Teaching of psychology in Finland
Psychology has been subject in upper secondary schools from the Second World War. It was called soulscience for many decades. In the seventies we started to call it psychology. Initially it was offered in schools as an alternative to biology. When biology became a compulsory subject students had the opportunity to study both biology and psychology.
Our students are from 16 to 20 years old. About 80 % of this age group want to study psychology. There are a minimum of five courses in each school. Besides that there usually are from one to three extra courses in many schools. Students can choose from one to five courses and as many extra courses as there are.
Our association had to persuade politicians and the government over a period of ten years to get psychology as a compulsory subject. From year 2005 every student will have to study one course of psychology. It is very important because from now on every boy and girl will understand a little bit about human behaviour.
Many students want to study psychology in university. This is because psychology is such a popular subject in upper secondary schools. Students discover a fascinating subject. They can apply the psychology of learning to their own school experience, they can learn important things about mental health, and some understanding of developmental psychology is likely to be invaluable to them in their lives after graduation.
Association for the Teaching of Psychology, Finland