My specialty areas are compromised of four intersecting topics: social studies education, teacher knowledge and professional development, curriculum theory, and international and comparative research. These four threads of research are parallel lines of inquiry that overlap in my research trajectory. My current research investigates history teachers' personal practical knowledge and gatekeeping practices as they relate to the teaching of controversial public issues. I am particularly interested in understanding how teachers' life histories enter into the curriculum they teach as well as how teachers mediate broader social tensions in the society while in the classroom.
I also examine the confluence of teacher life narratives, the official curriculum, and the social pressures that teachers face in their working lives. Ultimately, I seek to extend the work of Maxine Greene to the current era of global interaction, interdependence and change as a response to the confluence of teacher life narratives, the official curriculum, and the social pressures that teachers face in their working lives. This work asks, what does it mean to view the world as a stranger in this day and age with social pressures? What are the possibilities for teaching with imagination in this era of cultural change?
In addition, I am also interested in the positionality of ELL students' in social studies classrooms. I focus on the opportunities and challenges facing social studies teachers as they attempt to engage their ELL students, especially with discussions of controversial issues.
My pedagogical experiences are inclusive of both K-12 and post-secondary levels. I spent three years teaching in public, urban schools in Taipei, Taiwan. These experiences crystalized and helped bring to fruition the understanding of the many challenges history teachers and students confronted in and outside the classroom. Because of this work, I strove to develop a strongly reflective teaching practice, both for myself and for my colleagues.
At Michigan State University, my teaching focus has primarily been with pre-service teachers at both the secondary and elementary level in face-to-face, hybrid, and online environments. While working with elementary pre-service teacher candidates, I encouraged them to build integrated unit plans connected to their local communities and to discuss current issues with their students. Furthermore, working in the secondary course instructor team, I encouraged students to explore the topics related to social justice and controversial public issues. In addition, I also focus especially on the topics of controversial public issues in the curriculum and best practices for teaching ELL and immigrant students. Lastly, I am rounded out by my comment and experiences as a superior for secondary social studies interns and elementary interns located in many locations. I strove to build strong partnerships between University and local public schools.