Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Thematic Approaches for Teaching Introductory Psychology, 1st Edition

  • Dana S. Dunn
  • Bridgette Martin Hard
  • ISBN-10: 1305886631
  • ISBN-13: 9781305886636
  • 288 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

Introduction to psychology is an important course in the psychology curriculum because it serves as a gateway to the major and, for most undergraduates, is the only psychology course they will ever take. This edited, up-to-date guide presents insights that help educators address challenges of coverage, integration of active learning opportunities, and ever-evolving educational technologies. The book features current scholarship and pedagogical practices regarding the teaching of introductory psychology in face-to-face, online, or hybrid environments. The editors achieve their goals through an unusual approach: inviting experienced and expert teachers of introductory psychology to describe an ongoing theme that provides structure and unity to the gateway course. Themes include broad frameworks (e.g., problem-based learning), "big ideas" that integrate course content (e.g., subjectivity of human experience), or particular skills and ways of thinking (e.g., quantitative reasoning).


  • The book includes an overview chapter, written by distinguished author and teacher Dana S. Dunn, on the primacy and critical importance of the introductory course.

  • Fourteen chapters examine different themes relevant to the teaching of introductory psychology. The chapters illustrate the value of emphasizing one or more key themes throughout the course as a way to unify theoretical and empirical findings and to maintain students' engagement and understanding. Each chapter provides concrete teaching ideas and tips alongside broad suggestions for ways of organizing the course.

  • Chapters are organized within three sections: Broad Thematic Frameworks (e.g., problem-based learning); Big Ideas for Integrating Concepts (e.g., subjectivity of human experience); and Skill Development and Ways of Thinking (e.g., quantitative reasoning).

  • The articles' invited authors are known to be outstanding teacher-scholars who are experienced in exploring a key theme when they teach introductory psychology.

  • The Foreword is written by Philip Zimbardo, Emeritus Professor at Stanford and an influential teacher of introductory psychology.

  • The book grew out of presentations and discussions at the Annual Stanford University Psychology One Conference, which brings together individuals from around the U.S. and Canada to share best practices and innovations in the teaching of introductory psychology.

About the Author

Dana S. Dunn

Dana S. Dunn earned his B.A. in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Virginia. He is Professor of Psychology and former chair of the Psychology Department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dr. Dunn is author or editor of over 30 books and over 150 journal articles, chapters, and book reviews. His scholarship examines teaching, learning, and liberal education, as well as the social psychology of disability. His Psychology Today blog on teaching is called "Head of the Class." He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS), and served as president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) in 2010. In 2013, Dr. Dunn received the APF Charles L. Brewer Award for Distinguished Teaching of Psychology. He is currently editor-in-chief of the Oxford Bibliographies (OB): Psychology.

Bridgette Martin Hard

Bridgette Martin Hard earned her B.S. in psychology from Furman University and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford University. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental psychology at the University of Oregon, funded by a National Research Service Award. In 2009, Dr. Hard returned to Stanford University to join the Psychology One Program. As coordinator of the program, she oversees Stanford's introductory psychology course year-round. She works with faculty members on curriculum development, including lectures, exams, and other course projects. She also selects, trains, and mentors undergraduate and graduate teaching fellows who lead discussion sections for the course. In 2012, Dr. Hard received the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel award, Stanford's highest honor for contributions to undergraduate education, for her work with the Psychology One Program. She has also worked as an educational consultant for W.W. Norton on several textbook projects and co-authored the Instructor's Manual to accompany PSYCHOLOGY, 8th Edition, by Gleitman, Gross, and Reisberg. Finally, Dr. Hard is on the organizing committee for the National Institute of the Teaching of Psychology, and oversees the annual Stanford Psychology One Conference. The conference brings together individuals from around the U.S. and Canada to share best practices and innovations in the teaching of introductory psychology.

Table of Contents

Foreword, Philip G. Zimbardo.
1. On the Primacy of Introductory Psychology, Dana S. Dunn.
2. Introductory Psychology: A Postmodern Love Story, Jane S. Halonen.
3. Give Them Something to Care About: Engaging Students in Introductory Psychology, Regan A. R. Gurung.
4. Thematic Approaches for Teaching Introductory Psychology: A Focus on Problem-Based Learning, Andrea LoGiudice and Joseph A. Kim.
5. Ciao! Translating Introductory Psychology into a Study Abroad Experience, Maureen A. McCarthy.
6. Using Integrative Concepts as a Theme in Introductory Psychology, Ann E. Nordmeyer, Bridgette Martin Hard, and James G. Gross.
7. The Utter Subjectivity of Human Experience, Wayne Weiten.
8. Using Evolutionary Theory as an Overarching Theme for Understanding Psychology, Margaret F. Lynch.
9. A Skills Theme for the Introductory Psychology Course, R. Eric Landrum.
10. The Purpose and Process of Teaching Communication Skills to Introductory Psychology Students, Jerusha B. Detweiler-Bedell and Abigail S. Hazlett.
11. Building Resilience through Applications to Everyday Life, Trudy Loop.
12. Seeing the World Like a Psychologist, Erin E. Hardin.
13. Sharing a Full Measure of Psychology: Teaching the Introductory Course to Strengthen Quantitative Reasoning, Neil Lutsky.
14. Infusing Scientific Thinking into Introductory Psychology, Amy Silvestri Hunter and Susan M. Teague.
Author Index.
Subject Index.