TEACHING

PHILOSOPHY

The center of my teaching philosophy is students. I believe that thinking about learning begins and ends with the experience of students—what they bring to class, what they engage in the course and what skills, knowledge and values they carry with them thereafter. 

The lifeworld of students is an important beginning in any pedagogical process. Where do they come from? What do they do? What do they think, believe and why? These questions open up insights about who students are and how they navigate the world. This inquiry also creates space for learning about the diverse experiences of students. Student subjectivity, or how they think of themselves in terms of identity and positionality and the way that belonging to an identity category influences how one is received in the world, are two essential elements of understanding the lifeworld of students. From these insights I derive activities, texts and topics that will resonate differently with any group of students, thus creating a discursive space in the post-secondary classroom that invites multiple perspectives. The value of diversity then is not solely to connect the individual to the course material but to create a learning community within the social that is any classroom environment. And while I have arranged this understanding of identity as the first step in teaching, which it often is, the process of learning oneself through a course is ongoing throughout the experience.

The second focus of my teaching philosophy is the personalization of learning. This element is congruent with the first as personalization necessarily involves who one is. The content of any course opens up vistas for understanding a discourse community. By personalization I intend to create space for students to identify the questions and texts within an area of learning that are most resonant with their professional lives so that they can lead their own learning in consultation with me. Personalization is a central element of my scholarly profile and while I have enacted it at the K-12 level, I see it as even more crucial when engaging adult-learners given their maturity and wherewithal. Too, an important dimension of personalized learning at the university level is strategic use of technology. I introduce technological tools and invite students to introduce me and others to the same so that they will have the facility to use new tools and open up new learning. 

The final aspect of my teaching philosophy is how the contents of a course position learners to continue learning. The most important skill that I cultivate among students is the ability to frame questions, seek data and information and draw practicable conclusions from the same. These executive function skills are essential for educators and administrators of various kinds as it provides them with the capacity to continue learning beyond my course. I choose course contents, and invite students to pursue questions and materials similarly, that encourage the framing of questions, seeking of evidence and development of insights and interventions. My orientation actively seeks to bridge the theory-practice divide that exists between universities and primary/secondary education professionals. 

 

THESIS AND DISSERTATION ADVISEMENT

  • Committee Chair, James Gonzales, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Committee Chair, Loretta Erdo, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Committee Chair, Robert Feltmann, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Committee Member Jolly Ramakrishan, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • External Doctoral Committee Member, Daniel Pappa, Drew University

COURSES TAUGHT

PSED 725 Critical Analysis of Issues and Innovations in Education

PSED 798 Internship I and II

This course examines leading change, innovations and reform in education. Specific innovations and reforms will be examined and relationships between research, policy making, and implementation will be emphasized.  

This course is designed for the advanced graduate student who wishes to do independent research in special areas. Activities and projects are designed to meet the requirements for school leader certification.

 

Undergraduate Level

PSED 161 Education Foundations

PSED 421 Seminar in Secondary Education II: Teaching Secondary Students in Diverse, Inclusive Classrooms

PSED 430 Student Teaching Middle Level

PSED 431 Student Teaching High School Level

This course presents education as a unique field of academic study and also as a professional vocation with varied career opportunities. Consideration is given to the American educational enterprise in terms of the social, historical, and philosophical context, with the persistent issues being treated as they relate to the contemporary scene.

Students will examine the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that are necessary to teach in a culturally and linguistically diverse and inclusive setting. Students will learn to respond to secondary students’ individual needs and apply appropriate evidence-based instructional and non-academic recommendations and interventions. The course requires a 30-hour field component in an inclusive classroom and also incorporates experiences with ELLs. 

This course is part of a guided teaching experience in the secondary schools which typically consists of PSED 430 and 431 for a full semester. This field experience is designed to provide the opportunity to demonstrate the competencies and understandings of the teaching/learning process in the middle/junior high school. Prerequisites: 1) students must meet all requirements described under the Student Teaching section, 2) students must have approval of the adviser and department chair in the major field, 3) students must have the approval of the Department of Professional and Secondary Education, and 4) students must have completed at least 24 semester hours of credit in the major field.

This course is part of a guided teaching experience in the secondary schools which typically consists of PSED 430 and 431 for a full semester. This field experience is designed to provide the opportunity to demonstrate the competencies and understandings of the teaching/learning process in the senior high school. Prerequisites: 1) students must meet all requirements described under the Student Teaching section, 2) students must have approval of the adviser and department chair in the major field, 3) students must have the approval of the Department of Professional and Secondary Education, and, 4) students must have completed at least 24 semester hours of credit in the major field.

Masters Level

PSED 510 Teacher, School, and Community

PSED 516 The Learner and the Learning Process

PSED 521 Seminar in Secondary Education II Graduate Level

PSED 590 Supervision of Instruction

This course analyzes a wide spectrum of human relations within the broad area of basic education. Common professional problems are discussed. It also includes an examination of the values and beliefs of the community as related to the public school.

A review of various views (humanistic, behavioral, cognitive) of the learner and learning theorists (Skinner, Rogers, Bruner, Piaget). Case studies of actual teaching learning problems are brought to the class by the participants for examination and discussion by the group.

Students will examine the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors that are necessary to teach in a culturally diverse and linguistically diverse and inclusive setting. Students will learn to respond to secondary student individual needs and apply appropriate evidence-based instructional and non-academic recommendations and interventions. This course requires a 30-hour field component in an inclusive classroom and incorporates experiences with English Language Learners.

This course is an introduction to the theory and function of supervision in the modern public school system, K-12. Application of emerging concepts and principles of modern school supervision to practical situations in which administrators, supervisors, coordinators, and teachers are working are presented.

Doctoral Level

PSED 703 Leadership Application

This course is designed to prepare doctoral students in leadership studies to develop and implement a field project that incorporates leadership and policy theories learned in previous courses. Various approaches and issues associated with design and implementation of a field project will be examined. Through and exploration of the literature, critique of theories, and direct hands-on exercises, students will be able to build competency in integrating leadership theories and research methods into their own field project.

STUDENT COMMENTS

 

My children, always tell me how annoying older students in a class. I didn't want to come off as a brown "noser," so I didn't  complement you in front of all. But I do want you to know that, although this class was  intense, I learned a lot and I really enjoyed it, especially the PD Plan, not because it was fun, but because it was relevant to my needs. Thank you for being very organized and proactive in explaining and posting the assignment early. 

Hi Dr Azukas,
I just wanted to say “thank you” for a WONDERFUL class experience.

I learned so much in just these four weeks. This was, by far, the most helpful and relevant class I have taken in the supervisory cert program.  I learned so much practical information about group management and leadership styles and the observation and feedback process.  

Thank you for how hard you worked to adapt this class to an online format and still make it so applicable and engaging. I looked forward to class each night and always felt like it was time well spent – you balanced lecture and clarification of important topics with real-world application and practice of skills, which helped us all to grow and understand the content that much better. I even (...kind of) enjoyed the group projects, and I’ve never said THAT before in my LIFE.

I loved this class,

I learned so much!

Dr. Azukas was the very first professor I had when I came to ESU and she definitely set the bar high for the rest of my professors.  Her passion and drive is contagious and pushes you to have the same intensity of passion!  Her teaching style wasn’t based on teaching material purposed for passing a test like some professors; instead, she taught using a style that engaged us as students better and all class assignments and homework helped us move forward in our program.  She keeps her lessons and activities current using different technologies and methods other than the traditional worksheet and paper test. Her teaching methods enhance critical thinking and the course content really makes you put into perspective your reason for wanting to enter the field. Taking Dr. Azukas’ class made me realize my passion for teaching and she helped shape and mold my teaching style when I was her TA. The experience was all-around career building and I’m grateful to have been taught by Dr. Azukas!  

Hello Dr. Azukas, I would first like to start this off by thanking you for being so kind even while I was falling behind. I've been struggling really hard with having to go back home for the semester and it truly helped bring up my spirits being able to attend your classes and be encouraged.

Hi Dr. Azukas,
Thanks again for your suggestions about what questions to focus on for my interview.  I am so glad I asked you for your advice because they asked me about EVERYTHING that you mentioned. I was definitely more prepared for this interview than the last one!  Thanks so much!

I enjoyed the collaboration in this course. We were always communicating and working with our peers. I learned so much from the instructor, the readings,and my peers throughout this course

Thank-you professor for helping me gain more knowledge in this course, this class definitely helped me get ahead along with making me want to help others.