Society for the Teaching of Psychology: Division 2 of the American Psychological Association

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  • How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Student-Centered Teaching


How We Teach Now provides an accessible introduction to student-centered teaching methods that aim to create varied learning opportunities for students to develop liberal arts and professional skills (such as critical thinking, oral and written communication, collaboration and teamwork) in addition to discipline-specific content knowledge. Chapters describe evidence-based teaching practices informed by a rich literature on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning that emphasizes the value of active inquiry in fostering student learning and development. The chapters provide lesson plans as well as practical advice on how to shift one’s teaching away from teacher-centered methods, such as lecturing, to more effectively engage students in their own learning. Authors highlight the importance of building rapport and dialogue within the classroom, designing lessons and assessments with careful thought to purpose (i.e., using backward course design) and communicating the learning objectives to students, validating students’ diverse life experiences and background as relevant to their coursework, scaffolding difficult assignments to make them manageable, and using research as a context for cultivating interest in psychological science. The volume is intended for instructors interested in adopting state-of-the art teaching methods to help their students achieve their full potential. Contributors range from expert teachers to graduate student members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.

ISBN: 978-1-941804-46-9     

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Table of Contents
Editors and Contributors 3
Acknowledgments 5
Introduction: Cultivating a Generation of Student-Centered Teachers of Psychology
Maureen O’Connor and Patricia J. Brooks 6
Chapter 1: Five Steps to Becoming a Student-Centered Teacher
Lauren Kirby, Jessica Busler, and William Buskist 13
Chapter 2: A Graduate Student’s Primer to Model Teaching: 27
A Focus on Learner-Centered Syllabi and Instructional Strategies
Aaron Richmond 27
Chapter 3: Using a Mastery Goal Structure in the Classroom: Three Actionable Areas to Motivate your Students to Learn
Ron C. Whiteman and Yulia Ochakovskaya 42
Chapter 4: Key Aspects of Motivation in Learning
Regan Gurung 54
Chapter 5: Crowdsourcing Course Preparation Strengthens Teaching through Collaboration
Anna Schwartz, Kasey Powers, Magdalena Galazyn, and Patricia Brooks 69
Chapter 6: Purposeful Pedagogy through Backward Course Design
Renata Strashnaya and Emily Dow 83
Chapter 7: Teaching Students Using Evidence-based Learning Strategies through Flipped Classrooms
Tracy Arner, Bushra Aldosari, and Bradley J. Morris 92
Chapter 8: Achieving Total Student Participation in Today's Diverse College Classes
Teresa Ober and Ethlyn Saltzman 107
Chapter 9: The Elephant in the Room: Fostering Participation in Large Classes
Aliza Panjwani and Rebecca Cipollina 123
Chapter 10: When Learning Styles Interfere with Learning and What to Do Instead
Amy Hunter and Marianne Lloyd 142
Chapter 11: What to Do When Students Bomb the Exam
William Altman and Richard Miller 153
Chapter 12: Cooperative and Collaborative Learning: Getting the Best of Both Words
Jeremy Sawyer and Rita Obeid 163
Chapter 13: Empowering Your Students through Teamwork
Tatiana Schnieder 178
Chapter 14: Critical Thinking in Psychology Classrooms: Beyond “I Know it When I See It”
Paige Fisher, Amy Hunter, Susan Nolan, & Janine Buckner 198
Chapter 15: Using Role-Play to Enhance Critical Thinking about Ethics in Psychology
Jill Grose-Fifer 213
Chapter 16:  Ten TED Talk Thinking Tasks: Engaging College Students in Structured Self-Reflection to Foster Critical Thinking
Peri Yuksel 224
Chapter 17: Internationalizing Your Teaching: Bringing the World to Your Classroom
Andrew Simon and Susan Nolan 238
Chapter 18: Expanding Student Agency in the Introductory Psychology Course: Transformative Activist Stance and Critical-Theoretical Pedagogy
Eduardo Vianna & Anna Stetsenko 252
Chapter 19: Collaborative Inquiry Project in the First-Year Seminar in Psychology: Students’ Agentive Authorship of Learning and Development
Dušana Podlucká 269
Chapter 20: Using Blogs to Engage First-Generation College Students
Philip Kreniske and Ralitsa Todorova 282
Chapter 21: Launching PSYCH+Feminism to Engage Undergraduates in Wikipedia Editing
Patricia Brooks, Elizabeth Che, Sabrina Walters, and Christina Shane-Simpson 296
Chapter 22: Using the QALMRI Method to Scaffold Reading of Primary Sources
Nicholaus Brosowsky and Olga Parshina 310
Chapter 23: Research Methods 2.0: A New Approach for Today’s Students
Gary Lewandowski Jr., Natalie Ciarocco, and David Strohmetz 328
Chapter 24: Teaching Challenging Courses: Focus on Statistics and Research Methods
Janie Wilson 339
Chapter 25: Authentic Research Projects Benefit Students, their Instructors, and Science
Jon E. Grahe 351
Chapter 26: Students as Junior Colleagues: How Research Transforms the Student Experience
Kendra Doychak, Maris Krauss, Marissa Cardwell, and Bernard Beins 368
Chapter 27: Student-Directed Research Collaborations between Higher Education and K-12 Classrooms
Rebecca Weiss and Polly Seplowitz 380
Chapter 28: Fostering Effective Teaching Using Strategies Developed by Peer Mentors for Autistic and Non-Autistic Undergraduates
Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, Danielle DeNigris, Ben Cheriyan, Anthony Massa, Vincent Wong, Corinna Kostikas, Sabrina Bragerton-Nasert, Ariana Riccio, Rayan Arab, Miranda Alicea, Enes Kilman, Katherine Fitzgerald, & Kristyn Blake DiCostanzo   392

Feedback regarding the editorial content of this book or any of its essays should be directed toward the individual authors or the book's editors. They (authors and editors) are solely responsible for the substance of the text. Feedback regarding technical matters of formatting or accessibility of this text via the online environment of the Internet should be directed to the Internet Editor. If you have any complaints or difficulties in accessing these materials, be sure to provide as detailed a description of your problem(s) as you can; you should include information about the browser you are using and the type of computer you are using.

Copyright and Other Legal Notices
The individual essays and chapters contained within this collection are Copyright © 2017 by their respective authors. This collection of essays and chapters as a compendium is Copyright © 2017 Society for the Teaching of Psychology. You may print multiple copies of these materials for your own personal use, including use in your classes and/or sharing with individual colleagues as long as the author's name and institution, and a notice that the materials were obtained from the website of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) appear on the copied document. For research and archival purposes, public libraries and libraries at schools, colleges, universities and similar educational institutions may print and store in their research or lending collections multiple copies of this compendium as a whole without seeking further permission of STP (the editors would appreciate receiving a pro forma notice of any such library use). No other permission is granted to you to print, copy, reproduce, or distribute additional copies of these materials. Anyone who wishes to print, copy, reproduce, or distribute copies for other purposes must obtain the permission of the individual copyright owners. Particular care should be taken to seek permission from the respective copyright holder(s) for any commercial or "for profit" use of these materials.

Suggested Reference Format

We suggest that the overall text be referenced in this fashion:

Obeid, R., Schwartz, A., Shane-Simpson, C., & Brooks, P. J. (Eds.). (2017). How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Student-Centered Teaching. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:

Individual chapters may be referenced in this fashion:

Gurung, R. (2017). Key Aspects of Motivation in Learning. In R. Obeid, A. Schartz, C. Shane-Simpson, & P. J. Brooks (Eds.) How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Student-Centered Teaching. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:

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