Amanda Lipko-Speed

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Teaching Philosophy

In my opinion, teaching is both an opportunity and a privilege. It is an opportunity to share my knowledge, passion, and excitement for the field of psychology with my students. It is a privilege because as a professor I am in a position to influence students’ education and maybe even their lives in a long-lasting way. I take my role as a professor very seriously, and as a result, I set goals for my teaching. One of my teaching goals is to encourage students to think about course material in meaningful ways. Teaching is more than just the process of imparting facts and theories to students. At the end of a semester, I believe that most students remember course material that they can meaningfully apply in their lives. Thus, I strive to engage my students in ways that make them think about the course material beyond what we have talked about in class or what they have read in the textbook.

Another one of my teaching goals is to create a reciprocal partnership with students. I have found that in most cases, the more effort you put into the course and helping students to learn, the more effort they will put into the course. Although, it is important to maintain a balance between teaching and research commitments, I try to give my students as much attention as possible. I strive to be approachable during class and outside of class and to create a supportive learning environment. I want students to feel comfortable talking openly and asking questions. If one student has a question, most likely others are wondering the same thing too. Regardless of the class size, I try to instill in my students the understanding that they can learn a lot from each other as well as from me. Particularly in larger classes, I have begun incorporating smaller group activities and exercises. This inclusion was based on comments I received on my course evaluations but also serves as a means of creating a supportive peer learning environment. I think having students work together in smaller groups can be very valuable. They learn how to scaffold each other’s learning and develop relationships that can be supportive learning resources.

Lastly, I strive to support all students in their quest for success in my courses and in their lives. Students define success very differently and have a variety of short-term and long-term goals they are working towards meeting. Although my class sizes are often large, I try to get to know my students as much as possible. By understanding their goals and abilities, I believe I can best help them to master the course material and hopefully to create successful learning strategies for future courses. At the end of each semester, my hope is that students have learned the course material. But, I also equally hope that they have learned something about themselves. Being a professor provides me with a unique opportunity to hopefully positively influence students as they progress through their academic journey and work towards their ultimate life goals.

For additional information on my work in the Fellows Program, please see my action research report on Metacognitive Awareness and the Use of Exam Wrappers in Psychology 100.