General Psychology

Purpose

This educational psychology course reflected the psychological issues that teachers and students face in instructional environments. Instruction occurs anywhere, not only in classrooms, propelling our examination of learning and teaching situations in any setting, with consideration of historical and contemporary theories. We attended to cultural, socio-economic and structural (e.g. poverty, privilege and power) dynamics that are system-embedded that affect the teacher and student in a myriad of ways. These ways included motivation and classroom management, educational views and development, individual differences (abilities), instructional approaches and assessment.

Psychology of the Exceptional Child

Purpose

This course was designed to encourage students to consider the cognitive and emotional disorders arising in childhood and adolescence. Students reviewed topics that included intellectual and learning disabilities, and behavior disorders as well as the problems of etiology and treatment.

 Addressing Cultural Divides through Writing and Argumentation

Purpose

This class was called Addressing Cultural Divides through Writing and Argumentation. I designed this class to teach students how to strengthen aspects of their own identity through targeting their abilities to write a coherent argument. The paper students wrote was based on topics to which they were intimately connected. Thus, the content of the paper continually substantiated what they can do. My tutelage began in translating their content into an argumentative structure. Their abilities sprang from the folds of the core competencies addressed in the learning goals listed in the syllabus. When they were encouraged to identify and enhance their own abilities, they eventually understood and gained the confidence to distinguish themselves literally in writing and culturally from others in their contribution to the greater whole. The ‘greater whole’ are all those other persons (that they find in the research literature) that either agree or disagree with their stance on the topic.

Computers for the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Purpose

This course was designed to nurture an understanding of the computer as a professional tool in the social and behavioral sciences with special emphasis on data collection, data description and data analysis (with statistical software e.g. SPSS for Windows), use of the Internet, on-line bibliographic searching, computers in teaching and learning, and computerized techniques in psychological testing.

 Critical Inquiry

Purpose

The objective of this course was to facilitate the mastery of the core competencies of critical reading and thinking, and information literacy. In this particular seminar for freshman students, they learned how to interrogate their views and beliefs of controversial topics, and analyzed the cogency and resonance of others’ views and beliefs related to topical arguments. Through their own self-interrogations, they concentrated their abilities, and created a solid case to substantiate what they can do. In addition, practicing the core competencies lead to discovery, curiosity and creativity that introduced new understandings, some of which surprised the students. Students frequently practiced (1) identifying main ideas, distinguishing them from supporting ideas, and drawing verifiable conclusions; (2) providing evidence for positions taken, examining the strengths/weaknesses of those positions, as crucial for building the issue's significance; and (3) analyzing and evaluating credibility of information and its sources, and applying the information to the development of a purpose. They created outlines, and wrote essays. Subsequently, they created their own critical analysis strategies, and found themselves using these strategies outside the classroom.