In a word, I offer you experience. With over 25 years of work in engaging and encouraging students, I am a seasoned practitioner who knows how to communicate and obtain the best results. My experiences include:
My own educational background is based on the love of learning; a quality that I try to build in others. I hold two graduate degrees; A Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota and a recent Master of Public Administration from Columbia University.
I worked in a diverse school setting in urban central Minneapolis, before following my own dream of working on climate change solutions. My experience teaching includes teaching AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science with 2 students in each course obtaining a score of 5 on the test. In my work, I benefitted from several opportunities including writing a middle school physical science textbook; working with faculty to incorporate new educational technology; teaching abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer and through fellowships; and obtaining certification to teach introductory engineering and design.
I designed curriculum and instruction tailored to meet the needs of a wide range of students from age 9 to adults. Particularly, I focus on SMART goals.
o Strategic: Working to find common ground and being well planned to meet the immediate goals as well as building toward a future.
o Measureable: Knowing that we have met the goals includes a process of evaluation, review and reporting.
o Authentic: Connecting the concepts to the real work of practitioners in the field helps students to see the purpose of their learning.
o Relevant: Working one on one to use examples and a context for learning requires getting to know the student and building on their experience.
o Timely: Due to our busy schedules and the demands of coursework, goals are ranked according to their immediacy.
My early career in teaching started by working for a large volunteer tutorial service at the University of Wisconsin. My experience in teaching study skills through that program helped me to work with students for whom the course content was not the only challenge.
My own research interests in education center on work in Cognition. Essentially, how do we know what we know? More importantly, how do we come to an understanding of the material that allows us to make use of it? The combination of my teaching background and my learning helps me to identify obstacles, like misconceptions that make learning difficult.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Bachelors, BS - Science Education
Graduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Masters, MEd - Curriculum and Instruction
Exploring new places locally and globally, I love to cook and listen to music
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Educationally, I am what is known of as a constructivist. To simplify, it means that I view the process of learning as a building project. The foundation rests on your own individual context which includes your experiences and other factors. In practice this means that I favor setting out a "blueprint" of design and then arranging learning activities based on achieving it. Having a plan makes it easier to see how the parts fit to the framework.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
1 hour session: (15 min) Getting to know you. (15 min) What is happening in your coursework & providing context to develop a plan for future sessions (15 min) Lets work some problems! (10 min) What are your immediate and long-term goals & what questions do you have about the next step (5 min) End of session plan and evaluation.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There is an old yarn that you can feed a hungry man a fish or you can teach them to fish and she will always have something on the table. The process I use is called "scaffolding". This means that you first do an assessment of what needs support. Then we structure goals and activities to provide a framework for building. As work progresses, the activities rely on the foundation that has been built. The next session will ask for you to use the skills or knowledge of the previous session.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
For many students, the greatest fear is that they will not be able to understand the material. Two factors play into this fear. First, it is often based on feeling overwhelmed by the material. Secondly, some information is missing or contradicts their own understanding(s). To address feeling overwhelmed, it is important to have a plan with learning goals that allows you see that what you are learning fits into an overall structure. To build on our knowledge often requires us to concentrate on one aspect at a time. To address the feeling of having missed vital information there are a variety of tools (some digital and some old school) that serve as resources and organizers. Our own misconceptions are based on our experiences. They ring true to us until we gain new insights from out learning.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
We learn in multiple ways. Some of us like to take things apart to see how they work, while others would rather read the manual. Often the largest difficulties come from trying to take on too much, losing site of the goals or trying to approach the problem with the wrong tool in hand. This is why it is important for me to get to know you. Breaking the task down into steps, finding context and trying different tools are all strategies that work.