Witnessing Psychology in Practice: BSc Educational Psychology placement experience
Did you have any expectations or worries before attending placement?
Aisha: Before going on placement, I was nervous about how to do the observations and about meeting the school employees. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the tasks or if the school would give me sufficient time for the interview that was required as part of the assignment. I was also concerned about being around so many children and how they would react to my presence in their class.
Matilda: As a naturally shy and quiet person I was extremely worried about attending the placement, as I wasn’t sure I would be capable of working well in an unfamiliar environment. In the weeks before the placement, the uncertainty of how the school day would go added to my worries. However, as the start date got closer, I started to become more excited from talking to my friends in the course as we put each other’s worries at ease.
Did your experience differ from what you expected? What was the most surprising thing about your placement, did anything stand out?
Aisha: My worries and anxiety were put to rest on my first day of placement. The teachers and school staff were all pleasant and accommodating, and the students were delighted to have me in their class. I was shocked at how much easier the process of observations was than it had been described to us. I expected the four-week placement to be a long time, but the weeks sped by, and the placement ended far too quickly.
Matilda: Before starting my placement, I expected that my placement school would want me to help out a lot and act more as a teacher’s assistant than an observer. However, this was not the case. During my placement I was put with a different class each week, and I had a different experience with each teacher. But generally, I was able to get my observations done from afar, and still had opportunities to help with lessons. One of the most surprising things I found was how different the placement school seemed in comparison to my expectations based on my experiences from my own primary school.
Do you think you gained anything from the experience? How do you think the experience related to your course and/or your own aims?
Aisha: I gained a wealth of knowledge during placement and witnessed the psychology in practice. When going into school before placement I never realised how much psychology is applied into the production and management of a school. The perspectives in practice give all the literature a place in the physical world that I one day hope to work in. I was also able to establish a positive connection with the school as well as a permanent place to volunteer and, ideally, get a paid employment once graduated which was surprisingly offered by the school. The placement was undeniably beneficial, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate.
Matilda: My experience definitely helped me to become more confident with my psychological knowledge. While observing the lessons I tried to relate every behaviour back to a psychological theory that we had learnt in lectures. Seeing psychology in real-life contexts adds more meaning and depth to the topics learnt in lessons, which is interesting to see as a student. In addition, this experience has helped me push my confidence and proved to myself that I am capable of going outside of my comfort zone.