Without the encouragement of my teachers, I would not be where I am today. It is with this thought that I step into each and every learning environment. Good teaching encourages the students’ abilities to help them make sense of their world. From my experience in teaching both online and in-person classes, I have found that learning does not lie solely in readings and note-taking, rather it is a reflexive and dynamic process that must include exposure to diverse approaches that center around hands-on experience and knowledge application.
I use a variety of teaching and learning strategies in the classroom. I use a combination of lecture and active learning strategies, providing students with knowledge not only about the content of the class, but information they can use. Applying the course material to current events and personal experiences in the students’ lives allows them to see the big picture and the immediate relevance of what they are learning. To illustrate concepts, I support my lectures with YouTube clips, exercises, and assignments to further engage students, while reinforcing key concepts of the course. I also believe that experiential learning is an effective strategy.
One example of experiential learning, was in my CAS 825 course, the students had to develop a health communication campaign for a local health organization/entity. Through this project, they were able to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom to a real situation. They were able to apply theory and conduct actual research to develop this campaign. Through this experience, the students were able to connect how all of these pieces interact.
In my applied courses, students had the opportunity to write press releases for real events, and then see how their release influenced the public. Additionally, I organize and coordinate two courses that connect the students with public relations profession in both the Lansing area and in Chicago. Not only have those experiences helped the students make connections for after graduation, but it helps them connect what they have been learning in the classroom to their future work. Further, those experiences help me stay relevant has a teacher and understand the current environment of the public relations industry.
I rely and value observations and feedback from my students and peers to further guide the development of my instruction. I believe my growth as a teacher-scholar never ends, I am always seeking to improve. As I guide my students through the material, I am constantly reflecting and processing the feedback I receive from them to grow as an instructor. Reflection enables me to make sure that students are acquiring the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to be successful. If I find that something does not work well, I will make changes. Similarly, when I find something works particularly well, I reflect on what made it work so well and use it again in the future.
Overall, my student evaluations have been consistently excellent (mean: 1.76, Range: 1.65-1.83). I am further hoping to improve on my teaching through the Adams Academy Fellowship which I was accepted for the 2018-2019 year.
Last, I strive to know each and every student personally. I find that this makes the class more enjoyable, provides a safe learning environment. Students are encouraged to express their ideas and to share their own experiences. Knowing them allows me to encourage students to reach their full potential.