Conceptualization of Learning
I begin with the assumption of underlying theories on adult learning. That is, the student is here because they choose to be here and to learn what is being offered. They are more likely to accept information when it is presented in a logical, orderly and clear manner, with real-world implications. This leads to insightful interpretations of the material by the student. Insightful interpretations are facilitated by discussion between me and students. One of the most important insights that can be attained is how the knowledge they are acquiring applies to their life.
Collaborative Learning Process
I view the learning process as having similarities to psychotherapy – it is collaborative in nature between student and instructor. It is my expectation that students not only learn from me, and from each other, but that I learn from them as well. The connection and energy established between us is a powerful teaching tool. My role is not only a source of knowledge, but also a source of support and an avenue for other resources; as well as modeling, for the student, being a psychologist. Students experience me as approachable, open to questions, and genuinely interested their academic success. I strive to be student-focused, effective, flexible, and appreciative of each student’s uniqueness.
Application Outside the Classroom
Due in part to my training in Cognitive Psychology, I encourage students to be open to the role of context, environment, culture, diversity, and individual differences. By asking students how a concept applies across contexts, it challenges them to think critically. In my experience, this greatly facilitates learning inside and outside the classroom.
Conceptualization of Teaching
I also contribute to the learning atmosphere by encouraging appropriate interactions between us. I am respectful of other’s opinions. I present the material in an outline form, including providing PowerPoint slides, and provide appropriate historical and current research to support what I teach. Besides presenting traditional research as appropriate, I also rely heavily on real-life examples from my practice on the topic being discussed. As often as is possible and appropriate, I similarly try to make examinations real-world in format and content. Finally, I believe we should have fun in class.
Goals for Students
First, I want students to learn how to think critically and like a psychologist – not only about the topics I present in class, but also about information that they are exposed to in their everyday lives. Second, I want students to understand the widespread application of psychology, and to not leave their knowledge at the door when they enter a different room. Third, I want students to enjoy what we’re doing in class and to find its value outside the classroom.
In order to improve my teaching ability, I welcome direct feedback from students. I encourage students to express their comments about their experience, my teaching, and the way the course is structured. I then attempt to address their concerns and make changes as needed.