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Teaching Philosophy
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Teaching Philosophy


My name is Stephanie L. Brooke, PhD, NCC. I am a teacher, writer, and counselor. I teach general psychology, introduction to sociology, child and adolescent development, life span development, abnormal psychology, personality theory, interpersonal relations, cultural diversity, family violence, organizational psychology, social problems, motivation and emotion, emotional intelligence, sociology of business, workplace motivation, human services, communication, philosophy, general and professional studies, introduction to psychology, and art therapy. I teach in traditional, face to face, colleges as well as online universities, which utilize asynchronous communication to promote learning.


I have been teaching since 1994 face to face in the areas of psychology and sociology. Since 2000, I have been teaching online in the same areas along with philosophy and communication. Although I became Nationally Certified as a Counselor and Certified Art Therapist, I began teaching and enjoyed it so much that I decided to shift my career focus from counseling to teaching. I have a passion for teaching, which keeps me committed to the field. Further, I consult in the areas of assessment, online instruction, trauma issues, and art therapy.


Students should derive long-term benefits from their time in my classes by continuing to grow and develop. Rather than supply students with static facts as Friere calls the banking method of education, I believe that I will serve them better by teaching them how to define a problem, how to decide what they need to solve it, how to find and evaluate new information, how to recognize their limits, and how to be prepared both for change and to change. I prefer to involve the student in a creative thinking process through a Socratic dialogue that fosters critical thinking skills. I believe that students should be active in the learning process. In all my classes, I seek to accomplish the following pedagogical objectives with my students:

  • to learn the fundamental content of the course
  • to foster critical thinking
  • to acquire life-long learning skills
  • to function effectively in an information economy
  • to develop problem-solving strategies in reference to contemporary, historical, and dilemma/decision cases related to the course content
  • to apply theory to real life examples
  • to develop oral and written communication skills
  • to work effectively in groups
  • to become an active learner

I use the following group activities and other strategies to keep my students involved and feeling part of a learning community during class: inquiry, group discussions, case studies, interactive lectures, human relations group techniques such as community ethnologies, instructional technology (particularly the use of the Internet), problem-based learning, and cooperative learning. I model and debrief the above strategies with my students. I do this because they gain knowledge about the strategies, which is a major part of the content in all the courses I teach, and students’ experience how strategies can be applied in their own educational and work experiences. Learning is enhanced and retention improved because students are actively involved through the use of these strategies, which serve to engage students in working together to further a sense of community.

I think that learning is a socially constructed. Thus, my students need opportunities to collaborate with each other, as well as with me, to learn and gain expertise applied the concepts learned in the classroom. To be effective in educational and work teams, my students must have the opportunity to take responsibility for becoming life-long learners. According to Bloom, group activities promote masterly learning; therefore, I use the group approach in traditional classrooms as well as the online environment. I want my students to become empowered by their own learning and development as students and professionals. I create situations where students can take charge for what they learn and apply it to their professions. Ethnographies provide an opportunity for community based learning.

Professional and Academic Preparation:

I continue to learn from experience. Often, I will visit other instructor's classes to learn alternate teaching approaches. Additionally, I study the literature about the dynamics of teaching (Teaching of Psychology Journal) and about my discipline so I can improve my effectiveness as an instructor.

My primary goal is to have a positive effect on the students' future professional practice. Part of the impact involves stimulating students to consider situations from perspectives different from those they normally adopt. This goal also involves encouraging students to develop career-long habits of self-motivated learning. I accomplish these goals by implementing the case method and problem based teaching approaches in my classes, earning the highest degree in my field, attending professional conferences, presenting at professional conferences, networking with colleagues, becoming a member of professional organizations, participating in training sessions, updating certifications, and continuing to publish books and journal articles in the field.

Commitment to Teaching:

I want my students to understand that the professional world they will inhabit. As future professionals, they can make a difference through their work endeavors. My commitment is to teach the whole person, i.e., the cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions of the human being. I feel that an effective teacher helps each individual appreciate the potential that resides within all of us -- the potential to make the best use of our minds, our hearts, and those behaviors that can make the world a better place.

Realistically, it is impossible for me to be everything to all students. It is healthy for my students to see that I do not have all the answers and that I must deal with contradictions about teaching and life just as they will. To embrace these contradictions and gaps in knowledge creates the opportunity for new understanding and alternate ways of looking at the world. Technology is an important part of my work because as an instructional tool it brings up contradictions for students regarding their conceptions of what it means to learn in the Information Age. Furthermore, the rapid change in instructional uses of technology keeps me constantly searching for ways to show students the value of the educational potential of culturally transforming developments such as the Internet. My students are the future intellectuals of this culture. As Ayn Rand states, "Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards."

In summary, I want to make a difference in the lives of my students, which incorporates values about an informed citizenry, self-fulfillment, thinking critically about information/situations, and understanding and developing the means to achieve one's life-goals. I reflect on these values, articulate them, make them explicit and public, and use them as a guide to clarify and develop my teaching practices.

Below, left to right, are evaluations from my students, as well as letters of recommendation from supervisors. To read, click the thumbnail and a new browser window will open, displaying the respective document.

Student Evaluation, March 31, 2004
Student Evaluation, May 14, 2006
Supervisor Evaluation, June 3, 2004
Supervisor Evaluation June, 2004
Supervisor Evaluation, November 11,2004
Supervisor Evaluation November, 2004
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