I have had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for the following courses at UH Mānoa: Introduction to Psychology (1 semester), Developmental Psychology (4 semesters), Writing Intensive course on the Development of Morality (6 semesters), and Personality Psychology (1 semester).

Since earning my Master's degree in Developmental Psychology, I have taught at both UH Mānoa and Leeward Community College. 

Semester School Course Taught Format
Fall 2014 UH Mānoa PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Lecture
Spring 2015 UH Mānoa PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Lecture
Spring 2015 UH Mānoa PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Online
Spring 2016 UH Mānoa PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Online
Spring 2016 Leeward CC PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Online
Summer 2016 Leeward CC FAMR 230: Human Development (2 sections) Online
Fall 2016 Leeward CC PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Online
Fall 2016 Leeward CC FAMR 230: Human Development Online
Spring 2017 Leeward CC FAMR 230: Human Development (4 sections) Online
Spring 2017 Leeward CC PSY 240: Developmental Psychology Online
Summer 2017 UH Manoa PSY 449: Media and Child Development Online

      As our society becomes more diverse, I believe it is important for students to learn that there is not just one way to do things. I have specifically chosen textbooks that focus on teaching child and lifespan development from a cultural approach; therefore, within their assigned reading, students not only learn the classic theories and research but also learn how these theories have been tested in other cultural contexts. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not condone infants co-sleeping with their parents, whereas many cultures around the world participate in this practice. In my classes, we discuss the reasons why Americans may be discouraged from co-sleeping (e.g., lots of soft bedding, wanting child to be independent) and why those reasons may not hold for other groups of people. As a short writing assignment, students are then asked to interview a parent they know about their infants’ sleeping arrangements and to write up a summary of the interview. Within this assignment and throughout my entire course, students are encouraged to think of differences in child-rearing strategies as products of cultural motivations and constraints instead of “wrong” ways of raising children.

     In addition to appreciating cultural differences outside of the classroom, I am also very motivated to use the diversity of my students as an asset within the classroom. For example, students are often encouraged to think about how they were raised and how that might relate to their own cultural backgrounds. I also seek to bring cultural practitioners into my classroom to share their expertise. For example, I include a guest lecture from a Native Hawaiian birthing practitioner in my courses during our unit on pregnancy and birth. When I am unable to find cultural practitioners to come into the classroom, I specifically use videos that include interviews from other cultures (e.g., puberty rituals in a Native American tribe).  I look forward to incorporating many kinds of diversity into my future teaching.

            I focus on critical thinking skills in my teaching because even though not many of my students will continue onto careers in child development, many of them will be parents or caregivers to children in their lifetimes. In fact, many of my previous students have commented that what they will remember about this class in 10 years is “applying the concepts I learned into raising my own children and family.” Therefore, my courses incorporate popular press articles aimed at parent audiences and require students to critically analyze these articles based on the course content we have learned. One of my favorite series of assignments is for students to first investigate and critique smartphone pregnancy apps, and then write a short paper about a smartphone app they would develop for parents of young children. I believe this assignment allows them to apply their knowledge of child development to a real-world issue they may face, whether they become the producers or consumers of such apps. Another favorite assignment asks students to find a popular press article related to child development and to write a letter to the author using course material they have learned about one point the author made well (according to research we have studied) and one place they were either wrong, needed more explanation, or needed to demonstrate more sensitivity to diverse practices in child development. 

            My third major goal in teaching is to provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge in child and lifespan development. Students are, of course, welcome to ask questions at any point throughout the class meeting. In addition, at the end of individual class meetings, students are encouraged to submit questions via Google Forms. Using this method, I am able to respond to individual students about questions they may have as well as address the entire class about questions several students have raised. For example, when teaching about children’s gender development, several students asked about how gender role development may be different for children being raised in same-sex households; I was able to look up related research and present it to the class during our next meeting. Several students have commented that this method helped them because they had questions but were hesitant to raise their hand in such a large class.