Welcome to the GSTA blog! 

In an effort to keep the Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA) blog current, we regularly welcome submissions from graduate students as well as full-time faculty. As a blog team, we advocate for and promote inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in pedagogy (see updated GSTA Position Statement from the Steering Committee). At this critical juncture in history, we have declared our solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and are motivated to use this platform to feature voices for change in the following areas as outlined by the GSTA:

  • Suggestions relating to decolonizing syllabi by including the work of scholars and psychologists from diverse identities and backgrounds.

  • Tips on adopting anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching and assessment practices.

  • Recommendations on creating inclusive learning environments that celebrate diversity and do not tolerate discrimination.

  • Strategies on discussing how discrimination and inequity have shaped the field of psychology and the world around us  with students and colleagues.

  • Tips on engaging with students and colleagues across disciplines in activism to create change in classrooms, institutions, and communities.

  • Input on being compassionate and supportive to students, colleagues, and ourselves during these times.

We are also still committed to diversifying blog content to include submissions ranging from new research in the area of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), public interest topics related to teaching and psychology, occasional book reviews, as well as continuing our traditional aim by including posts about teaching tips. Example topic areas include:

  • Highlights of your current SoTL research

  • Issues related to teaching and psychology in the public interest

  • Reviews of recent books related to teaching and psychology

  • Teaching tips and best practices for today's classroom

  • Advice for successfully navigating research and teaching demands of graduate school

  • We would especially like activities that align with APA 2.0 Guidelines!

The blog posts are typically short, ranging from about 500-1000 words, not including references. As it is an online medium, in-text hyperlinks, graphics, and even links to videos are strongly encouraged!

As we focus the spotlight on inclusion and non-discrimination, we will continue to provide  graduate students and faculty an outlet to share their experiences, ideas, and opinions regarding graduate students’ teaching practices.

If you would like for any questions to be addressed, you can send them to and we will post them as a comment on your behalf. If you are interested in submitting a post, please email us at 

Thanks for checking us out,

The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

Hallie Jordan, Sarah Frantz, Maya Rose, Raoul RobertsTashiya Hunter, Laura Mason and Megan Nadzan

Follow us on twitter @gradsteachpsych or join our Facebook Group.

  • 20 Nov 2014 1:09 PM | Anonymous

    Noba announced a student video project earlier this Fall with a March 27th 2015 deadline. Be sure to check it out and see if there are ways of incorporating it into the Spring 2015 syllabus! And good luck!


    Noba’s mission is to bring the highest quality psychology learning materials to students everywhere for free ( We also believe in creating opportunities for students to get involved in engaging, active learning. With that goal in mind, Noba is offering $10,000 in student awards for active learning video projects in the 2014-2015 academic year.

    We want students to bring the science of psychology to life in creative and memorable ways. The focus of the 2015 Noba Student Video Award is “Social Influence”. We challenge students to choose a central concept related to social influence from either of two online Noba modules and create a short video that is engaging, memorable and will help other students better understand the concept, phenomenon, or experiment that has been selected.

    The two modules to choose from are . . .

    • 1.      Persuasion:  So Easy Fooled (
    • 2.      Conformity and Obedience (

    Noba will award $6,000 for the top honor and $3,000 and $1,000 for the second and third place submissions. Winning videos will also be featured on the Noba website within the modules they focus on and become a part of the learning experience for other students.

    The Award guidelines and submission form can be found at

    The submission deadline is March 27, 2015.

    Questions can be directed to

  • 18 Nov 2014 4:38 PM | Anonymous

    The Graduate Center, CUNY, just established a Mentorship in Teaching of Psychology Program that will group experienced graduate student teacher-mentors with novice graduate student teacher-mentees to provide support from course set up and classroom management (e.g. syllabus design, textbook choice, classroom activities, scheduling, exam writing, grading/assessment, attendance, problem students, extra credit, change of grade requests).

    While this mentor system is new to The Graduate Center we're wondering whether any other programs have implemented something like it and if so how your experience has been! Comment below.

    In our mentors blogging for this week they discuss their thoughts about student engagement:

    Rita El-Haddad: I give my students weekly, scheduled quizzes. The material of the quiz consists of what we covered in the previous class and I specify which lecture slides students should study. After students hand in their quizzes, we go over the answers as a class. I provide the correct answers and also ask students what they wrote. There is more than one way to get full credit on some questions and students get to hear differing versions of correct answers. I feel that going over the answers and asking students to explain what they wrote is useful because students will reinforce their knowledge about the material and immediately clear up any potential misunderstandings. Students will also see what material will be important for upcoming exams.

    Kim Schanz: I include at least three media clips into every lecture as I feel it helps the students further understand the topics I’m discussing in terms of providing a talking point to explain the topics in a concrete, as opposed to theoretical, manner.  For example, in my class on adult development, we discussed what a “mid-life crisis” was, and while there is a stereotypical notion that most people know, I wanted to make sure the students understood what a “mid-life crisis” actually entailed.  I showed the extended trailer for the movie “This is 40,” which illustrated the main aspects of a “mid-life crisis”: unhappiness with your current life, a desire to change it, and actions towards changing your life as you see fit, despite what others think.

    Rita Obeid:  I teach a three hour class that usually covers one topic in Psychology (e.g., Social Psychology) so it tends to be a bombardment of information. While I do engage the students with discussions, activities, and videos, I decided to embed slides with true or false questions after every small section. The students seem to find this simple technique easy and it allows almost the whole class, even the silent students, to participate. It also seem to capture their interests again if they are starting to get tired and allows me to clear up common misconceptions that they may have missed during the lecture. I mostly like these questions because they’re easy to prep and students get very engaged and interested.

    Justina Oliveira: In my courses, I focus on helping students connect course content to daily experiences. To engage students in this process, they complete journal-entry assignments that consist of informal writing (one page) for which I pay attention to their ideas instead of grammar or structure. These seem most effective when requiring students to define the term/theory and then asking them to describe how either they or someone they know had a real experience related to that topic. This technique pushes students to be agents of learning as opposed to passive learners. If they link psychological terms with real examples, the importance of what they’re learning is made clear to them beyond the purposes of my classroom and they become more interested in the content.

  • 23 Oct 2014 3:08 PM | Anonymous
    The GSTA is proud to announce the launching of a Book Club this semester. Here, we will explore notable works on the theory and practice of teaching.

    Our first book, Ambrose et al. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass ISBN: 978-0-470-48410-4, introduces readers to seven general principles of student learning that are grounded in learning theory and distilled from the research literature and experience. The discussion will begin on December 1st. Be sure to pick up your copy of our first book and join us with other beginner and veteran teachers by contributing you own insights and questions about the book on our blog (!

  • 22 Oct 2014 5:51 PM | Anonymous

    By Peri Ozlem Yuksel-Sokmen, College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center, CUNY

    I study social routines as a framework to examine how children develop communicative skills in various contexts and cultures. In this blog, I will argue that routines are critical components for classroom practices in higher education, too. I will use the analogy of early joint activity to show how routines provide structure and promote a positive learning environment in which learning is made to stick.

    Routines such as getting dressed, pretend play, or joint picture book reading take place in the daily lives of young minds and provide vital contexts for learning to occur in a repetitive and structured, yet fun way. Children learn how their social world is organized, the words and tools experts use in relation to each context, and learn to become a member of their cultural community by participating in daily activities with others. Colleges are also communities of practices. Students come here to continue with the joy of learning to become competent leaders in their communities and future professions.

    Effective teaching starts with clear establishment of rules and procedures crucial to control and engage a crowd in larger lecture halls or to maintain reciprocal responsibilities and roles in smaller class room settings (Hilton, 1999; Schroeder, Stephens, & Williams, 2013). From day one the instructor has to make clear that students are expected to be respectful and will not disturb the learning process at any time.  For instance, a strict rule may apply to cell phone policy, not bursting in or out the room when someone else is presenting, or requiring students to read or complete certain assignments before coming to class. Learning-centered teaching involves that students come prepared to class and know that they have to repeat this to every class session. The same applies to cheating and plagiarism, and making sure that students know from day one that breaking rules for ethical misconduct has consequences. These classroom rules set the parameters for maintaining a learning experience without disruptions and dishonesty (tips for students you should also be aware of:

    Above and beyond these basic regulations for maintaining an ideal learning environment, there is a list of established routines psychology teachers can include into their teaching practices for learning to be more memorable. The easiest one is to start with greeting your students upon entering the classundefined a routine that might even increase student test scores (Weinstein, Laverghetta, Alexander, & Stewart, 2009).  Before you move on to a new class topic or lecture series, it is a good routine to ask students to a) summarize main points from the previous class session and to b) speculate about the upcoming class topic. This can be done as a short writing activity. The activity creates student reflection on past and future learning (metacognition). At the same time the speculation is meant to foster curiosity: It enhances recollection of past materials and excites students for new learning (Bonwell, 1991). Another great routine involves the establishment of ‘circle time’ , especially appropriate for lab classes (seating arrangement matters). Facing peers instead of their back provides students the opportunity to interact with each other and to narrate what they have learned. Because learning sticks if students understand what they have learned.


    “Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.” (Chickering & Gamson, 1987, p. 3)


    The routines presented here are just a few quick and easy conventions to run a class but they also require that students understand the rational behind your established rituals in order to be involved and to become active learning partners. Effective teachers also know that routines or class rituals require time preparation and modifications depending on the class format (lab class vs. large lecture class) and task at hand. Routines establish a culture of practice necessary to acquire knowledge and develop new ones.


    You cannot teach an old dog new tricks but you can teach your students the routines of thinking to remember to remember to learn. And to repeat to think. In this sense, wishing you a happy routining.


    Bonwell, C. C. (1991). Active learning: Creating excitement in the classroom. Active learning workshops. Retrieved on October 11, 2014 from

    Chickering, A.W. & Gamson, Z.F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice. AAHE Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.

    Hilton, J. L. (1999). Teaching large classes. In B. Perlman, L. I. McCann, & S. H. McFadden (Eds.). Lessons learned: Practical advice for the teaching of psychology. Washington, DC: Association for Psychological Science.

    Ruhl, K. L., Hughes, C. A., & Schloss, P. J. (1987). Using the pause procedure to enhance lecture recall. Teacher Education and Special Education, 10, 14-18.

    Schroeder, J.L., Stephens, R., & Williams, K.L. (2013). Managing the large(r) classroom. Observer, 26(3). Retrieved on October 11, 2014 from

    Weinstein, L., Laverghetta, A., Alexander, R., & Stewart, M. (2009).Teacher greetings increase college students’ test scores. College Student Journal, 43(2). 452-453.

  • 14 Oct 2014 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    By Kasey Powers

    A common conundrum when teaching is how much to give students to go on when it comes to instructions for studying for the exam. As an instructor we want them to learn everything that’s been covered, but it isn’t feasible to cover every concept, term, experiment on an exam, especially a multiple choice exam, which is what I use in my Introductory Psychology classes. Students have often asked for a study guide and want to know exactly what will be on the exam. However, providing an instructor created study guide can be too specific and adding “extras” that were covered in class but aren’t on the exam causes many student complaints. It’s easy to get caught between giving too much or too little. I took an idea from Dr. Dan McCloskey (Powers, Brooks, McCloskey, Sekerina, Cohen, 2013) that he uses in his research methods classes to create a crowd sourced study guide in my Introductory class.

    I do this using the Blackboard Wiki feature, but using your campus’s Course Management System Wiki or Forum or even a Google Doc could work. If you ask students to log in to Google Docs  you can track their revisions as you would on Blackboard. During class the week before we talk about the exam and what will be on it. I open up a new wiki and ask students for major topics that might be covered for each chapter. The students throw out experiments, names, terms, and ideas from the textbook and class discussions. I type in their responses to outline form.  Then after the class I go in to the guide and add anything from the exam students may have missed.

    For example a partial outline for Social Psychology might look like this:

    Social Psychology

    Milgram, Obedience

    Zimbardo, Dindividuation


    Bystander Effect

    Cognitive Dissonance

    The students are then tasked with filling in the information. They write that Zimbardo conducted the Stanford Prison Experiment that covered deindividuation.

    A second student might add that the experiment was made up of college students who were assigned to be prisoners or cops.

    As students fill in the outline they add pieces of information and edit one another’s work. This leaves the burden of studying on the students as they are the ones responsible for creating a detailed study guide and by removing any incorrect information. This solves the problem of providing too much or too little information as students created the outline. To ensure that the outline is complete I go through it and add in any keywords that are on the exam but that students may have missed. I do not remove keywords provided by the students that are not on the exam.

    This is a quick and easy way to give a few class points, or even extra credit.

    Dr. McCloskey will be speaking at Pedagogy Day., October 24, on different ways to utilize Blackboard in the Classroom. If you are in the New York City area you are welcome to join us!

    Powers, K., Brooks, P. J., McCloskey, D., Sekerina, I. A. & Cohen, F. (in press). Hybrid teaching of psychology. To appear in M. Hamada (Ed.) E-Learning: New Technology, Applications and Future Trends. NOVA Science Publishers.

  • 01 Oct 2014 11:32 AM | Anonymous

    By Emily Sharp and Collette Sosnowy, Sarah Lawrence College 

    One of the challenges of teaching a technology-focused course is, of course, the technology. Unless it’s a lab-based course, an instructor needs to keep the time spent setting up, teaching, and troubleshooting the tools to a reasonable amount. It’s all too easy to lose time to spend on developing course content and preparing for class.

    When Collette Sosnowy, visiting faculty in psychology at Sarah Lawrence College, was designing her interdisciplinary seminar “You Are What Your Tweet: Identity and Social Media,” (Spring 2014) these were her concerns. The course centered around using social media to learn about the psychological implications of social media: how we present ourselves online, perceptions of the public and private, and issues of identity and relationships.

    At Sarah Lawrence, independent work is a large component of the curriculum. For this class, each student maintained a blog throughout the semester, which served as an ongoing record of their independent projects. The goal was not only to have them produce the work, but to critically engage with the medium in part through using it, as well as publicly document their research process.


    Collette initially considered using a blogging platform like Wordpress until she attended a workshop with the college’s Web Services Advocate, Emily Sharp, about using the school’s learning management system (Jenzabar eLearning, branded on campus as MySLC). Collette realized that not only could the system meet her technology needs, but could provide institutional tech support as well!

    MySLC is most widely used by faculty for uploading syllabi, emailing students, distributing readings, and moderating online discussion. Far fewer faculty use the blog feature or give students the ability to create and manage content. 

    Emily was on board with the idea and prior to the semester, she and her student workers devoted much time to setting up a subsection in the course webpage. Each student got a page in the section containing a blog area and a place to embed their social media feeds. Permissions were set so that students could only add and edit content on their own pages.

    Emily put together a user guide and gave a workshop on getting started with their blogs, including how to forward their domain name to their page, configuring their blog, posting their first entry, including images, and embedding Twitter feeds, videos and other media.

    Over the next few weeks the students got started while behind the scenes, Emily tweaked the setup of the pages as needs arose - adding a static “About” section and a “Blogroll” (a list of links to their classmates’ and other blogs) to each. Some small technical issues that came up and a few students needed extra help but after the first few weeks, the kinks were worked out and students were blogging prodigiously.

    The way Collette and Emily used MySLC was radically different and focused much more on the social tools and integration capabilities of the system. The collaboration was successful from both perspectives: working with Emily and her staff gave the class a familiar platform to work with and provided much-appreciated tech support. Students saw the experience as both learning important technology skills as well as critically engaging with the very thing they were studying. Emily and her staff were able to stretch MySLC to accommodate an out-of-the-box method of learning, a model that other faculty could adopt in the future.

    Tips for a successful collaboration:


    1. Start early. It takes time to get together, discuss the goals for the class and logistics for the project, set it up, test it, etc.

    2. Establish a good relationship. Emily and Collette got along really well and were equally excited about the project, but even if you don’t become chums with your instructional technology staff, be clear about what you both want from the project and what you can each give to make it a successful collaboration.

    3. Similarly, have clearly defined roles. Emily and her staff set everything up and she visited the class to train students on the platform and had written a detailed instruction guide. She was patient with students who continued to have trouble learning to use it, but since the students had been given the tools to work out problems, the responsibility was theirs.

    4. Give and get feedback. Since this was a new project, it was important to assess how well it worked, how it could be improved in the future, and, if there’s interest, how it could be applied to other types of classes, sizes, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep documentation of communication and resources.

     You can view the archive of blogs at: or see the class Twitter feed: @youtweetSLC #tweetSLC

  • 16 Sep 2014 4:34 PM | Anonymous

    By Naomi J. Aldrich, PhD, Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University; Developmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY Alum

    I have found that one of the most boredom-inducing topics to cover when teaching Introductory Psychology or Child Development is the information on neuropsychology. Over the years, I have tried different ways to cover the material without overwhelming my students or putting them to sleep and have been mostly unsuccessful. However, I think that I have finally found a way to achieve better student understanding and interaction…Zombies!

    Several months ago, I came across a wonderful book The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse by Steven C. Schlozman, M.D. (2012). The book is written from the perspective of a neuroscientist who is keeping a journal of his investigation of the causes of zombiism in hopes to find a cure before the world is overrun with the ravenous undead. The book takes the reader through the different stages of the illness (i.e., Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome, ANSD) and in doing so, emphasizes what makes the zombie brain so different from ours. This is what made me so excited, I felt like I acquired a better understanding of the brain myself by learning about what makes zombies tick, so I did some more research. What I found is that a large number of people have started to teach children about the brain by using this zombie model. Given pop-culture’s focus on zombie’s today I believe this may be a great way to engage our undergraduates.

    This summer I taught a class of 7- to 13-year-olds and their grandparents about the brain using information from this book and it was one of the best classes I have ever taught! I am now planning to incorporate this for all of my neuropsychology undergraduate lectures from now on.

    Here are some main points:

    1) Zombie Stagger:

    - Normal people can walk around with good coordination between their body & brain.

    - Zombies stagger around and seem clumsy. They bump into things and often hold their arms out for balance.

    - Why? Deficient cerebellum

    2) Zombie Appetite:

                - Typically after we eat we get full. We have a varied diet, but we do not eat humans.

                - Zombies are always hungry, even after a huge meal. They also like eating humans, which is a problem.

                - Why? Defective hypothalamus

    3) Zombie Rage:

                - Regular people get angry and there are some situations where they may even feel rage. However, most people feel anger and then return to their normal emotional state.

                - Zombies are aggressive at all times. They are extremely violent and tend to attack humans in an enraged state. They are dangerous and cannot be reasoned with.

                - Why? Enlarged amygdala

    4) Zombie Stupidity:

                - Humans are able to solve problems, talk to each other, and make decisions. These abilities make us unique and have contributed to our success as a species.

                - Zombies are known for their stupidity. They often can’t figure out how to open doors and rarely, if ever, plan ahead. They are terrible problem solvers and seem to lack any ability to communicate except through grunts.

                - Why? Inadequate Frontal Lobe processing

    Here are links for lesson plans (including PowerPoint slides) for teaching the Zombie brain. These were developed for grades 7 to 12, but can be easily adapted for use with undergraduates (created by Katie Gould & Dr. Steven Schlozman). I have only used the first two lessons, but depending on your class you may want to incorporate information from all four:

    Zombie Autopsies Lesson 1: You’ll be Wishin’ for some Neurotransmission and Background Story

    -        This lesson introduces students to neurons and neurotransmission through multi-media and active learning games.

    Zombie Autopsies Lesson 2: The Neuroanatomy of a Zombie

    -        This lesson teaches students about neurotransmitters, neurotransmission and neuroanatomy through multi-media and active learning games.

    Zombie Autopsies Lesson 3: Super Spooky Psychiatric Medicine to Save the World

    -        This lesson introduces students to the concept of medications development and gives students a simulation to apply what they know about neurotransmitters, neurotransmission and zombies.

    Zombie Autopsies Lesson Plan 4: Publish or Perish…for Real

    -        This lesson introduces students to writing an academic journal article and allows them to apply what they have learned during the Neuroscience and Zombies Unit.

    Here is the lesson plan I created for the class with 7- to 13-year-olds. My goal was to make it more interactive and fun. Basically, I first presented the children with information about how the normal human brain functions and then had them conduct a series of mini-experiments in which they had to figure out what lobe of their brain was responsible. Then they identified the lobe of the brain by painting a plaster-of-paris model of the left hemisphere. Next, I presented information about how zombie brains are different from ours and had them design their own zombie and they painted the lobes of their zombie brain (the right hemisphere with black paint indicating a deficient lobe). Finally, they had their grandparent come to the front of the class and demonstrate how their zombie would behave based on what they chose.

    Zombie Brains – Session Outline

    1.     Introduction

    a.      Welcome and thank you for helping us explore the human brain through zombie behavior at GVSU. Today we will talk about how the human brain influences our behaviors and abilities so you will be ready to learn about the brains of zombies. As almost all behavior can be traced back to the brain, scientists believe that zombies have damaged or diseased parts of their brain. If we can figure out what parts have been affected by the disease, then there may be hope that YOU will be able to develop medicine that can cure them if real zombies ever came to exist.

    b.     Warm up (ask the campers & write answers on board):

                                                        i.     How does a zombie look different from a human?

                                                      ii.     How do they behave differently than humans?

    2.     Present “Normal” Brain information

    3.     “Normal” Brain Activity

    a.      Pass out “Brain Tests” packet to each pair & help them get started

    b.     While they are working, pass out “Your Brain” model, paints, etc.

    c.      Discuss their brains and test results

    4.     Present “Zombie” Brain information – try to relate information back to lists on board

    5.     “Zombie” Brain Activity

    a.      Pass out “My Zombie” worksheets

    b.     While they are working, pass out “My Zombie Brain” model, paints, etc.

    c.      Once finished, each pair should come up & explain choices with grandparent acting as zombie

    Even if you choose not to use the Zombie model in your classroom, I would highly recommend the book itself… you will learn a lot, although it’s not for the squeamish J

  • 09 Sep 2014 9:57 PM | Anonymous

    By Peri Ozlem Yuksel-SokmenCollege of Staten Island and the Graduate Center, CUNY

    Diversity is one of the most fascinating topics in the discipline of psychology and one of the biggest challenges new instructors face when dealing with diversity in students. This post encourages new instructors to start thinking about culture and ways to integrate this complex topic across the curriculum. But before new instructors teach about culture it is recommended that we take a cultural-historical approach in regard to the definition of culture and the diversity in our students.

    Ever since culture has been transferred to social science, anthropologists, linguists, and psychologists developed more complex definitions to understand society’s systems of shared meanings (Geertz, 1973). For example, Kroeber and Kluckholn (1952) collected over 250 definitions and concluded that there exists no single one but that each operational definition of culture is somewhat driven by scholarly interest and scientific method. Reaching all the way to the foundation of Wundt’s lab in 1879 and APA in 1892 till present day research time psychologists used gender and race as top two most popular factors to scientifically study diversity (see Figure 1 in APA psychNet). In order to support the appreciation for diversity and to transform student learning to the real world, it is safe practice to use a broader definition of diversity that includes religion, seniors, sexual orientation, ethnicity, multilingualism, involvement in cultural practices, and ability.

    Before designing a course plan that teaches about diversity instructors should be able to first define culture and use their own inclinations towards diversity as a starting point. Nygen and Nolan (2013) provide three main questions that every instructor can use as a mental guide in dealing with diversity:

    (1)  What are my own cultural values and biases toward students and people from diverse backgrounds (self-awareness)? 

    (2)  Do I know what I need to know about my students’ worldviews and experiences that may influence their learning experiences (knowledge)? 

    (3)  Am I using teaching strategies that are inclusive of students from culturally diverse backgrounds (skills)?

    Instructors’ self-awareness is an essential part of effective teaching because when we deal with complexity it is a safe practice to understand our own or the focal group’s behaviors that might have triggered cognitive processes, such as prejudice, bias, or stereotypical thinking as quick interpretations for group differences that mistakenly contributed to the misunderstanding of human activities.

    "Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."

    As this prolific Chinese proverb stresses the importance of self-referencing in the context of participation, just preaching and demonstrating research reports dealing with diversity has little impact on learning outcomes about culture. Rather, do we as instructors engage in meta-cognition and take the time to get to know our students? Do we provide them with opportunities to display their worldviews and special skills? What is our strategy to deal with diversity?

    The cognitive revolution in the 60s and the subsequent influx in interest examining mental activities in various social and formal settings, such as human interaction, decision making, and memory formation, has led to the development of interdisciplinary approaches and cross-cultural collaboration.  This has helped researchers to understand culture as a meaning making process that produces similarities and differences in the sharing and learning of information (Matsumoto, 2009). Especially, people’s involvement in common practices of particular cultural communities has contributed to the variation in differences in cultural participation (Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003).

    Certainly, diversity is a worldwide inspiration for research and a topic that is gaining popularity in teaching and learning due to social change, yet it first starts with the individual acknowledgement of the instructors’ ability to self-reflect. Moreover, instructors’ awareness of their own attitudes towards the construct of teaching and student learning styles is another safe practice in the prevention of discriminatory educational practices due to labeling or self-fulfillment prophecies (Reynolds, 1997).  Gutierrez and Rogoff (2003) see the treatment of cultural differences as learning traits in particular student groups (e.g., minority students, students of color, first generation college students, holistic vs. analytic learners, etc.) as a hindrance for effective student learning, which encourages overgeneralization. In order to ensure student learning it is safe practice to regard students as individuals who participate in cultural communities and to listen to their worldviews with a cultural-historical perspective in mind.

    The integration of culture into undergraduate teaching go hand in hand with the instructors’ view and experience on student diversity. If the instructor focuses on the more salient abilities of the students, such as gender and race, and provides less opportunities for students to participate in discourse activities concerning diversity than the teaching of culture is a misconduct. Consequently, the learning outcome diminishes opportunities to deal adequately with diversity in the outside world. The instructor’s failure to acknowledge biased thinking and teaching may also transfer to the conduct of research reflected in the eminent cultural attribution fallacy (Matsumoto & Yoo, 2006, cited in Matsumo 2009).


    Matsumoto, D. (2009). Teaching about culture. In R. A. R. Gurung & L. R. Prieto. Getting culture. Incorporating diversity across the curriculum, (pp. 3-22). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

    Gutierrez, K. D., & Rogoff, B. (2003). Cultural ways of learning: individual traits o repertoires of practice? Educational Researche, 32(5), 19-25. DOI: 10.3102/0013189X03200501

    Ngyen, L., & Nolan, S. A. (2013). Your sphere of influence: How to infuse cultural diversity into your psychology classes. Strategies for ensuring that diversity is an integral part of the psychology curriculum. Psychology Teacher Network. Retrieved from

    Reynolds, M. (1997). Learning styles: A critique. Management Learning, 28, 115-133. DOI: 10.1177/1350507697282002

  • 02 Sep 2014 4:44 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Graduate Student Teachers,

    Welcome back to another semester with the GSTA Blog!

    We hope you had a productive and restful summer and are ready to head back into the classroom.

    Boomer Goes Fishing

    This fall we will continue posting weekly teaching tips (see below to submit).  

    In addition, we are excited about the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Conference in Atlanta on October 10th & 11th


    The 5th Annual Pedagogy Day at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York on October 24th

    See you at a conference or online at the GSTA Blog!

  • 03 Jun 2014 2:42 PM | Anonymous

    Dear GSTA Community,

    As the semester comes to a close we’d like to thank everyone who read, commented and posted on the GSTA blog. Here’s the list of the posts, which we hope will serve as a useful resource when planning your courses in the fall!

    If you have any Teaching Tips you’d like to share please submit them to


    The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

    Philip Kreniske, Kasey Powers, Francis Yannaco and Theresa Fiani

    And follow us on twitter@gradsteachpsych or join our Facebook Group!

    Encouraging Inter-Student Participation in Large Lecture Sections using Discussion Board Forums

    25 Feb 2014

    By Danielle DeNigris 

    Teaching Tip: Choose Your Assessments Based On Student Learning Goals

    04 Mar 2014

    By Emily A. A. Dow


    A Tool for Understanding Students: the Discussion Forum

    11 Mar 2014

    By Anna Schwartz


    Socrates in the Classroom: Helping Students to Discover What’s Already There

    18 Mar 2014

    By Jeff Kukucka


    A Mixed-Methods Approach to Child Development Instruction: Reflecting on Research Presented at the SRCD

    24 Mar 2014

    By Naomi J. AldrichPeri Ozlem Yuksel-Sokmen, & Sarah E. Berger


    Using Low Stakes Writing as a Learning Tool

    01 Apr 2014

    By Kasey L. Powers

    Short on Resources? A Variety of Useful Options for Graduate Students Teaching Psychology

    08 Apr 2014

    By Theresa Fiani and Rita Obeid

    Teaching with Technology: Just the Basics Part 1

    29 Apr 2014

    By Francis Yannaco

    Flip the Textbook

    06 May 2014

    By Kasey Powers

    3 Tips for Supporting Greenhorn Research Writers

    12 May 2014

    By Philip Kreniske

    Lecturers Can Run a Successful Course Without a Textbook

    20 May 2014

    By Hunter Kincaid

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