Curriculum development

  • Ideas for how to organize your course
  • Suggestions for one and two year approaches
  • Curriculum mapping
  • How to start to the course
  • Revision activities
  • TOK links

TIPS for setting up your course

  • Integration is key.  For example - teach research skills throughout the course and not as a stand-alone unit.

  • All of us are writing teachers. Teach writing skills throughout the course, and don't expect students to already be polished writers when they arrive in your class.

  • It is a good idea to start to the course with a mini-unit on the nature of psychology and psychological research. This is a great way to start off the course with a lot of hands-on activities, and it also allows you to do some diagnostics of the skill levels of your students.

  • Start the course by teaching what you are most comfortable with. This gives you time to prepare the areas of the course that you may find more challenging.

  • Look ahead to the options when look at the learning objectives in the core. Can you introduce ideas in the core but then develop them in the options? Could you address some of the learning objectives  in the options by revising something that you have already studied?

  • Teach options that you like - and for which you have resources. The class should study an option together, and students should not be encouraged to each study whichever options interest them.

  • Keep your eyes on the end goal: Help students to organize themselves; constantly review the key ideas - and give them lots of writing practice.

  • Use the learning objectives for your assessments.

  • Plan to do the internal assessment in class as much as possible.

  • Remember that learning is fun! Use many creative formative assessments to motivate students and keep their interest.

  • Get student feedback on how you are doing.  Students can often give amazing feedback to make you a better teacher.

Selected Pages


Command Terms Sunday 18 September 2016

In the IB psychology course there are 3 levels of assessment objectives.The command terms indicate the level of study, i.e....


Writing with critical thinking Friday 16 October 2015

One of the problems that students often have is how to include "critical thinking" into their exam essays. It is often clear...


Claims and evidence Friday 16 October 2015

It is important to teach students the basics of arguments from the beginning of the course. Not only do they need to identify...


Topic sentences Saturday 22 August 2015

When teaching students to write an essay, the first step is to plan out what will go in the essay. Often students want to...


Recommended reading Friday 29 May 2015

One of the common questions from teachers new to the program is - what books should we have in our library? The answer?...

Knowers and Inquirers Tuesday 21 February 2017

Once a year I am asked to go into TOK and do a mini-presentation on ways of knowing in psychology. What follows is the presentation...

  Material Location
All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.

Comments 7

Svetlana Gluvacevic 1 February 2017 - 10:11

Hi John,

thank you for this wonderful website, it´s been tremendous help in teaching.
Do you have the information when there will Inthinking psychology workshop Cat 2 or 3, with the focus on new curriculum, for experienced teachers?


John Crane 2 February 2017 - 17:45

There are the SSS workshops being held. They will be on the new curriculum. I will also have one in Barcelona the last weekend in September which will focus on the new curriculum. There are several options for locations.

Svetlana Gluvacevic 2 February 2017 - 18:06

Thanks for your quick answer!
Currently on the Inthinking list there is only one psychology workshop (Barcelona) and that is Cat 1.
Can we expect Cat 2 or 3 in autumn, as well?


John Crane 3 February 2017 - 05:03

Yes, in the spring. But the fall conference is going to be an intro to the new curriculum. It will look at all aspects of the new curriculum - so many highly experienced teachers are already registered to attend.

Kimberly Clever 8 February 2017 - 17:35

Hi John
Thank you for all the information on the new curriculum! In looking at the new guide and thinking ahead for next year I am wondering about this site. At my school I teach SL as year one, student can test and HL as year two. So next year, I will be teaching SL/HL as it is this year and SL year one as the new curriculum. I know I can make that work. But, I was wondering about this site, how will you deal with the change over?

John Crane 9 February 2017 - 05:09

You will start to see the new text onsite in the coming months. Then this summer I have to do a lot of 'relabeling" to make it clear which materials can be used for the new curriculum. It will take some time, but I will create sample work, teaching ideas and activities as we continue through the next year. At then end of the next school year, I will then delete all material from the current curriculum that can not be used. It will be a transition year and hopefully, I will manage it effectively. Regards - John

Kimberly Clever 9 February 2017 - 21:28

Thank you John, I love your website and it makes my job so much easier!!!!

To post comments you need to log in. If it is your first time you will need to subscribe.