Teaching Philosophy

As a teacher, my purpose is to lead my students to mastery of course concepts rather than the simple absorption of information.  To do so, I build my students’ skills from retrieval of information, to synthesis of information, and finally critical analysis. True mastery of a concept means it can be used as a tool beyond initial in-class applications. In mathematics, this process involves student-led derivation of key formulas upon which the structure of logical theory is built. While the social sciences may not have equivalent fundamental principles, all students of social science can learn to understand and exploit the underlying models of social and political thought in a similar way. To lead students to this meta-analysis of social patterns, I help them to examine their own preconceptions, asking them not only what they think about an issue or concept, but why they think it.

Interdisciplinary approaches can be discomfiting, even threatening, when they challenge our notions of “right” and “wrong” ways of thinking – fundamental ways that people make sense of the world. I believe that students need to be supported as they gain greater comfort with ambiguity. I aim to help students become more intellectually flexible, more confident in their own analytical powers, and more capable of intellectual adventure.

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“Dr. Bergren was clearly very passionate about the subject matter and extremely qualified to debate it, which made for a more engaging and beneficial course as a whole. Being inspired to care about the environment beyond the sort of sad resignation to our fate that a lot of people have went a long way to… Continue reading Fall 2018 (ENV 120)

Fall 2018 (ENV 120)

“First GSI I’ve had in my 4 years at Cal that was like a friend – there was no hierarchy, and for that I am so grateful. It changed the way we interacted with the material. It was a privilege to be her student.”

Spring 2015 (Environmental Health)

Dr. Bergren was very enthusiastic about teaching this course, was open to any discussions that arose, and seemed to have knowledge about every possible environmental topic.

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

Very engaged, enthusiastic (even at 8 o’clock in the morning), was available and very attentive and friendly during office hours, answered questions thoroughly and encouraged the students to give their inputs on the questions of others as well, made the class environment feel welcome, actually got the students to engage with one another.

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

She is phenomenal.

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

This is my favorite class and Dr. Bergren is amazing! 🙂

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

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