Once all the Science students are done with studying and complaining (which is likely to be never), they are going to assault me for writing this article. “We’ve tolerated enough pointless subjects in school! Y U NO let us study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in peace? Must you add another torturous subject to make Social Studies worse?”
I’m fairly accommodating, so I’m going to suggest introducing Psychology as an optional subject in schools.
Most people who start studying Psychology think at least once, “Everyone should know about this!” (So unlike the feeling you get after watching Kony2012.) And I second them. Even if you have no plans whatsoever of becoming a shrink, a basic knowledge of Psychology can help everyone lead better lives. My knowledge of the subject is restricted to two textbooks, but I can tell you what Psychology is not: mind reading. It’s actually quite a disappointment when your teacher tells you that on the first day of college. It is also not just about treating ‘crazy’ people.
Psychology in schools will help students in direct ways by teaching them about learning, memory and attention. It has taught me to identify maladjustment within myself, it reminds me not to stereotype people (like how I stereotyped Science students above, but I ignored that reminder because I didn’t know how else to begin rattling off the benefits of Psychology), it helps me think more clearly and deal with people better than before. These are useful skills.
These are rather obvious advantages. However, teaching Psychology is important not just to create more successful, better-adjusted people, but also more compassionate ones. This really good blogger once wrote about how people misunderstood post-partum depression. If these people had studied even a little Psychology in school, they probably would’ve been more understanding. We could hope for better treatment of people with mental disabilities, too, and possibly a drop in superstitions and misconceptions associated with mental illnesses.
Psychology forces you to think about why people behave the way they do. It teaches you that everything has a reason. All that automatically makes you understand people and consequently treat them better.
We are also subtly taught about how to bring up children (I know, already). If India, primarily a country of young people, wants to improve the quality of its human resource, teaching them Psychology would be a step in the right direction.
Psyching Up For Life
March 18, 2012
Why Psychology should be taught in schools.