Curriculum: A sequential approach
The most straightforward way to develop your course is to simply teach the units as the IB has laid them out in the guide. This usually follows most textbooks and guarantees that you cover all the required content.
Although this requires less conceptualization of the "big picture" at the start, you should still decide which option(s) you will teach before you begin to lay out your units. If you decide to teach abnormal psychology, for example, it would be good to try to make many of your examples in the core based on abnormal psychology.
By thinking about the course holistically before you begin planning out what to teach, you may be able to have a lot of overlap. This cuts down on the amount of content that a student would be required to know, while at the same time allowing for more in-depth examination of the learning objectives.
When thinking about the options, you may also want to consider whether you want to teach two rather than three sections of an option. This will give you more time to do project work in the core or explore areas of student interest and not feel the pressure to "get through" the curriculum. The following curriculum proposal does just that.
Sample sequential planner
|How do we study human behaviour?||An introduction to psychology and research methods. Primary focus on experiments||Five weeks: August – end of September|
|Sociocultural approach||Social identity, social learning, stereotyping and culture. Introduction to SAQ and ERQ assessment rubrics. Research methods (HL) - observations.||Ten weeks: October - November|
|Globalization and behaviour (HL)||Sociocultural HL extension: Effects of globalization on behaviour||Two weeks: December|
|Cognitive approach||Memory and decision making.||Ten weeks: January – March|
|Internal Assessment||Cognitive HL extension: the digital world - and Internal Assessment||Five weeks: April/May|
|Biological approach||Brain, hormones and genetics. Animal research included for the HL extension.||Six weeks: May - June|
|Abnormal psychology (HL)|
Diagnosis, the study of depression and treatments
SL: once a week for revision material.
|Twelve weeks: August - November|
|Qualitative research methods||HL only - a deeper study of qualitative methods.||Three weeks: December|
|Relationships (SL/HL)||Prosocial behaviour and personal relationships.||Twelve weeks: January - March|
|Revision||Three weeks: April|
Evaluation of a sequential approach
Coherence for students with regard to assessment
Helpful for teachers who need to follow a textbook in order to build confidence in teaching psychological content.
You could push the IA to the second year when the students have more developed skills.
Dropping some content from options allows for more project-based learning.
Potentially leads to more content than students really need.
Second-year SL have too much time off to maintain critical thinking and conceptual understandings
Pushing the IA to the second year when students are applying to universities makes the process more stressful. It also makes predicted grades more difficult if IA in November/December of year 2.