As a mass media scholar, I find myself always asking the types of research questions that force me to peel back layers. More importantly, as an instructor, I push my students to be critical thinkers. For it is vital for college students to be able to understand concepts like ontology and epistemology, or how theory necessitates our understanding of the world around us within the field of communication. Mayer (2010) argues “students need to learn that debate, tension, discord, and cognitive dissonance are all opportunities to expand one’s perspective, delve deeper into a topic, better understand opposing views, and so on; hence we need not avoid them" (p.186). Therefore, my approach to teaching involves lively classroom discussion.
I am passionate about the discipline and am especially excited to be a womanist scholar. My goal as a lecturer is to get the students enthusiastic about learning. Once that occurs, they contribute to the classroom in ways that are fruitful and engaging. While most communication students welcome the prospect of a career in Public Relations or as a broadcaster on television, getting them to see the social science aspect is what will make them better communication professionals and also prepare them for graduate coursework, which leads to my next point.
Writing assignments are essential to helping the students develop intellectually as well as preparing them to be competitive while on the job market. Whether I am teaching them the fundamentals of how to author research papers, or if they are creating materials for a media kit, the goal is to make for certain that my students know how to gather information and to create meaningful messages. These skills are critical to their success in the communications industry. Therefore, I rely on a variety of classroom techniques, and I find that the use of technology is beneficial to include in conjunction to lecturing. When students can visualize and determine the distinctions between public relations, advertising, and or digital journalistic writing tactics, they become well-rounded. Technology provides me with the opportunity to share TED Talks, YouTube videos, news clippings, interviews, or whatever is appropriate to illustrate the point that I am trying to make.
As a college instructor, I am privileged to teach students from diverse populations, socioeconomic classes, and cultural groups. Therefore, I am particularly careful to be sensitive to the complexity of any given class, and I am mindful to encourage constructive ideas of exchange between myself and the students. I find that my approach to teaching is to that of a mentor and in an advising role. I encourage the students to contact me for additional help when needed. I also allow them to find ways to link assignments to their prospective job industries. I assist them with finding internships, and I routinely invite guest industry leaders to interact with my class.
This variation of techniques and strategies assist me to guide and to give my students a quality collegiate educational experience. I believe that students should leave college prepared and able to compete on a global scale. By providing them with excellence in the classroom and expecting excellent work in return, they too will become tomorrow's professional leaders.