The human brain is the most complex machine on earth. With an average capacity of 1,200cm3, it is three times the size of most other mammals' brains. In psychology, we study the processes that underlie our thoughts, feelings and actions.
The study of the brain is an important and interesting area, supported by modern technology. It has been found that taxi drivers’ brains 'grow' on the job: researchers have found that London’s black-cab drivers'grey matter enlarges and adapts to help them store a detailed mental map of the city. This plasticity can help us adapt and change to new environments - an example of just one area of study.
At Brentwood, we encourage students to develop a number of new skills. They analyse and present data, plan and execute research, present a coherent argument, evaluate their own and other peoples' research and understand many of the reasons why people do what they do.
Psychology at Brentwood involves taking a number of different approaches to understand our human behaviour. Are we like animals? Do we remember correctly what we have witnessed? Are we all the same? How are some of us different? What happens when we become mentally ill? How can we improve our memories?
Consequently, Psychology uses a similar approach to that of scientists in other fields. Scientific methods are used to collect data and produce statistically testable evidence for a theory or hypothesis.
“My son has become more independent and self-confident. I would say Brentwood has given him a whole range of abilities and a positive outlook to deal with the world at large.”
To view the Psychology curriculum please click here.
Mrs Ann Bailey
Head of Department
Having joined the school in 1989 to teach Biology, Chemistry and Science, Mrs Bailey now teaches AS, A2 and IB Psychology to Sixth Formers. She also teaches lower school Biology and during senior games helps with Squash or Tennis. Her main area of interest in Psychology is in Environmental Psychology looking at the effect of the environment on behaviour. On Fridays, she runs a CSU craft club, where they make items for charitable causes, such as knitting 'Teddies for Tragedies'.
Dr Graham Childs
Dr Childs came to Brentwood School originally in 1985, as a Biology teacher, and was Head of the Navy section as well as Senior Squash Coach. He left to teach Psychology and Biology and became Head of Psychology at Westcliff School. He returned to Brentwood in 2009 to teach AS and A2 Psychology with lower school Biology. He also helps to coach and run the U15 squash team. His research interest for his doctorate was the effect of time-zone transition (jet-lag) on mammals, his predominant interests being in the Biological Bases of Behaviour.
Mrs Jan O'Connell
Mrs O’Connell has been teaching Psychology for 10 years and after being a parent at Brentwood School for 19 years, has been teaching here since September 2010. Working mainly in the Sixth Form, She teaches Psychology at GCSE, AS and A2 level as well as Higher Level IB. She teaches Critical Thinking to Year 8. She also works as part of the MDV team, assisting students who are applying to university to study Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Sciences. She acknowledges a preference for the Cognitive Approach and the rigorous methodology it uses but as a strong follower of Existential Psychology, Mrs O’Connell believes that the meaning of life is found in hard work, an ethos which she strives to instil in her students.
Mr Martin McGowan
Mr McGowan graduated joined Brentwood School in September 2001. He was instrumental in developing our courses in the early days of the department and has an extensive knowledge of the subject. During his time at the School he has taught both A Level and IB Psychology. His area of interest is Bio-Psychology and Research Methods and Statistics. Outside of the classroom he is the Head of Duke of Edinburgh and has run Gold expeditions from Wales to South Africa. He is also an Assistant Housemaster for Hough Boarding House.