By: GSTA Editorial Team members Teresa M. Ober, Elizabeth S. Che, Jessica E. Brodsky, Charles Raffaele, and Patricia J. Brooks
The Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA), led for six years by graduate students in Psychology and Educational Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), recently compiled and edited a *free* electronic handbook (eBook) for new college teachers. How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching which is now available for download on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website.
In editing the eBook, we were frequently asked what is transformative teaching? In our view, it involves teaching with the ultimate goal of changing students’ lives for the better. Transformative teachers make a difference by seeing the potential in their students, setting up appropriate challenges, and providing encouragement and support for their students to push boundaries and adapt quickly to shifting environments. We have come to view transformative teaching as instruction and course design that promotes student engagement, fosters personal growth and agency, and connects psychological science in relevant ways to issues of global and local concern.
As graduate students and early career college teachers, we recognize it can be challenging to figure out where to start in becoming more transformative teachers. How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching provides practical guidance for teachers at all levels of experience and is particularly written specifically for current and future graduate students. Our hope is that the volume will serve as a valuable resource for new instructors as they embark on careers as teachers of psychology.
In editing the eBook, we have had the unique privilege of interfacing with experienced and novice instructors of psychology, and have observed the development of our own professional identities in the process. Many of the contributors have been instrumental in helping to shape not just our perspectives, but also broader discussions around the teaching of psychology. We are deeply grateful to the contributing authors for taking the time to share their insights and experiences here.
Acknowledging the remarkable work that has been done to promote better college teaching in the field of psychology, we also recognize that the institutions and general context in which our students are taught is far from perfect. Indeed, at no point in recent history does there appear as desperate a need to transform students' lives for the better, both now and in the foreseeable future. College classes throughout the U.S. are increasingly taught by adjunct and graduate student instructors with limited experience and who work burdened with the expectation of efficient time management in order to balance other demanding professional and scholarly obligations, including research and coursework. On top of this, educators and students alike are now simultaneously coping with, adjusting to, and further preparing for the repercussions of a global pandemic that within a matter of a few months swiftly upended routines taken for granted. In our daily lives, the ability to simply leave our homes and venture into the world has become less of a viable option. In our lives as teachers, replacing in-class instruction with online learning has become a necessity or a likely future possibility. The current situation would seem to be rife for instructional, professional, and personal chaos, yet many teachers have acted as silent heroes, handling the situation with earnest concern for students and others.
Though it is too soon to know the long-term consequences that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on K-16 education throughout the world, we are confident that there will remain a need for transformative teachers who are capable of providing opportunities for students to learn new knowledge and skills while also educating them to become more compassionate and justice-oriented. To that end, we hope this eBook may provide a foundation for new, experienced, and future instructors to develop transformative practices and further instill a sense of these values through transformative teaching.
How We Teach Now (Volume 2): The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching
Click here for a list of the chapters contents, and to download your own copy.
This blog post originally appeared in the blog for the Program in Educational Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY and has been republished with permission.
Teresa M. Ober, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame working in the Learning Analytics and Measurement in Behavioral Sciences (LAMBS) Lab. While completing a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a certificate in Instructional Technology and Pedagogy from the Graduate Center CUNY, Teresa served as the GSTA Chair (2017-2018). Teresa’s current work focuses on the science of learning, particularly the use of learning analytics, online and educational technologies to support learning, as well as literacy development, and statistics education.
Elizabeth S. Che is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include the use of Wikipedia editing to develop students’ writing and other teaching practices that foster the development of workforce relevant skills. She served as the GSTA Deputy Chair from 2017-2018 and GSTA Chair from 2019-May 2020.
Jessica E. Brodsky is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include media literacy assessment and instruction, and development of online resources for teaching scientific and quantitative literacies. She served as the GSTA Deputy Chair from January 2018 - May 2019 and is currently the GSTA Chair.
Charles Raffaele is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests include multimedia-based and game-based second language learning. He is a member of the Child Interactive Learning and Development (CHILD) Lab and the Studying and Self-Regulated Learning SIG of the American Educational Research association. He has served in various capacities of the GSTA since 2015.Patricia J. Brooks, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests are in three broad areas: 1) individual differences in first- and second-language learning; 2) the impact of digital media on learning and development; 3) development of effective pedagogy to support diverse learners. Dr. Brooks served as the Faculty Advisor to the GSTA from 2014-2019.