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PRE-Class Psychology concludes with project presentations on emotions

At this year's conclusion of the PRE-Class Psychology, the central hall of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences became a hub of knowledge exchange revolving around a central theme: emotions.

In the Pieter de la Court building, secondary school pupils gather around bulletin boards and TV screens. They pull up powerpoint presentations and pin carefully assembled posters to the boards. The project presentations are the culmination of the PRE-Class Psychology, the lectures of which often took place in the PDLC building. "It was a lot of fun," says 5-vwo student Ayla Hofstee (16). "You really get an idea of what being a student is like."

During the classes, many topics related to emotion were considered: from moral emotions to playground behaviour. As a final project, participants were asked to zoom in on one of the many topics and make a presentation about it.

Focusing on solutions

Ayla and her fellow PRE student Romayssae Azahaf (16) found the topic of their final project to be close to home. They are standing beside a poster which clearly reads: Inclusive Schools For Children With Hearing Aids. "How do you make school enjoyable for pupils with hearing aids? How do you take into account their emotions? That is what we researched."

During their research, they joined a hearing impaired primary school pupil in class. "Because of his hearing aid, the scraping noises of chairs being moved bothered him a lot," Romayssae explains. "His mother came up with the idea to put tennis balls under the legs of the chairs." Besides this, they presented more solutions on their poster, like trees on the playground (to counteract traffic noise) and an aluminium slide (to prevent static electricity from disrupting hearing aids).


Sien Beemsterboer (16) also drew from her own experience. "I did an internship at a primary school," she says. "There was a pupil on the autism spectrum and the teachers did not know how best to interact with them. That is how I came up with the autism-friendly classroom." Ideally, schools would add a quiet area and a 'selection of non-competitive games' to 'regular' classrooms. "Such measures will help a child on the autism spectrum manage their emotions."

Scholars in the making?

Amid the audience of Sien's presentation is Professor Carolien Rieffe. She is co-organiser of the PRE-Class and lead researcher at the Focus on Emotions research lab, which focuses on the emotional development of children and adolescents. "We do this kind of research for real, you know," Rieffe tells Sien when the presentation is finished. "Just you wait," she jokes, "In the future you will be conducting research here."

PRE-student Ayla likes the prospect of a future in psychology. "This small-scale research project alone shows that easy and inexpensive changes can improve a school significantly. I think it would be very cool do work on something similar in future."

At the end of the afternoon, participants received their well-deserved PRE certificate.

Text: Boukje van der Vos
Photos: Buro JP

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