Psychology Retooling Institute and Seminar for the Mid-AtlanticII

Learning and Memory



Child and Adult Development

Social Psychology

Child Development

 Biological Psychology



Submitted by:

Dr. Tonya Fridy & Ms. Esther Hanson
Prince George’s Community College
Course: General (Introduction to) Psychology

I.Overview       II.  Objectives   III-IV Content/Activities/Assignments  V. Resources

I. Overview

A.Broad Topic: Personality

B.Main Topics: Introduction to Personality, Personality Theories and Current Trends

II.Module Objectives:
The purpose of this teaching module is to introduce general psychology students to the study of personality through both theory and research. Upon completion of this three day lesson, students should be able to:

a) recognize basic facts and definitions relating to the construct of personality as well as the major theoretical perspectives;

b) understand concepts including and related to the definition of personality as well as the major theoretical perspectives;

c) apply what is learned regarding basic facts and concepts to specific situations.

In addition, students will utilize oral and written critical thinking skills as they gain mastery over content, concepts, and application.
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III - IV. Module Content/Activities/Assignments:
(prior to the teaching activities delineated below, students are assigned the chapter on Personality from an Introductory Psychology book. The chapter is to be read by Module Day 1.)

Day 1 (50 minutes)

1) Students will define "what the term, ‘personality’ means" to them in groups of three to four for approximately 5 minutes. The term is contrasted with the definition that the instructor introduces (5 minutes).

2) Students will engage in an activity called "Values Clarification" (Huffman, 1992). Four signs are placed on each of the classroom walls: "Agree", "Strongly Agree", "Disagree", "Strongly Disagree". After a statement is read by the instructor, each student is to stand under the sign which best expresses his/her stance regarding that statement. The students then discuss their views, respectfully, and taking turns. The instructor remains neutral. One of two statements can be read: 1)"Personality is consistent across time and place"; 2)"Personality is the result of hereditary factors". Students must defend the opposite stance after the exercise has commenced for about 10 minutes (total time = 15 minutes).

3) Mini-lecture commences as the instructor compares and contrasts two important concepts related to personality: temperament, and character. Afterward, the concept of Approaches to Personality (eg. Trait, Type) versus Theories (Psychoanalytic, Humanistic, Behavioristic/Learning, Cognitive) is explored through an outline comparing and contrasting the constructs on the overhead/board (30 minutes).

4) For the evening, one of four readings from the Personality section of Annual Editions, 1998-1999 will be selected by each student. Students will then prepare a "Speak Out Paper" which consists of a brief reaction paper of the reading assignment.  In addition, the student is asked to review a handout containing four small paragraphs of original works from the following sources: a passage from a poem written by Anna Freud at the age of 18, cited in the book, Anna Freud: A Biography, by Elizabeth Young-Bruehl ( 1988), an excerpt from B.F. Skinner’s book entitled Beyond Freedom and Dignity (cited in Miller, 1998), and a sample from the book, On Becoming A Person, by Carl Rogers (1989).

Day Two (50 minutes)


1) Each student is asked to take out his/her reaction paper regarding the selected reading from Annual Editions. An Open Forum commences where students freely discuss how they feel about the readings which they chose to pursue. The instructor acts as a moderator, interjecting questions related to learning objectives from the previous day. (25 minutes)

2) While students are still arranged in a forum, the instructor places a transparency summarizing the major theories on an overhead projector. At this time, the brief passages from A. Freud, Skinner, and Rogers are then discussed. The instructor asks for ideas about content ("What is the author saying?"), the theory expressed within each passage ("Which major theory is expressed here, and where do you see it expressed?"), and any evidence in real life which supports the claim(s) made in each of the paragraphs. ("Are there real-life examples which support an idea that the author has"?)(25 minutes)

3) After Discussion, the students are given a case study to read and interpret using the concepts and theoretical models of: Freud, Adler, Ellis, Rogers and Maslow.
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Day Three (50 minutes)

Case Study Activity

1) This is a group activity in which students are randomly assigned to groups of 4 or 5 students. They are given 15 minutes to debate on the theoretical concepts and relevant issues presented in the case study. 2) Students participate in a class game similar to "Jeopardy". The rules are that students must use the jargon of theorist discussed. Groups are called upon randomly to explain their interpretations and rationales. If the group is not able to complete all of the interpretations or is incorrect another group can grab the points. 3)Game points are cumulative and transfer into participation points which is a component of the students’ evaluation for the class. 4) The group member who responds earns the point. All of the members in the group must respond at least once in order to gain additional points. (Please see Handout entitled, Personality: A Case Study)

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V. Resources:

Duffy, K. G., Ed., (1998). Annual Editions: Psychology, ‘98-’99. Sluice Dock: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill.

Huffman, Karen (1992). Instructor’s Manual to Accompany Second Edition, Psychology in Action. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Miller, E.D. (1998). Questions That Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy, Second Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Rogers, Carl (1989). On Becoming a Person. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Bruehl-Young, Elizabeth (1988). Anna Freud: A Biography. Boston: Sage.