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Faculty > Teresa Teng, M. A.

Title: Communication Instructor
Office Location:


The tenets that are the foundation of my pedagogy philosophy are: integrity, democracy, and empowerment.

Integrity: Who I am in the classroom is the same as who I am in the world. I hope to be authentic, transparent, and genuine with students. I mean what I say, and say what I mean. As an instructor, I try to model behavior that I encourage students to perform.

Democracy: Students are not isolated entities who only exist in the classroom. They are individuals who come from their own cultural and historical narratives. These narratives enable them to have their own unique points of view, which are significant contributions to our learning environment. I believe every individual in the classroom should learn to utilize their voices because we collaboratively make meaning out of knowledge and learn the skills to apply them beyond the classroom.

Empowerment: Communication theory changed my life. As a first generation Chinese American, I was raised in an immigrant, bilingual household. From a very early age, I was aware of the prevalence and interconnectedness of communication, culture and identity. Social exchanges are expressed through communication. It is through our communicative acts that enable us to continue our social performances. Understanding that we are able to co-construct our social realities through communication, and that we have the power to change our social realities through communication is an extremely liberating and empowering experience. This is the kind of empowerment I hope to share with my students.

Through communication theory, I hope they realize their own power to engender social change that not only can enrich their own lives, but improve the lives of our future generations. The manifestations of integrity, democracy, and empowerment in the classroom take shape as interactive lectures, in-depth discussions, engaging group activities, applied approaches to learning, critical writing assignments, course readings, and speeches.


  • B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Sociology, SJSU
  • M.A. in Communication Studies, emphasis in Intercultural Communication and Pedagogy, SJSU

    I was born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and moved to California as a child. I fell in love with communication theory when I attended my first Speech Communication course at Foothill College. From Foothill, I transferred to San Jose State University, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies, with a Sociology minor. I continued my graduate studies at San Jose State University. During my second year of graduate studies, I was accepted into the Graduate Teaching Associate program, where I taught public speaking courses. In 2009, I successfully wrote and defended my thesis research study entitled, Negotiating Multicultural Identities within the Classroom: Dialectical Tensions and Patterns of Praxis, which awarded me a Master's degree in Communication Studies. Post graduating, I taught elementary and high school students at an after-school learning center. I currently teach at San Jose State University and Gavilan College. It is truly an honor to be part of the Gavilan community.

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