My courses primarily focus on issues within my joint disciplines related to multiculturalism, racialization, diversity, and social justice, with secondary foci on qualitative methods and applications of psychology (intervention and prevention).
I have always held strong ideals about teaching. I wish to convey the joy of knowledge-seeking while communicating the lived complexity of my subject matter. I aim to enable the process of critical thinking, including the ability to think creatively and to question not only what is known, but also how it comes to be known. I emphasize connections between disciplines, between new knowledge and what is previously known, between didactic material and lived experience/application. I believe these connections strengthen students' ability to integrate new and diverse concepts and perspectives into their existing worldviews, so that different subjects are not isolated in separate intellectual boxes. This integrated structure can then be foundational and applied to future learning experiences.
My teaching is based in my own intellectual curiosity. I favor a questioning approach that reflects my interest in and willingness to learn from others while simultaneously contributing my own ideas. I work to recognize and best contribute from my areas of expertise while also recognizing my limitations and areas where students or colleagues may offer more to me than I may to them. I value an openness to complexity and an appreciation of the difficult balance between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group or society.
The choices I make in my pedagogy reflect my goal of building bridges:
Developing learning objectives related to civic engagement and post-college preparation. Although every course has learning objectives related to understanding the content covered within the course, 'banking' knowledge and information is not enough. Goals for my courses aim at developing processes of understanding and awareness that help students understand their position within their lived contexts and develop skills that empower them to take action for their own success.
Choosing content and readings that relect multiple perspectives and invite critical thinking. When planning a course, I look not only at what is generally presented in the field, but also at what is frequently not presented. I balance these perspectives in choosing content, as I want students to have a good sense of what is generally known (and expected), along with an awareness of what may frequently be excluded (and why). I aim to ensure that readings and other content reflect a diversity of voices and approaches, including quantitative and qualitative methods; theory, research and personal narrative; critical and traditional views; and diverse representations in relation to race, culture, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability and other variables specifically relevant to a particular course. I particularly attend to the inclusion of voices that are silenced or frequently not included in academic discourse--even discourse specifically about marginalized peoples (e.g., including a narrative about Arab ethnicity in my multicultural psychology course, or addressing LGBT issues within Asian American Psychology) and voices that may be present in students in my class but frequently missing from course material (e.g., a narrative reflecting the Hmong refugee experience in my Asian American Psychology class). I emphasize connections between the personal and the social and invite critical thinking by including content that addresses both perspectives explicitly and that explores influences, implications, and interventions at the individual, familial, group, and social levels.
Developing a teaching style that fosters empowerment and engagement. The content and pedagogy of my teaching challenge students conceptually, culturally, and emotionally. I invite multiple voices through making my own biases transparent so that students feel they can have experiences and views that differ from my own and through creating a safe space within which to explore new knowledge and potentially to change one's views. I include multiple ways of exploring, expressing, and assessing oneself, and I explicitly name the cultural bases of these approaches in order to facilitate connections (e.g., using a talking stick or fan or shell from Native American traditions or exploring how analogy or story-telling may reflect and influence expression in Latino or African American cultures). I integrate community based learning experiences and discuss explicitly the kinds of learning that come from (co)action and 'service.' I also create assignments with multiple parts that thematically build upon each other, so the whole of the students' learning is greater than each assignment in isolation. My assignments frequently have students produce and disseminate their own knowledge through various types of research and/or self-reflection. While I offer many resources and opportunities to students, learning must ultimately be their responsibility, both for themselves individually and also for creating a shared learning community with others in the classroom.
Mentoring. I infuse my teaching with practices of modeling and mentoring to enable students to develop their voices and abilities to create connections, and to deepen their commitments to learn and make positive change individually and together with others. My mentoring aims to not only enhance students' research skills and interests, but also to reveal the challenges of being a minority psychologist and faculty member; provide support for experiences as Asian American/minority/ally students; develop skills to foster allies and supports; and connect students to resources to support their professional development as Asian American, racial minority, or ally psychologists. Similarly, I also choose to be involved with mentoring undergraduates outside of the classroom, both directly and through intentional structures that involve doctoral students. I recognize that many undergraduate students--particularly those from racial minority, urban, or working class background--not only face profound barriers in gaining higher education themselves, but also represent significant sociocultural, linguistic, and economic resources for their families and communities. If mentored and supported, they can not only apply their psychological understandings to address critical issues such as intergenerational conflict that affect their own families and communities, but they can also contribute their bilingual/bicultural strengths to health and human service agencies or other settings that urgently need to become more culturally sensitive.