Understanding and learning basic psychological principles as early as high school can have major benefits on the social and emotional development of students, and help them prepare for the real world. Not only do students learn core life skills, but they begin to understand the complex nature and evolution of human behavior. Incorporating psychology into high school curriculum also helps students develop scientific skills like how to conduct and analyze research.
Connections Academy® offers psychology classes online for high school students as part of its virtual public-school curriculum. Foundational psychology courses provide students with new knowledge of the academic discipline and help deepen their understanding of not only their behavior, but others as well.
Why High School Psychology Curriculum Matters
Famous psychologist Carl Rogers said, “When I look at the world, I’m pessimistic, but when I look at people, I am optimistic.”
Rogers’ thought illustrates that while people’s choices or behaviors may not always be optimal, understanding how people’s minds work and what motivates them reveals the human potential for positive change. Psychology can show us how to make these changes.
Here are the top five reasons why psychology curriculum matters and how it can benefit students:
- It helps us understand how our brains work.
When we have a thorough understanding of how our brains work, we can learn how to implement strategies that help us become more effective at work, at school, and in our relationships.
- It helps us understand human behaviors.
There are some surprising facts about how our brains work. Did you know it’s impossible for our brains to multitask? Or that naps can improve our overall performance?
People may seem to act without cause at times, but psychology can help us better grasp why people do the things they do. By studying the brain, we can learn about what motivates people and what drives their behaviors.
For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological concept that illustrates human needs and what must be achieved before we can become the best version of ourselves.
- It’s relevant to all aspects of life.
Psychology has several subdisciplines that study different areas of life, including organizational psychology, behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, sports psychology, and school psychology.
As long as people are concerned, everything from staying motivated to achieve an academic goal to repairing a broken friendship involves psychology. The more we know about psychology, the more capable we are of better understanding the world around us.
- It increases our understanding of mental health.
When we have a thorough understanding of what can cause poor mental health, we are better able to understand others and ourselves while cultivating more empathy. By studying behavioral and cognitive psychology, you can find the answers to important questions, such as: What causes mental illness? How can we make mental illness more manageable? And how can we support others who have a mental illness?
- It helps us understand human development.
Understanding development allows us to see how a person’s past experiences influence their present and future. For example, if we learn about milestones in developmental psychology, we can know what new activities or behaviors to expect from our little brother, sister, or cousin as they turn a year older. We can also learn how to help them during different stages of their development.
You could say that learning psychology has the potential to change the world.
Psychology Memory Corner: Learning with Connections Academy
The high school psychology curriculum at Connections Academy covers a variety of psychology-related topics just like these. To provide a lesson preview, let’s look at our brain and its memory centers.
Your brain’s memory system includes iconic memory and echoic memory. Iconic memory helps you remember what you see throughout the day, like the graphs in your school lessons or the yellow sweater your friend wore yesterday. Echoic memory helps you remember things you hear throughout the day, such as the lyrics to your favorite song or the reminder from your parents about an upcoming trip.
Time also plays a role in our memories. Long-term memory allows us to remember something for the rest of our lives, while short-term memory allows us to retain information for only a brief period. For information to stay with us long-term, there are a number of memory techniques we can use, including reading out loud, using mnemonic devices, and getting adequate sleep.
Knowing this information about memory, how do you think it plays a role in your daily life? How might you use this information to help you learn and remember?
Connections Academy High School Psychology Curriculum
Designed by experts in online learning, Connections Academy high school psychology curriculum inspires curiosity and helps students become resilient learners, capable of thriving in a changing world.
Check out our K-12 Curriculum page to learn more about Connections Academy and our online public-school curriculum.