I think it is important to take the time to think about genuine, reflective means to assess one's own performance and the way that students learn in class. The ultimate goal of my teaching is to foster critical thinking in students. I acknowledge that students bring a variety of learning styles and competencies to their classes to attain this goal in my classrooms. I aim to present relevant challenges to students' understanding of psychological phenomena by employing different pedagogies. Ultimately, I hope that students become active learners and critically evaluate the assumptions that they might have held before taking a course with me. Also, I am fluent with a number of electronic teaching platforms and have served on (and would be interested to continue such service) on the university's committee for technology and learning.
While I have been highlighting process and form I do not mean to diminish the role of content. To be sure, one way to make different connections for students is if the instructor has a broad knowledge background. In addition to a broad competence in philosophy I bring to my courses intellectual history including the history of biology, medicine, literature, biography, geography, and a general knowledge of math and science. I believe it is important to give the students a rubric for assessment before they begin their work. I make this available on-line and as a handout. I have developed my assignments so that directions are very explicit and have found that this makes compliance and success more likely. I hand out an assignment schedule at the beginning of term and have a number of exercises that require the student to seize and order the material.
Rather than devote one class exclusively to explaining the written assignment, I take some time over a number of lectures. I have experimented with graduated written work and this works very well at both introductory and higher levels. My writing assignments are eccentric and I require source defenses. Combined, my approach to writing assignments allows the student to develop the skills they need to do my assignments and builds essential learning skills. And it helps reduce pressure, which is one of the major reasons for plagiarism. I grade written work holistically and do not correct each sentence and/or word. Usually I take a few sentences or a paragraph and mark them for technical efficiency but I do not think the student learns any more if the entire piece is marked thus. I make general comments about assignments and distribute these to the class at large. I have used peer-review as a way to get students to write a first draft but I have found that at the introductory level many students think that the first draft after spelling corrections makes a final draft. Peer review has worked well for me at this level with evaluation of group presentations.
This diversity of styles and skills requires me as a teacher to provide structure that will facilitate learning course content, yet still retain sufficient flexibility so that differences in mastery of concepts can be addressed. For this reason, I try to use a blend of lecturing, discussion, demonstrations, and class activities for each of my courses. For each course, in addition to covering the topics traditionally associated with the chemistry, I try to incorporate information about diverse cultural groups. I believe that attending to diversity exposes students to an important aspect of higher education and society in general and prepare them for future interactions with those who are different from them.
I am also committed to having students attain a critical understanding of the theories and concepts to which they are exposed. Consequently, I stress the applicability of course materials to events both on and off campus. I have found that students appreciate and gain a more critical understanding of a theoretical concept when they can see its relevance in situations that they encounter regularly.
Graduate Degree: Wayne State University - Doctor of Engineering, Chemical Engineering
Graduate Degree: Georgia College & State University - Master in Management, Business Administration and Management
Playing Cricket, Table Tennis