Kennesaw State Lecturer of psychology Amanda Wolfe has used her real-world application of skills and knowledge to teach students creative problem-solving methods.
In the classroom, Wolfe has utilized the skills she acquired helping patients and students from all walks of life. She said her teaching philosophy is fostering a respectful learning environment, for students, faculty and the field of psychology.
Wolfe emphasized the importance of including trusted teaching methods as well as new ones.
“As the world changes … You have to change what’s actually in the classroom,” Wolfe said. “I see that as being part of respect. I’m going to try to make my classroom the best fit for [students].”
A graduate of the Counselor Education and Practice Ph.D. program at Georgia State University, Wolfe trained future mental health professionals on how to maximize their patient’s comfort while helping them cope with negative scenarios and emotions.
With her work in counseling, Wolfe provided therapy more directly. She did so by helping struggling youth turn dangerous situations into positive experiences that could benefit them in the long run.
“My clients were trauma survivors … teens and children,” Wolfe said. “I know for a fact that as little contact as I have had with them, that some of them definitely improved after the counseling time that we spent together.”
This carried into Wolfe’s desire for her students to leave her class thinking outside of the box. She said that people tend to associate being different as a bad thing and this has hindered diverse education in her opinion.
“A lot of times we instantly decide that if something’s rare or uncommon that there’s something wrong with it,” Wolfe said. “That’s not statistically true.”
Wolfe said she wants her students to leave the classroom motivated to succeed in the face of adversity. She regarded college as being tremendously empowering but noted that it can also be discouraging to those who might have difficulty in class. Wolfe wants her students to be able to turn failures and negativity into future successes, which hearkens back to her experience as a mental health counselor.
“There were plenty of times when I was an undergrad when I did not feel represented or felt … disempowered[sic],” Wolfe said. “What I hope that students learn is that we are all trying to do our best and that I’m here to help you.”
For this purpose, Wolfe has kept her office decorated like an extension of her home and is open to all seeking advice. Wolfe said that she wants her environment to feel accommodating so that students feel welcome to come and chat anytime.
In the future, Wolfe said she plans to teach more hybrid classes so that she can strike a balance between technology and face time with her students.