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I see the classroom as a creative space where I can connect the theoretical with the practical.

I encourage students to become better citizens of the world, and I seek to empower them through a deeper understanding of the human experience.

Teaching Philosophy

I am a passionate educator, speaker, researcher, and mentor. I have strong background training in adolescent development, addiction, health, social psychology, and cognitive psychology. As a generalist by nature with a lifelong curiosity complex, I was drawn to specialize in media psychology because it bridges content across all pillars of psychology. As a media psychologist with a generalist background, I excel in applying traditional psychological theories to human behavior in contemporary digital environments, including social media platforms, video game arenas, and virtual worlds.

 

My teaching is dynamic. The skills, competencies, and literacies that today's students need are necessarily different from what I needed to learn during school. I meet these needs through modernized lessons, comprising elements of media literacy, integrated tech, cultural awareness, acceptance of diversity, social intelligence, and scientific communication. I use digital literacy, actionable information, and project-based learning to deliver on the skill sets that will benefit students the most.

 

I facilitate students' learning, as well as their personal growth, which means teaching lessons that emphasize overall well-being. When choosing what content to include, as there is always more than enough to cover, I ask myself, “What would my neighbor need to know?” I consider what concepts I can teach that would benefit them most as a person. I think about what would help them understand other people better, what would help them accept themselves more easily, and what would help them positively contribute to society. In doing so, I ensure that I am teaching something that feels relatable and relevant while maximizing skill development that will benefit them across majors, interests, and career paths.

 

I am a storyteller with a vibrant personality. I use these qualities to engage students and help them understand psychological concepts in the context of genuine lived experience. I begin every lesson with a question that piques their interest, then I teach the content that will help them understand the answer. I end every class with actionable information - what we learned, why we needed to learn about it, and ways they can use it to improve their experience. It is imperative that students be able to leave the classroom, look around their world, and understand it in a way they had not before. This is the most exciting part of teaching for me, and I know that if I am excited and engaged, they will be, too.

 

My primary goal, whether as an instructor or research mentor, is to challenge students' curiosity. To me, curiosity is how we come to understand the world and the people in it. When we learn about the people in the world, we have respect for them. When we respect them, we want to be fair to them. Because I am curious about the world, I am also curious about my students, I respect them, and I want to be fair to them. This resonates with them as something that “feels right,” so I extend the same challenge, asking them to be curious about the topics we discuss, respectful of our diversity, and fair toward each other.

 

Student feedback matters. I regularly ask for input on topics that students would like to cover, pressing questions they may have, and aspects of the class that do or do not work well for them. At the end of each lesson, I take notes on what activities worked well and what can be improved. I also jot down any interactions that I had with students, like questions they had or interesting media they wanted to share with me. I talk to them as if we are a team and include as many of their suggestions as possible in future lessons. Soliciting and implementing feedback is an important part of showing students that their input matters.

 

Students feel safe in my classroom. I take steps to explicitly express acceptance and to model what acceptance looks like, whether its acceptance of others or acceptance of ourselves. In elementary psychology, I teach a lesson on values early in the semester; and I use this opportunity to prepare students for the nature of psychology, which often means challenging existing assumptions, confronting one's own contradictions, and learning to support others' differences. This is a meaningful experience for them and a helpful classroom management tool for me. It shows students that I respect and care for them. It allows me to model positive behavior for them. It reminds them to be true to their own values in the face of societal challenges, and it shows they can still be respectful to others with differing value systems. It helps ground students as individuals during stressful times. Importantly, it also puts them in the right headspace for what we need to accomplish in this classroom, which is part content and part personal growth.

 

Teaching at the university level in today’s climate presents a unique set of challenges. Clever use of media has the power to transform the learning experience. It creates an ecouraging and exciting atmosphere for all, and it removes barriers for those who have experienced limited access to educational tools in the past. Building courses around media means lessons are adaptable across platforms and relatable across populations, including those with diverse learning needs. Because media experience can transcend geographic and cultural boundaries, this area of study provides a relatable foundation to help students build knowledge, share ideas, understand diversity, practice tolerance, and connect with each other. I embrace the classroom as a creative space, and I strive to connect the theoretical with the practical in meaningful ways. Leveraging digital media tools in the classroom enables me to meet modern challenges, as I can empower students through meaningful content and salient examples, while also teaching digital literacy skills and personal well-being.

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