Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Classroom Objective: To maintain a dynamic, innovative classroom environment in which every student succeeds by fully understanding the course material and integrating what they have learned into their individual lives.

Professional Principles:

To consistently rethink and reinvent my class to keep it new, dynamic, and relevant to students' lives.
To maintain a classroom environment in which individual differences are not merely accepted, but rather celebrated so that each individual student learns, contributes to class, and feels secure and comfortable.
To integrate the use of technology into my classes and encourage student use of the latest technology.
To continue to listen to and learn from my students on a daily basis.
To improve my teaching everyday by self-evaluation and paying close attention to student performance, improvement, and results.

As an instructor, I believe it is my responsibility to present students with learning opportunities that are rewarding and challenging. Students in my class must go beyond simple memorization to a higher level of understanding. I have found that students will live up -- or down -- to my expectations. Accordingly, I set my expectations very high, and students consistently live up to them.

Psychology is my passion, and students know that. My love of learning is conveyed in my enthusiasm and excitement for class material. My classes are designed to require that both instructor and student stretch themselves creatively, using critical analysis and independent thinking skills. I challenge my students to think outside the box. In this way, they are not just "accepting" others' ideas and theories, but personally examining and analyzing issues in pursuit of knowledge and truth.

I teach in-depth using materials like textbooks, study guides, the Internet, computer programs, newspapers, magazines, and journals. With this multi-faceted, diverse approach, I am able to provide students with the very latest science of Psychology.

During class I use a variety of techniques to relate to my students, including humor, current events, and personal disclosure. With humor, I find I can lift the tension and apprehension from the classroom. Students relax when laughing, and they become more open to the course material. Current events help me stay up-to-date and provide the students with class material relevant to their own lives. Self-disclosure also assists me in relating to my students, showing them that I understand their problems, needs, and goals. In these ways, I directly connect with each individual student.

In my classroom, a high level of respect is maintained at all times: I respect my students and treat them as valuable, important individuals, and they respect me as their instructor. Students consistently report to me that this respect and courtesy is essential in creating an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable and secure enough to speak their opinions. It also assists me in relating to a diverse student population, which consists of students of varying ages, backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and ideologies.

My classes are comprehensive in nature, with each successive piece of information building upon previous learning. First, students gain a basic knowledge of the subject. Next, they strive to discern the variations of the psychological concepts. Finally, students apply their knowledge to an unfamiliar, challenging situation. This process is accomplished through an eclectic, creative series of teaching techniques, including heuristic term papers, collaborative teamwork, and special projects. This allows students to begin the course with little or no understanding of the material and eventually reach a holistic, complete, gestalt-like comprehension of the subject.

I believe student learning is maximized when creativity and innovation are used to make topics interesting, dynamic, and relevant to students' lives. I achieve this environment on the first day of class and maintain it all semester. I encourage and motivate my students not only to succeed in my class, but to succeed in life.