Genevieve Zipp.

 

Genevieve Zipp, P.T., Ed.D.
Professor
Department of Interprofessional Health Sciences and Health Administration

(973) 275-2457
Email

Alfieri Hall
Room 32

Genevieve Zipp, P.T., Ed.D.

Professor
Department of Interprofessional Health Sciences and Health Administration

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).