Teacher goes back to school at Thomas Clarkson Academy to gain a Psychology A Level

Deborah Simpson of Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, gains a Psychology A Level

Deborah Simpson of Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, gains a Psychology A Level - Credit: Archant

A teacher led by example at a Wisbech school after joining her pupils to gain a B grade in A Level psychology.

Teacher Deborah Simpson of Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, gains a Psychology A Level. Seen here a

Teacher Deborah Simpson of Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech, gains a Psychology A Level. Seen here alongside her pupil Abbie Murray, left. - Credit: Archant

Dr Deborah Simpson, head of health and social sciences at Thomas Clarkson Academy, has been teaching A Level psychology for two years.

Last year her students did so well that the exams officer challenged her to sit the A Level herself.

Dr Simpsonwho has a doctorate in biochemistry and also teaches biology, said: ‘I have taught psychology for two years but this is a brand new spec so I actually learned the Year 12 and 13 topics in about six weeks and I spent the whole of my Easter and May half term revising.

“When I knew I was going to sit the exam I physically moved from the ‘teacher’ position in the classroom and we all sat together so it was much more collaborative.


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“There was still obviously the professional boundary but it was striking how the students and I clicked.

“Psychology is quite an emotive subject but the fact that I had to learn it as well made it even more comfortable to talk about what we felt. “It was a really positive experience and I would recommend it. I am really pleased because, to be honest, teaching and passing the A Level is not quite the same.

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“It was very enjoyable from my point of view and really made me remember how hard it was to do A Levels!’

She said it was not just a rewarding time teaching and learning but also allowed her to explore a different teaching style.

Student Abbie Murray, who studied alongside Dr Simpson to gain a C, said: ‘It made me feel more comfortable when Dr Simpson was studying it as well because I knew she was in the same boat and understood everything.

“We always worked together and Dr Simpson helped us out a lot. She was like a peer as well as a teacher.’

• A typical A level psychology question: Two psychology students were discussing social influence. “I find it fascinating how some people are able to resist social influence,” said Jack. “It must be having a confident personality.”

“I disagree,’ said Sarah. “I think resisting social influence depends more on the presence of others.” Discuss the two explanations of resistance to social influence.

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