The desire to learn is inherent in every human being. The desire to learn science is not inherent. Thus desire becomes a driving motivational force for almost every student that enters my class. Therefore it is my role to provide them with accurate and up-to-date information about the topic, but also to draw them toward the desire to learn science. Although I am what some would call an old fashion lecturer I strive to incorporate humor, personal experience and factual examples of the concepts, principles and techniques I present in the lecture and lab.
My principal methodologies in lecture are the chalkboard, overhead (ELMO), short video clips, short discussions, questioning and demonstrations. By interjecting humor and critical thinking questions throughout each lecture I try to draw the student into the topic. Short discussions provide me the opportunity to hear where the students’ are in there thinking process and helps to expose weaknesses/gaps in their knowledge base. I also accomplish this by asking questions during my lectures. Additionally, asking questions allows me to make sure I don’t become glued to the chalkboard.
According to the Grashna-Riechmann teaching style survey I score differently for lectures and labs. My lecture style is high in expert, formal authority and personal model, moderate in delegation and low in facilitation. Given the lecture methods I use it is easy to see why I scored this way. In the lab however I score almost the opposite (high in facilitator, personal model and moderator, moderate in expert and formal authority. I have designed my lab instruction on the premise that discovery is a great way to learn. I believe that setting the student up for success in the lab is the best approach to getting them hooked on science. This has led me to develop or select labs that I can demonstrate and then turn the students loose to experiment with the procedures and report their results.
My selection/design in the microbiology lab is probably my best work at increasing student interest in use of the scientific method. After collecting a lot of experimental test data over the semester they then must use that data to determine the identity of their unknown sample. This requires them to be organized in the collection of the data and then they must analyze that data to determine which methods they will use, and in what order, to identify their unknown sample.
Since the majority of my students are allied health majors (nursing, physical therapy, and med lab tech), my goal for them is to pass the A2 exam with a high enough score to get accepted into their respective programs. From there I would like to see them succeed in the program and go on to become great in their chosen career. Because I live in the community I teach the driving force for me to succeed is that my students will become the care givers of me and members of my family someday. This is a powerful force.
As my students succeed in my courses and move on I always tell them, I have been the Master, you have been the Padawan Learner. Go use the Force and return someday as the Master.
Currently there are two faculty members (Respiratory Therapy and Nursing) who were my former students. There is no greater achievement for me.