School name: The Ohio State University
Type of school: Large, public university
School locale: Columbus, Ohio
Classes you teach: Introduction to Psychology
Average class size: 60
What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? Wow, it’s hard to think of just one piece of advice! My mentor, Missy Beers, always has nuggets of teaching wisdom that I take away from my conversations with her. One that sticks out to me is that there is no “perfect” teacher, and that the best teachers are the ones who are always assessing their effectiveness and adapting to meet the needs of their students.
What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? Mindset by Carol Dweck. It helped me to adopt a growth mindset as a teacher and gave me tools to help my students develop a growth mindset as well.
Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. I teach Introduction to Psychology and my favorite topic to teach is Memory. I love how relevant the chapter is to students' lives, as well as all the fun and memorable activities and demonstrations.
Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. My favorite in-class activity is one that I took from another instructor, Kristin Supe. On the first day of class, I ask my students to get into small groups and think of as many subjects/areas of study that are NOT related to psychology. Then, each group presents their list of topics to the class. If anyone in class can think of a way that a specific topic listed relates to psychology, we cross it off our list. By the end of the first day, our list is quite short. I take a picture of the list and return to it on the last day of the semester and ask students if, after learning about psychology for the last 12 weeks, they think we can cross any more topics off our list. Each semester I’ve done this, the list is eventually empty and students can see how psychology relates to so many other areas of study, often in unexpected ways.
What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? It really depends on my learning objectives for the topic. In general, using the process of backwards design has been a total game-changer in my teaching. My teaching techniques are now very much driven by my goals and learning objectives, which has led me to be much more intentional about my teaching methods and techniques.
What’s your workspace like? Organized! I have a hard time being productive if I don’t have a tidy workspace.
Three words that best describe your teaching style. Enthusiastic, supportive, and organized.
What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Guide students to become curious and compassionate learners.
What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? That even though I am energized and outgoing when I teach, I am actually an introvert!
What are you currently reading for pleasure? Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
What tech tool could you not live without? My apple watch.
What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? It really varies. Sometimes my colleagues and I are chatting about psychology-related topics, while other times we’re talking about our weekend plans, or just catching each other up on our lives.