Student Profile: Cameron Dexter Torti builds collaborative learning environments

Monday, March 8, 2021
Cameron Dexter Torti

Cameron Dexter Torti is a doctoral student in the Department of Education, working with Dr. Sarah Roberts and emphasizing in Teacher Education and Professional Development. After graduating with a B.A. and teaching credential from CSU Channel Islands in December 2013, Dexter Torti spent the next five and a half years working at the elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education. He taught in California, Texas, and Louisiana. While in Texas, Dexter Torti earned his M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from Baylor University. His research interests include second language learners, teacher education, equity and education, and empowerment through social studies instruction and curricula.

GGSE: How have you been spending time during the campus shutdown?
Dexter Torti: I am a very social person, so lockdown has been pretty difficult! Thankfully, despite lockdown, I am still able to connect with colleagues and have met a ton of wonderful people virtually. I can't wait ’til we are able to congregate again safely! In the meantime, there has been a lot of hanging out with my three cats and long walks and hikes to enjoy some sun whenever possible.

GGSE: What made you decide to return to school after teaching?
Dexter Torti: Returning to get my terminal degree was something I always wanted, and truly, I couldn’t believe it when the opportunity to work and collaborate within the GGSE community came, and I knew I had to take it. I believe teacher education and professional development is a vital tool in pursuing the systemic changes we know public education needs to make, and I look at the work of getting my Ph.D. as working to better prepare to be an effective ally and changemaker for issues of equity.

GGSE: What's the most important thing you learned from teaching in a classroom?
Dexter Torti: Working as a teacher taught me the importance of empowering students to take risks and make decisions with their educational opportunities. Especially in the information age, it is vital for teachers to be facilitators within the learning environment and to engage with students in collaboration. Additionally, through the collaborative learning environment, students were more vocal advocates of their needs, opening a dialogue for students to engage more authentically in the learning process.

GGSE: Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Dexter Torti: This is a tough one! I admire a lot of people and find myself inspired by their stories. I think the most personal and best people I can think of are Angela and Onorio Torti, my grandparents. They immigrated to the United States, ending up in Los Angeles, and worked incredibly hard to be successful in their profession and involved in their communities. I admire them greatly.