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Psychology in Sixth Form

Psychology in Sixth Form

In both of the Year 13 Psychology groups we had engaging discussions on the question of whether obesity should be classified as an illness, as the American Medical Association has suggested.

It is as much a psychological question as a medical one. Of course, engaging discussions happen all the time, but this one stood out as a mature consideration of a complex issue. It called upon students to weigh up conflicting consequences of their decision: categorising obesity as a disease could lessen an individual’s sense of responsibility for combatting it and so might exacerbate the serious health crisis of attendant conditions such as type 2 diabetes and, it turns out, Covid-19; but understanding obesity as a disease for which the sufferer is not to blame has also been shown to reduce mental health issues associated with that very sense of responsibility, such as guilt and diminished self-esteem. It also calls into question what we mean by a disease, or even a disorder, when it comes to psychological conditions.

Highlights of the year
  • As a great collaborative effort, our Year 12 psychologists ran an experiment into levels of cognitive processing with nearly 100 participants and achieved a spectacularly significant result.
  • Jennifer C. in Year 12 contributed a detailed and original entry to the Newnham College Psychology essay competition.
  • So far 26 students from Years 11-13 have stepped forward in response to Professor Blakemore’s request for participants in a Cambridge University study into the effects of being alone in adolescence.
Achievement and resilience

Remote learning over the past year has been a testament to our students’ resilience in the face of a challenging learning environment. When Year 13 students were tested on their learning during lockdown in the mock examinations they performed impressively in the sections they had studied online.
A mention also for the perseverance of last year’s Year 13. After the syllabus was complete, and assessment was done, while A Level students around the country were complaining about lost educational opportunities, every member of our Psychology classes was busy preparing a piece of work, presented to their class, on an off-syllabus topic that interested them: a wonderful example of St Mary’s girls making an effort for each other.

You can take away from school something much more valuable than your exam grades. If you learn to learn, and learn to enjoy learning, to question and think, to listen and share, you will be well set for life.

And finally, we of course said farewell to Karole Lewis who, until her retirement last year, was a popular and dynamic teacher in the Psychology department. We have been delighted to welcome Krystyna Jaworska-Wood to the St Mary's team this year.

Mr Quirk

Return to Magnolian 2021