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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She is phenomenal.

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

Professor Bergren helped me learn how important it is to manage big projects. She also taught me many things about american culture, environmental writing, and the environment. She opened my perspective on these topics.

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

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

Fall 2017 (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)

Dr. Bergren is the most genuinely passionate and engaging professor that I’ve had, so even if I didn’t think I was particularly interested in what we were talking about, she made it interesting to learn, and really made me think. She emphasized why things are important, too, so it didn’t feel like anything we were… Continue reading Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

Fall 2017 (ENV 120)

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