I am the Chair of the Practice Issues Committee of the Neurological Section of APTA nationally.
Over the years my philosophy on teaching has evolved based upon my teaching experiences and my continued investigation of what makes a “skillful teacher.” Several themes have emerged as consistent parts of my pragmatic philosophy on teaching:
1. Learning must be active thus educational experiences must promote active learning
2. Educational experiences should embrace and address diverse learning styles
3. Learning environments must be non-threatening and motivating
4. Educators must posses a thorough understanding of the subject material
5. Educators should engage in diverse teaching strategies
6. Being over prepared is a good thing if it enables you to modify your learning environment to meet the needs of the learner
7. Being a mentor is truly being a skillful teacher
8. Finally, being a skillful teacher is helping one develop critically thinking skills.
As an educator, I believe that teaching is an enormous responsibility which offers an exciting opportunity to prepare students to be active critical thinkers and change agents in the community. To meet these responsibilities educators must embrace education and not become complacent about teaching. Educators must take action and explore various teaching strategies in order to develop critical thinking skills in students.
So what do I believe is the role of critical thinking in doctoral education?
As scholars and leaders we frequently deal with problematic situations that many times require us to ask the question, “Why?” When we ask why, we begin to use critical thinking skills. It is our ability to use critical thinking in these situations to create change that sets us apart from others. As faculty within a doctoral program, I believe it is our role to foster critical thinking skills in our doctoral students, thereby providing them with the foundational skills required to succeed as scholars and leaders in many diverse health care arenas. In order to promote critical thinking, faculty and students must recognize that critical thinking is a productive and positive activity which is a process and not an outcome. Critical thinking may manifest itself as an internal process or an external action depending upon the context in which it occurs. The doctoral experience which includes coursework, research endeavors and dissertation activities, must provide diverse opportunities for students to develop their critical thinking skills and to demonstrate them internally and externally. Positive and negative events within the doctoral experience enable students to develop as critical thinkers. While we may assume that critical thinking is solely rational, it is highly emotive. Recognizing the emotionality that exists with the development of critical thinking skills enables faculty and students to communicate more effectively with each other. By now you may be saying “so what?” and “what does this really mean to education?” Well, the answer is quite simple; understanding how critical thinking develops and why it is important will enable us to recognize that the doctoral experience is a journey and not an end. The skills developed along the journey will enable students to identify and challenge assumptions, and imagine and explore alternatives. Along this journey students will evolve into what many have termed a “reflective skeptic.” While reflective skepticism promotes a consistent state of chaos for scholars, it is also the fuel that continues to ignite our desire to ask and try to answer the “so what” questions that will help advance healthcare. So when students are feeling a little overwhelmed or not quite sure what they are learning in their doctoral experience, help them to remember that the journey to becoming a critical thinker is filled with moments of chaos and it is these moments that drives the scholar in us all to ask and answer the burning question “so what?”
It is in the mentorship provided to my students during their personal journey that my belief about teaching emerges into action. It is my belief that teaching students to learn via the development of critical thinking is the central purpose of any academic institution.
From 1999 till November 2010, I served the University as Chair of the Department of Graduate Programs in Health Sciences (GPHS). Presently, I teach the Research Project 11 course in the GPHS and the Management of Neuromuscular Problems and the Principles of Motor Control coursework in the entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Seton Hall and work to infuse the mentorship model of learning into doctoral education by taking an active role in the mentorship of doctoral student research in both the movement science and health professions leadership specialization. In the past, I have taught courses in Motor Learning and Control; Motor Control Issues: Reaching and Manipulation; Gait; Styles of Learning and Teaching in Health Professional Education and Pediatric Rehabilitation.
My research interests focus on several major lines of inquiry including, a) effects of practice schedules and implicit and explicit motor learning, b) effects of performing differing dual tasks on walking performance and postural sway in children and adults, c) use of diverse teaching strategies including use of videos, train the trainer model, and mind mapping in professional education for the promotion of critical thinking skills, and d) evidence based practices promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).
- Ed.D., Teachers College Columbia University, New York, Jan 1996, Doctor of Education in Motor Learning
- M.Ed., Teachers College Columbia University, New York, May 1992, Masters of Education in Motor Learning
- M.A., University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- B.S., Kean College, New Jersey, June 1986, Bachelors of Science in Physical Therapy
- 2010 Research Award, Best in Health Sciences Research, The 21st Annual Research Colloquium SHMS, SHU, May 21st co-recipients: Biscardi, C., Simpkins, S. and Mitchell, J.
- 2008 Inducted into the Seton Hall University chapter of the Alpha Eta National Honor Society
- 2007 Service Award, NJ APTA Pediatric SIG Chair
- 2005 Service Award, Neurological Section of National APTA
- 2000 Service Award, NJ APTA -Secretary
- 1998 Excellence in Teaching Award, Seton Hall University
- Pinto Zipp, G., and Maher, C. (2009). “Mind Maps: Useful Schematic Tool for Organizing and Integrating Concepts of Complex Patient Care in the Clinic and Classroom”, Journal of College Teaching and Learning, Vol. 6, no. 2.
- Pinto Zipp, G., and Olson, V. (2008). “Infusing the Mentorship Model of Education for the Promotion of Critical Thinking in Doctoral Education,” Journal of College Teaching and Learning. Vol. 5, 9.
- Cassida, J. and Pinto Zipp, G. (2008). “The Relationship of Nurse Managers' Leadership Styles and Nursing Unit Organizational Culture in Acute Care Hospitals in New Jersey,” Nursing Economics the Journal for Health Care Leaders.Vol 26, 1.
- Integration of Problem Based Learning in the Therapeutic Environment Using Small Groups
Journal of College Teaching and Learning, (in press),
- Using the Train the Trainer Model in an Urban Preschool for the Promotion of Sensory Motor Skills
Journal of College Teaching and Learning, (in press),
- Does the mind map learning strategy facilitate information retrieval and critical thinking in medical students?
BMC Medical Education, 10(61), 1- 10,
- Use of Video Based Cases as a Medium to Develop Critical Thinking Skills in Health Science Students
Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 7(1), 1- 4,
- The Relationship between Patient Satisfaction in Patient Admission across Teaching and Non-teaching Hospitals
Journal of Health Care Management, 54(3), 177- 190,
- Interrater reliability of mind map assessment rubic in a cohort of medical students
BMC Medical Education, 9, 19,
- Mind Maps: Useful Schematic Tool for Organizing and Integrating Concepts of Complex Patient Care in the Clinic and Classroom
Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 6(2), 59- 68,
- Patient Expectations of full-body CT Screening
American Journal of Roentgenol, 188(3), W297- 304,