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In my favorite classroom OU 316

When she was a child, Dr Tan used to line up all her stuffed animals in neat rows, and spend hours “teaching” them how to spell, add numbers, and tell time. Her pocket money went to red pens and gold stars to correct their homework. Today, teaching and grading still bring her immense joy, and much of her work feels like play. As the saying goes, ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’.

Dr. Tan’s Developmental Psychology course is based on three modules that are grounded in three theories (proposed by Bronfenbrenner, Vygotsky, and Piaget). And a book-writing project with children (the Co-Authorship Project) integrates in-class instruction with beyond-class experience in a way that reinforces each context for learning.

Her Social Development course uses in-depth discussion and an oral exam structure with the goal of sharpening students’ ability to articulate theories and research findings in oral communication. Weekly experience supporting children’s play in elementary school playgrounds (the Playground Crew project) integrates in-class learning with beyond-class experience.

Her Psychology of Music course emphasizes familiarity with research studies and primary readings in music cognition research, culminating in panel discussions with the professor. Students are sent on brief missions to connect in-class learning with musical experiences beyond the classroom.

Creativity: Inspiration and Beyond (First Year Seminar) is designed to build and refine incoming students’ skills in reading, writing, discussion, and critical/conceptual thinking, while exploring many intriguing facets of creativity as expressed in art, music, dance, film, literature, science, and invention.

In her words:

While I want students to master the content of my courses, what I really wish for is for students to experience the exhilaration of learning. A lifelong love for learning is transforming because it sets one’s scope for wonder, insight, and discovery. This is what I hope every student will find in their four-year adventure at “K.”.


Dr Tan also maintains a blog on Psychology Today , covering fun topics linked to psychology, film, music, creativity, and child development. Many ideas for the blog were inspired by her classes or by students.  CLICK HERE to read her BLOG

Classes I Teach


Developmental Psychology PSYC 210 (Prerequisite: General Psychology

Social Development PSYC 460 (Prerequsite: PSYC 210 and Junior standing)

Psychology of Music PSYC 285 (Prerequisite: General Psychology and at least five years of music/voice lessons strongly recommended. Please contact me if questions).

First-Year Seminar

Creativity: Inspiration and Beyond (For incoming first-years)

Photo: Keith Mumma 2018