Psychoeducation is defined as a pedagogical approach that uses psychological principles and processes to facilitate students’ personal and intellectual development in classroom, group, or an online setting. Psychoeducation focuses on both the cognitive and affective domains of learning. With psychoeducation, feelings and emotions have equal weight with conceptual and factual knowledge. Emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995) and academic knowledge are true partners in the psychoeducational process. With the psychoeducational approach, students both think and feel while learning. The teacher is interactive, personal, and strategic. What does psychoeducational mean operationally? First, the psychoeducator provides multiple course contexts, allowing students to
understand the content personally, professionally, and politically. This psychoeducational approach also establishes norms that promote the sharing of feelings and thoughts as the course develops. The
psychoeducator is also an active assessor of student needs and the entire learning process. This assessment helps the instructor to actually know students individually and collectively. Psychoeducation teaching invites students to be involved in the course intellectually and emotionally at
their optimal comfort level. The option of intellectual and emotional processing is presented to students as a free choice. There are no judgments about these choices, but encouragement is given to take risks
and explore new dimensions of self. Furthermore, this kind of teaching sets positive expectancies for learning. One of the most critical expectancies is helping students view learning, not just as content, but a personal growth. This means helping students personalize the course as much as possible by experiencing both the thoughts and feelings simultaneously.

With an emphasis on emotion in the learning process, the psychoeducator is sensitive to student defenses and resistance to learning. Numerous teaching methods are used to mediate defensiveness and resistance to learning. Stimulating media (slides, overheads, music, music videos, movie clips) are integrated with the teaching to accentuate course concepts and promote personal exploration. The psychoeducator uses stimulus diversity techniques to keep student attention high. This means using multiple teaching modalities to enhance student thinking and feeling. Psychoeducation also includes interactive teaching and experiential learning that promotes focused discussions. These discussions may
activate interpersonal-intrapersonal conflict with students and raise questions about instructor student biases and political correctness. Psychoeducation also implies using self-assessment checklists and
groups to help students personalize the course. Furthermore, this approach encourages faculty and students to be real, self-disclosing, and honest about how the course is affecting them. This implies that
students and the instructor may fluctuate between personal and professional roles. This makes role flexibility very important for both students and the instructor. From this kind of learning, the
psychoeducator helps students understand how the learning dynamics relate to the course content. By connecting the learning dynamics to the course content, the concepts can come to life for students, sometimes right before their very eyes. Psychoeducation also involves helping students work through any painful memories or events that are activated by the course. This implies being personally available to students, not as a therapist per se, but as a supporter of their healing and growth. Psychoeducation also relates to how the instructor prepares for the course and develops the interventions. The assumptions made about students are critical to successful psychoeducational interventions. In
other words, instructors’ knowledge of students’ developmental stage, cognitive development, attitudes toward learning, and worldviews are critical to implementing psychoeducational interventions. This kind of teaching also means having positive expectancies for student learning,
articulated teaching goals, and energy in the classroom.

For more information on psychoeducation, see:
O’Neil, J.M. (2015) Teaching psychoeducation online at UConn’s Neag School of Education. Educational Practice and Innovation, ISSN (Print): 2372 ISSN (Online): 2372-3106.