The Instigator
KadieBobx
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
Maikuru
Con (against)
Winning
39 Points

psychology should be made compulsory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,303 times Debate No: 7663
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (9)

 

KadieBobx

Pro

Psychology for 14-18yr olds should be made compulsory in schools.

care to debate why it should"nt be?
Maikuru

Con

Much thanks to KadieBobx for starting this interesting debate and for her patience as I juggle multiple debates.

::The Basics::

My position in this debate is that psychology should not be made compulsory in schools for 14-18 year old students. Unless otherwise specified, my arguments will pertain to the U.S. school system (due solely to familiarity). The following are some necessary primary definitions:

Psychology: the study of mind and behavior [1]

Compulsory: mandatory, enforced [2]

::The Current State of Affairs::

Though the United States has not established a mandatory high school course set, the most common grouping includes the following (I'll refer to these courses later) [3]:

• English – literature, humanities
• Mathematics – algebra, geometry, pre-calculus/trigonometry
• Science – biology, chemistry, physics
• Social Studies – history, government/economics
• Physical Education

Psychology is most often offered today as a senior-level elective course, often within an advance placement or honors program. Of course, the field of psychology is extremely broad and the provided definition isn't helpful in terms of the field as a school subject. In 2005, the national standard for psychology curricula centered on five aspects of the field: methodology, physiology, development, cognitive processes, and individual/group behavior dynamics [4].

::Con's Arguments::

1.Psychology, The Sort-of-Science

Given its areas of interest, general psychology focuses on that which cannot be completely quantified or understood. Its endeavors to observe, classify, define, and predict thoughts and behaviors are necessarily rooted in individual interpretation. Such intrinsic biases are amplified by the field's research methods; by depending largely on surveys, questionnaires, correlations, and introspection, even the most trusted psychological theories invite subjectivity.

This stance is not meant to discredit psychology, but when the question at hand is compulsory education, any field that can arguably meet the definition of both a science [5] and a pseudoscience [6] must be considered carefully. In this case, the core interest of psychology denies it the possibility of universality, a fundamental characteristic of mandatory school subjects.

2.Relevant Material Found Elsewhere

In addition to universality, mandatory subjects are deemed as such because of the unique and necessary information they provide. For example, English courses provide practical linguistic skills and social studies provide cultural and historical facts. Unfortunately, psychology offers few skills and little knowledge not sufficiently found in other subjects. Referring back to the 5 overarching topics of high school psychology courses [4] demonstrates the field's academic overlap with other courses:

•Methodology – largely covered in general science classes (with the exception of the more subjective research methods exclusive to psychology)
•Physiology – body systems and perception are covered in biology and anatomy, while behavior and emotion are covered in health
•Development – physical development is covered in biology and anatomy, while emotional development is covered in health
•Cognitive Processes – characteristics of learning and intelligence are integrated into all courses, while thought and memory are key in both English and science
•Behavior – English, health, biology, and social studies all focus heavily on both group and individual behavior dynamics

That information that is not covered elsewhere can be portioned into two groups: psychology-specific history and theoretical thinking models. While this information is interesting and certainly worthy of an elective course, it is too subjective and unessential to require mandatory study.

3.Limited Usefulness in High School

True psychology courses are generally left to college students for numerous reasons. First, given its interpretation-based theories and its continuous attempts to be considered a legitimate science, psychology has spawned over a dozen branches of study [7][8]. Any attempt to form a comprehensive curriculum in a high school environment would suffer from truncated and omitted information. Such editing is especially dangerous in a field like psychology, which requires equal presentation of opposing theories to allow for personal preferences among students.

Second, the level of introspection and analysis necessary to comprehend some of psychology's more philosophical views are generally acquired later in our education. Even then, this type of thinking is disliked by many and is best suited within elective courses. By making such teachings mandatory for unprepared and disinterested minds, one not only taxes the students' reasoning skills but also runs the risk of incorrectly presenting psychology as a law-based science.

Lastly, information concerning personality or behavior development could potentially be detrimental for those undergoing an important stage of maturing. Just as one would not recommend a medical course for a hypochondriac, a course on psychological disorders and other deviations from a ‘normal' self can work to hinder and confuse natural identity development in teenagers.

::Conclusion::

Believe it or not, I actually love psychology and have a B.S. in the field. However, I still understand that it should not be a mandatory area of study for 14-18 year olds. I have demonstrated that academic psychology does not contain necessary universality, is largely covered in other courses, and is better suited as an elective or college-level course.

Thanks again to KadieBobx for letting me go on about psychology. Thanks for reading!

::References::

1.http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2.http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3.http://en.wikipedia.org...
4.http://www.apa.org...
5.http://www.merriam-webster.com...
6.http://www.merriam-webster.com...
7.http://en.wikipedia.org...
8.http://www.bbc.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
KadieBobx

Pro

KadieBobx forfeited this round.
Maikuru

Con

Darn. Well, since my opponent hasn't presented any case yet, I'll let my arguments carry over to this round.
Debate Round No. 2
KadieBobx

Pro

Hi im sorry about this.. but i wont be able to post my arguement at this time as i have alot of coursework i do apologise i will provide a full arguement in the last round if possible
i aplogise to my opponent
Maikuru

Con

It's a shame the debate turned out this way but I thank Pro for letting me know about the situation.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
Thank you again for the review =D

As a constant victim of vote bombing yourself, you must be sympathetic to its victims haha.
Posted by mongeese 4 years ago
mongeese
Defaulted CON due to forfeits.
Posted by Puck 5 years ago
Puck
" Its endeavors to observe, classify, define, and predict thoughts and behaviors are necessarily rooted in individual interpretation. Such intrinsic biases are amplified by the field's research methods; by depending largely on surveys, questionnaires, correlations, and introspection, even the most trusted psychological theories invite subjectivity."

Incorrect insofar as ones epistemic base determines whether or not it is empirically sound or not. Psychoanalysis for instance - is theory based - with very little research support - theory in the psychological sense should be demarcated from the scientific sense. The scientist model however is applied consistently and rigorously throughout the 'psychology' field itself.

Surveys/questionaires: psychometrics - a branch of psychology on the measure of constructs through item response - rooted in statistical analysis of deriving factors loading onto constructs. There are numerous statistically sound measures for determining the manner of items to use on a questionnaire - whether the test itself has reliability, whether the constructs they measure have validity.

Whether any one person researches the measure they use is a different matter. :P

Correlations: Conclusions shouldn't and are not drawn on the basis of correlatory evidence - read the literature. It is well understood correlation =/= causation.

Introspection: as a respected method of gathering data on the self - left the field of psychology early 1900s with the advent of behaviourism.

Sure psychology is used poorly and many people try and ride its coat tails with improper application, but the scientist/practitioner model exists.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
I'm sorry for the delay, KadieBobx. I had visitors over who kept me from forming coherent thoughts. I'll post my argument tomorrow.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
As a psych grad myself, I just had to take this up. It should be interesting to argue against my field, at least in terms of the resolution.
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
I may take this in a few days if it's still up.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 week ago
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