Case-Based Global Learning in Human Growth and Development
September 9, 2022
by Dr. Nancy Ejuma, Adjunct Associate Professor, Psychology
As a newer adjunct psychology professor, I viewed the Global Education Faculty Learning Community (FLC) as an opportunity to hone and perfect the art of developing and teaching a globalized curriculum. I was fortunate to have been raised and educated in multiple countries, and those experiences helped me to appreciate the academic insights that can be gained when accessing literature from learning communities outside of one’s home country. In teaching human growth and development, I wanted to find a way to help my students apply what they were learning, while also encouraging them to access and reference insights from academics in different communities around the world.
Through this FLC, I realized that the best way for me to accomplish my goal was to integrate a semester-long global case study into my course. This case-based learning approach to teaching psychology took the form of weekly case study entries that culminated into a final class presentation. The case study allowed students to build the story (from conception to late adulthood) of a character living in a country outside of North America. As we progressed through each life stage in the course, students worked with a partner to develop and report on culturally-appropriate life events as well as the expected psychological impact of those events (based on psychological insights available from researchers in the chosen country).
I was fortunate to be able to immediately incorporate this newly developed tool into my course during the spring of my FLC program. As a result of the case-based global learning approach, students were taught that insights into human behavior can come from research that is conducted all over the world. Students learned that they can go beyond the American context by seeking research insights into human behavior from other countries and they were able to compare American and European research insights to the insights from studies conducted in other parts of the world. Finally, students were given the opportunity to apply what they are learning about development in a creative context where they build the story of fictional characters whose lives were able to reinforce what they were learning in class.
Overall, I am very happy to have participated in the Global Education FLC and gained a great deal from the experience. I would encourage any faculty members who are considering participating in the program to do so. It may just give you the space you need to create tools to deepen your students’ perspectives about the world.