced her to think carefully about the social dynamics in the classroom: from seating plans to making a cuppa for your colleague, managing the relationships and building a sense of belonging in your classroom can have a clear and visible impact on academic outcomes.
27:08 9/12/23
How to thrive in teaching with Gemma Drinkall
As we start a new academic year how can we ensure that we manage our own wellbeing? This week my guest, Gemma Drinkall, a qualified coach, trainer and supervisor shares her top tips on setting boundaries, managing expectations and learning how to look after your own wellbeing, after all you can’t pour from an empty cup.     If you would like to learn more about Gemma’s work you can find it on these links: Website: Facebook group: Twitter: @Gemma_Drinkall  
39:30 9/5/23

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