The below self-reflection is based on my own experiences within general psychology class. It discusses the methods used when teaching, the topics covered and the value of information from my personal perspective. It is also a report on how attending the class has changed my attitude towards thinking, mental illnesses and human development in the social/cultural context.
In this course, we have learned about theories of philosophy, development theories and the connection between the body and mind. We also looked at thinking, learning, brain functions and intelligence. Learning and conditioning was examined in the cultural and social context as well. I have found the course interesting and the classes built upon each other; every topic was the next step from the previous one.
- Impact on Learning
I have enjoyed the classroom setting and the interactive conversations we had about how human thinking and behavior works. The textbook material reviewing all the theories and thoughts about the human mind and mental processes have helped me understand others better. I started looking at people’s body language more in order to “read them” or guess their personality. Previously, I was not paying much attention to other people’s behavior pattern, but the course has made me understand what motivates people when choosing one type of behavior, body language or verbal expression.
Classroom discussions were useful because I found that everyone had their favorite theory about psychology and they all tried to explain why it was representing the best possible approach. The professor explained all the approaches using examples we could relate to, and this way the topic was made more interesting.
- Eye-Opening Moments
I found it very useful to learn about the connection between neurons, hormones and the brain functions. While many psychological conditions are often mentioned during other courses in general, I have finally understood what is going on in the human body. I now understand which part of the brain is responsible for each function and how information is transferred. Still, the most important part of the lesson about the “crisis mode” of the sympathetic nervous system. This has explained a lot of the symptoms one of my friend suffers from due to her panic disorder. I can now understand that every symptom and psychological condition has its own explanation in the brain or the nervous system.
I felt like my knowledge of psychology has grown immediately by understanding the chemical functions within the body that generate and transfer information. I also know now how to approach the different conditions; anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, Schizophrenia and depression. For me, these mental illnesses were among the least understood of all before I took the class. This might be because doctors started researching and understanding them much later than physical illnesses.
- Change of Attitudes and Approaches
My attitude towards learning, development and people has changed significantly during the class. When approaching learning, I went through the different processes in the brain and utilized my knowledge to fully comprehend the material being discussed. I understand the difference between thought, reflection, logical and rational reasoning and have started to implement some changes in my writing and conversation in class. I now understand the difference between concept, proposition, schema and image and am using the knowledge to distinguish between mental processes needed in class and every day. I also know that implicit learning and reasoning can help me understand the material and concepts learned in school. I have also started to implement reflective judgment in my coursework and learning to improve my skills to critically evaluate evidence and come to a logical conclusion. I also understand that while stereotypes are present in every group and society, they can be overcome. One’s socialization affects their learning, and started exploring the effects of cognitive learning in my own life.
I believe that the class has provided me with a greater understanding of the human self, the chemical processes within the body that enable us to feel, sense, move and think. I feel like the most important and relevant part of the course was when we discussed learning processes and intelligence in particular, because as a student, I could relate to the topic and understand the cultural and social context of development. The clarity of the textbook, as well as the depth of the discussions during the class have left me thinking about what I learned during the day late at night. I kept on asking myself questions, reflecting on my life, personality traits, patterns and learning methods in order to try and better my results, approach and become more open to new knowledge, people, topics and theories. When I first started in the class, I thought that it would be about reading plenty of “dry” academic articles and trying to make sense of them. However, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to understand each and every idea discussed during the class.
I believe that the course material was developed in a way that it suits the interest of my age group. Classes were conducted in a way that people were able to join in, reflect on what they heard and ask questions. Random questions were asked to check students’ understanding of the topic, and this helped me with my learning process. I also think that the course has provided me with not only scientific knowledge but life skills alike.