What sort of student
I was a total psychology nerd, the type of student who read
everything assigned, the chapters not assigned, and asked for recommendations
for more books and articles. Now my
students (current and former) will send me links to articles that made them
think of me, or of my classes. This
summer I’m reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts
by Susan Cain; that’s my idea of fun beach reading.
Who is your favorite
Jean Piaget! As an
undergraduate, I was a research assistant to Hans Furth, who studied with
Piaget. I became a huge fan of Piaget
and was envious of the picture Dr. Furth had in his office of himself with
Piaget. I always wanted MY picture with
Piaget! Years later, my husband had an
artist friend make a life size cardboard cut-out of Piaget for me. It’s in my office (I can’t keep him at home
because my dog is scared of him!).
Piaget visits my classes every semester.
Now my students love to have their pictures taken with Piaget!
Who is your least
When I was in high school and first decided I wanted to be a
psychologist, I read many of his books on autism. Once I took my first psychology class in
college, I found out that his theories (of unaffectionate parents causing
autism) had been discredited. After his
death, reports came out that he was abusive to children at his school. I’ve always regretted that I spent so much of
my teen years reading and believing his work, when he was not only wrong, but also
an unethical human being.
What are three words
that best describe you?
Optimistic, enthusiastic, and empathetic
What is your favorite
class to teach?
My favorite class is Child Psychology; I have taught it
every semester since 1986, and I still love it!
I have toys that I bring to class to demonstrate various theories (such
as such as concepts from Piaget’s stages of cognitive development); I am known for
my "Tickle Me Freud” doll, finger puppets of famous psychologists and anecdotes
about my children and numerous nieces and nephews. I tell my students that I have the most fun
job I can imagine! Every semester I
learn something new: there are always new findings to share with my students
and we have wonderful classroom discussions about their childhood
experiences. I teach at a very diverse
university, and I particularly enjoy learning about my students’ childhoods in
other countries and cultures.