Santa Monica, CADepartment:
BA in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University; MA and PhD in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara
What is your role at the COE?
I am a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. Since 1991, I have been teaching writing intensive sections of psychological foundations to pre-service teachers and others. I also teach graduate seminars on university teaching and writing for publication in education, as well as numerous classes in development and learning, educational research, and educational psychology. I particularly enjoy teaching in other parts of the world, so I've taught 22 courses in our college’s Territorial Teacher Training Program in American Sāmoa (TTTAP). I've also taught courses at the College of Micronesia, Chuuk campus. I've recently added to my international teaching experience by conducting workshops at universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – both as part of our COE's international efforts and collaborations.
How did you become interested in educational psychology?
After completing my BA degree and without any teaching preparation, I became a 9th and 10th grade English teacher at a private alternative school in Southern California. Over half of my students had been expelled from other schools, making my job challenging and my teaching strategies largely trial-and-error. I started taking education classes at night at CSU Northridge to help me in my teaching. I grew interested in how teachers can best be prepared and in the psychology of learning and teaching, particularly in literacy and science areas. I always knew I wanted to earn a PhD, and educational psychology seemed like the perfect field.
Please comment briefly on the importance of general educational psychology.
General Educational Psychology helps us to understand how people learn and how to teach effectively. I believe a basic understanding of educational psychology is useful for anyone – teachers, parents and future-parents, those involved in the business world who supervise and train employees, and those involved in human services.
What is your own philosophy of teaching?
My philosophy of teaching is a very simple one. Teaching is a process of continuous learning and growth.
What are your future plans?
To see my academic books Becoming a Professor: A Guide to a Career in Higher Education (Iding & Thomas) and A Guide to Teaching at Colleges and Universities (Iding & Thomas) published with Rowman & Littlefield. In my spare time, I also tinker with writing fiction, and it would be wonderful to see my young adult novel, Shark Catcher, about an American Sāmoan boy published, too.