MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

    Beyond the goal of developing basic competencies in my students, the core of my teaching philosophy rests upon the idea of progress and its relationship to the development of personal autonomy, the importance of collaboration, and what the sharing of my own life experiences has to offer. Moreover, in light of the “replication crisis” in psychology, I believe in teaching the scientific process and not just the content. Thus, I am dedicated to teaching the latest methods and advancements in the field.

    Developing autonomy: Progress begins with the individual. My goal is to help students develop as independent thinkers that can critically evaluate, and if need be, challenge established orthodoxy. Students are embedded in the web of ideas of those who came before. Scientific and socio-cultural advances require familiarity with the past; however, they also depend crucially on the perception that progress is possible. Therefore, I work with students to cultivate a sense of self-efficacy and personal agency in the pursuit of growth. 

 

    The importance of collaboration: Progress continues with collaboration. My goal is to help students think globally, by emphasizing a shared humanity and the power of cooperation. I believe that no human is an island—the pursuit of scientific and socio-cultural advances require that we work together to exchange and evaluate ideas. Overall, I aim to show students how valuing and integrating the unique contributions of others is key to personal and societal growth.

 

    Sharing life experiences: I believe that the professor unavoidably is and should be a role model. Students not only want to learn the knowledge that I learned, but they want to know how I arrived at where I am. Moreover, my story is one of progress and not perfection. The sharing of my life experiences is testament to the power of the individual, the importance of community in overcoming adversity, and the reality of redemption. I do not come from a college educated family, and my teenage years and early twenties led me to believe I would not see my 30th birthday. By integrating my life experiences into my lectures, I am able to provide inspiration at a time in the students’ life when it is needed most. When one of my pupils shouted “dude you give me hope” during a lecture, I knew that my experiences could help nurture others who have struggled to find their way. This is something I look forward to doing more of.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

  • Grand Valley State University, 2019-2020 Visiting Professor of Psychology, Introduction to Psychology 101 and Research Methods in Psychology 300, August 2019–May 2020

  • Chattanooga State Community College, Introduction to Psychology 1030, January–May 2019 

  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Introduction to Psychology 1010, August–December 2018

  • Coventry University, Research into Human Behaviour workshop 1003PY, January–April 2018

  • Coventry University, Investigating Psychological Approaches to Crime workshop 1003PC, January–April 2018

  • Coventry University, Qualitative Techniques and Research Design for Psychologists 256PY,

January–May 2017

  • Coventry University, Research and Academic Skills 122PY, September–December 2016

  • Coventry University, Sciences of the Mind workshop 250PY, September–December 2016

  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Modern Psychological Studies PSY 3580R, August 2014–May 2015

Belief, Brain, and Behaviour

Research Laboratory

© 2020 by Thomas J. Coleman III - Reuse and credit me, but don't steal my stuff yo.

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