I have taught Statistics at a college level for nine years. The reason I enjoy teaching Statistics is the fact that Statistics is a "real world" math that millions of people use every day. Almost every job you can imagine at some point in that career will use a statistical concept. For example, a police detective calculates the homicide rate for their district. The average number of yards the ball is carried is calculated on each running back in the NFL. Business owners calculate increase in product sales to see what products are selling and which ones should be discontinued. Registered Nurses measure the weight, height, blood pressure of an individual each time they visit the doctor. Patterns can be seen in these measurements and symptoms can be diagnosed.
Those are just a few examples, there are millions more. I really like statistics. In fact I'll say I'm a total nerd about statistics. I believe that everyone can benefit for the very basic concepts of statistics and that everyone can learn how to apply those concepts to their life and career.
Other than being a statistics nerd, I enjoy growing my own vegetable and flowers. I am an avid weight lifter and a total gym rat. I prefer jogging over running and I really like homemade cookies and brownies. I enjoy a good movie, good meaning that it either makes me laugh, cry or think more critically.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Wilmington - Bachelors, Applied Mathematics
Graduate Degree: Western Carolina University - Masters, Applied Mathematics
Gardening, Weight lifting, Outdoor adventures & cooking new, exciting dishes
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am a firm believer that everyone can follow the recipe for statistics and mathematics. Completing a problem is similar to making chocolate chip cookies. If you leave out the chocolate chips, you do not have "chocolate chip cookies." Same with solving a problem...you leave out a simple step and your problem is missing an ingredient for the right answer.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First session would consist of a basic intro between myself and the student. I would review where they currently are in their course, and speak to them about what concepts they have struggled with in the course in hopes to identify where the mistakes are coming from. That way, we can fill in the holes and have them be successful for the remainder of the course. Math and Statistics are building block subjects. This means concepts taught in the beginning of the course are relevant throughout the remainder of the course. Once the holes have been filled, we can move forward with the newer concepts.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By encouraging them to believe in their own strengths. Positive reinforcement is beneficial to all individuals. I would also provide guidance on proper studying skills and techniques.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By showing them their own progress. If the student doesn't see they have progressed or doesn't think they have learned anything, they will oftentimes become discouraged and, therefore, give up on the remainder of the course. Positive reinforcement of concepts they have achieved and struggles they have overcome is a strong motivational tool.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Go back to basics. Repeat their introduction to the concept. Identify where within the recipe of the concept they are getting off track or confused. Make a different association with the point in the process. Try again with the different ingredient, and see if the concept has solidified. If not repeat until the concept has solidified.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Honesty. I don't pretend to know everything nor every concept. I have, however, over years of teaching and research found that when I don't know what's going on, I will not fool the student into thinking that I know by pulling the wool over their eyes. I will be honest and, together with the student, we will research the concept and learn something together.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to find "real world" examples. Particularly with statistics, I like to use sports as my main source of data. I have found that over the years students that see real world data and examples can make the connection of how they will use the concept when they are working in a professional setting.