Thursday, June 4, 2009

They Asked About My "Teaching Philosophy"

Hmmm, this week I was asked to describe my “personal teaching philosophy,” so rather than reinventing the wheel, I decided to unearth a previous request for my “personal teaching philosophy” (an SOP – standard operating procedure -- when applying for faculty positions ;-)

Naturally, although I searched diligently, I had nothing already typed & ready to cut/paste, but I managed to dig this little ditty out of a file – it was from my application package for my faculty job here at the college!

So here we go, from way back when, what, six years ago?

I’m always looking for new ways to bring technology into the classroom, and with my diverse student population, I tend to “pull out all the stops” to capture their attention! (In fact, I’m known in my department for my video library, as I love to play short video clips in class to spark student interest.) I must confess, I’m constantly “searching the satellite” (and newspapers and magazines and textbook CD-roms for intriguing applications). I think back to when I was a student in their shoes and the most boring thing in the world to me was a dry lecture!

I find that the best way to elicit creativity from students is to model it. My emphasis is on applied learning, so I do everything I can possibly think of to make topics hit home and “light up” for students. In my 200-level courses, students keep application journals and portfolios, which they contribute to weekly, using examples from their daily lives. In my 101 courses, I give students specific projects, like describing the “role-playing” (dramaturgy) or their work settings, or describing the primary “agents of socialization” in their lives. Because I emphasize visual illustrations, I find that they’re very creative in their own presentations. Everyone wins, because students strive to creatively demonstrate learning, their classmates display great interest, and (hopefully!) some information will be retained a few years into the future.

This is actually quite endearing and adorable to reflect back on the Karly from six years ago – I’m still the same WYSIWYG girl ( … And I’m still a fan of the approach I described above (imagine that?!) only I’ve bumped up my technological tools a notch or two. My videos were converted to digital files (by TELS and mainly me! over the last several years) which I can just click and play in my classes (for educational use only ;-) My students no longer complete PowerPoints for their final projects, but thanks to Todd Conaway’s guidance and expertise, they complete e-portfolios which they can share with their classmates on I’ve recorded all of my lectures on Tegrity ( which students can download to their iPods for their viewing/listening enjoyment at times that are convenient for them. We bring in guest lecturers via Skype And thanks to YouTube, my students and I can now engage in “dueling video clips” – kind of like Battle of the Bands on who has the best video clip to relate to our topic of the day.

Finally, I know I’m on the slow bus here, but I uploaded all of my music to my brand spankin’ new iPod (well, since Christmas) and made mP3 copies of all my fave songs before casting my CDs to the wind. These, of course, are organized on my external hard drives (yes I now have three mirrored drives ;-) with my video clips per class topic/chapter. So I can now play a “song of the day” that’s related to my class content as my students saunter in. And mock me for playing songs by The Cars and such ;-) Btw, my high school bf (who recently found me on Facebook, no less) collaboratively determined with me via email that Dangerous Type belongs squarely in the Psy 101 Mental Health file Thanks Marky Mark!


  1. My, but you have been a busy baker! You seem to keep up on all of the latest techno-academic moves. I guess this is why you are in this class. Right?
    How many computers do you have your iPod Music and Digital photo collections on? This is a common problem. How to keep your music and photos current, organized and backed up!

  2. Have you used to open a class? It creates quite an impression!

  3. I knew you were a technowizard when I heard you say you could teach a social ethnography class using only clips of Seinfeld (or was it The Simpsons? - either one would be entertaining as well as oddly educational!) I appreciate your sharing and freely giving ideas to the rest of us remedial cases!