Teaching Philosophy


        After years of teaching undergraduate statistics and a variety of laboratory courses, my assignments have changed.   Now I teach life-span developmental psychology every semester and summer, and also teach child psychology during the summer.  In undergraduate lecture courses I outline important points before lecturing, encourage a great deal of student participation, and summarize the points covered at the beginning of the next class meeting.  The material covered is selected to represent those aspects of developmental psychology most useful to undergraduates from a variety of majors.  Only the most relevant material from the text is assigned; readings vary from a few pages to no more than one chapter per week.  Students are expected to know that material very well!
Class meetings are enlivened with many descriptions of real life experiences which exemplify the concepts covered, and with graphic and cartoon transparencies from popular sources that make points treated in the text or lectures.
Children's books and excerpts from magazines add variety to the readings.
          I frequently engage undergraduate students as research assistants in efforts to improve children's cognitive development.  Taking important roles in research projects, these students earn credit toward their degree and co-author papers published in professional journals.  Five GMU undergraduates under my tutelage have even been sole authors of journal articles on topics of their own choice.


    I was hired to teach research methods and statistics for GMU's new graduate program, and did so for 20 years.  Recently my teaching has shifted to life-span development, theories of development, cognitive development, special topics on the graduate level, and supervision of graduate student practica.  I follow a strategy of focusing on the most useful and relevant topics, paring readings down to that material, and combining a solid text with cutting-edge articles from professional journals.  Graduate classes almost always involve essay exams and one term paper.  If the class is small, students may make brief classroom presentations.
     Much of my graduate teaching involves directing individuals and teams in research projects.  To learn more about that, go to the heading on this web page entitled RESEARCH!