Published by the CFCC Teaching/Learning Institute.
Contact Person: Jim Roe, Building 3,Room 117J
Ocala Campus, Extension 1782 or 1708
Energetic, purposeful, creative, Central Florida Community College
promotes learning in an open, caring, inclusive environment which encourages
individual and community development inspired by shared values of
integrity, service, responsibility and diginity
by Jim Roe, T/LI Coordinator
It’s Thursday morning. The red light is glowing on the phone and my Outlook says that I have 22 e-mails in my inbox. I have three stacks of papers to grade, and a new exam to write for Monday. Four students are at my door waiting to ask questions and I’ve had only two cups of coffee.
I will deal with the students first and explain the problem the way I always do…only slower and louder this time. When they leave, I can finally get my work done. The clock on the wall is stuck at 9:12 a.m. and I need another cup of coffee. I am beginning to think that I may have made a serious judgment error in my career. I get my coffee, lean back, and dream of a better job.
What if a business provided a needed service to the people of the community? Not just any service, but a service that is more in demand as the economy weakens. We could provide a service that is accessible, affordable, and high quality. Additionally, there would be government grants, low interest loans, and other funding available to the people to help them acquire our service. If we designed this business, what would it look like?
What if we were altruistic and first thought of the people we serve? We could provide them with experts in their field, even if it means advertising and interviewing for the most qualified employees. We could provide the people with a flexible schedule, day or night, even if it means allowing them to receive our service at home. We could also provide adequate technology to the people – not necessarily state of the art technology, but technology adequate for the service provided. We could even provide extra service to the people via private counseling. Finally, we could provide adequate social activities to the people to help them feel that they are a part of our business. But enough about them, let’s talk about us…the employees.
What if we could write our own schedule, not punch a time clock, and even provide our service from our desk at home. Because we are providing private counseling to the people, some of our working hours should be dedicated to counseling time. If the people decided not to take advantage of the counseling, we could do other tasks during this time…a great time to learn about that technology. We could even dedicate some hours to our own professional development. We should be accountable for about 25 to 35 hours per week. While we are at it, let’s keep the working days to a manageable level, say 168 working days per year. We could provide extra workdays, maybe twelve weeks, as an option. At first glance, this seems a little excessive, but maybe we could include some days where could get together and brainstorm ways to improve our profession…all on company time. Finally, the business could pay us to travel so that we can share our ideas and learn from others in our business. Oh, one more thing, the business should provide free access to plays, sports, music, poetry, and a gym for our holistic development as well.
What if we could limit the control of management? We might be able to minimize their impact if we write the business regulations so that committees recommended most policies and directives. The committees would obviously be comprised of employees. After all, the employees are the people who are providing the service and know how to do it best. Within the guidelines of certain regulatory directives, the employees themselves should be able to have a say in the business decisions. That being said, management should be the ones to answer to a governing board regarding accountability and fiscal matters. We certainly do not want to open that can of worms.
The ringing phone startled me out of my daydream. Another student is at the door, and I have a committee meeting in fifteen minutes. What’s the difference between my job and the one I just described? Maybe it is just my perspective. I think I’ll have another cup of coffee.
So, Judy, what inspired you to become a Spanish teacher?
I grew up in Panama; my parents moved there when I was four and I stayed until I graduated from high school. While I was there, well, I just fell in love with the culture and the language.
Your father worked for the Panama Canal Company didn’t he?
Yes. My parents were born in Florida, though.
Being immersed in a language when you’re a child—that’s completely different from learning a language as an adult.
Absolutely, because it was so natural. Even though most of my friends were American, and I went to the American school, the language and culture was all around us—television, the local bus drivers....a couple of my girlfriends had Panamanian fathers—everywhere you went Spanish was spoken. We also had a Spanish speaking maid—she was fourteen, her name was Maria—she watched us and cooked, and cleaned. She didn’t speak a word of English.
So now you’ve being teaching how long?
At CFCC 13 years. Before that in high school –five years.
Tell us about some new trends in teaching foreign languages. Is it still primarily grammar?
Well, the primary focus of Spanish I and II is grammar, but today we stress a more holistic approach
And that means…
We try to incorporate real life situations; it’s not just grammar drills. Now the trend is to use as much of the outside culture as possible—the web, radio stations, trying to incorporate soap operas or films that are current—not so much the history, but what’s relevant now…so that’s the trend. And we try to speak more in the classroom; speaking back is the hardest skill for the student
Sometimes learners master what they learn. Multiplication tables, driving a car, cooking a casserole. How do your students handle the fact that they are not going to be able to master Spanish in a semester or two? Or do they?
No they don’t. They don’t master Spanish in one year. It is disappointing to students, especially those who think they are going to be bilingual at the end of the semester. But hopefully they learn enough to want to go on. We try to lay a solid foundation.
Besides being able to communicate, what else do students learn when they learn a foreign language? Isn’t learning a foreign language more than learning how to speak or translate a different language?
Well, learning a foreign language means learning about yourself and your own language.
Besides learning more about English, we talk about the nuances of language. And when they start analyzing another language they are analyzing their own.
That’s a good thing for our students.
It is a good thing. Learning a second language also gives the student a different view of people from other countries…We talk prejudices…the world view of Spanish speakers…for example, how Spanish is a masculine language and how that carries over into the culture itself. We also talk about how prejudiced people can be toward somebody locally speaking English as a second language. A lot of people don’t understand—particularly people who have never learned another language—that people who come over from a different country aren’t unintelligent—they are just having trouble expressing themselves in English. So, for example, one of the natural reactions is that we speak louder to these people
That doesn’t work.
No...or they make their body language more dramatic. That doesn’t help either. So I hope students become a bit more sensitive to these things by studying a foreign language themselves.
You teach Spanish I and Spanish II every term. As the instructor, how do you keep it fresh?
One way is finding new, innovative way to teach; there is a lot of new technology that works well, especially with our younger students coming from the media culture
Yes, they’re visual learners.
Right. Another thing that keeps it fresh is that I always learn so much from my students. I go into each class looking to learn from them. I want them to teach me something new. I want to know how they learn. And then those moments come when they say “Oh I get it!” That is very rewarding to me. I relish those moments. So yes the grammar is the same, and that can get old—but new teaching methods and new technology—there’s always new things to try.
On a daily basis what are some of your biggest challenges in the classroom?
Well, one of them is technology; it’s a blessing and it’s a challenge. Things happen so fast I can’t keep up with it myself. There are so many things I want to try that I get frustrated sometimes that I don’t have the time to check out all the new things that are out there. Another challenge is expectation of students. Like we were saying, some students expect to be bilingual without the work that it requires. They want to speak sentences without doing the grunt work—learning the grammar, memorizing the vocabulary. Students get impatient, so that can be challenging, explaining to them the importance of mastering one concept before we move on to another. They want the big picture right away.
You talk about technology, but a very low tech idea works well for you—tell us about your famous potato heads, Judy. How exactly do you use Mr. Potato Head in your classroom?
That has been one of my most popular teaching techniques. Well, first, it lowers the effective domain. Students are anxious. Learning does cause anxiety. When I pull out Mr. Potato Head® things can get a little foolish. But then they get into it. Mr. Potato Head® comes with lots of different parts these days.
I did not know that.
Sandals, surfboards all kinds of cool stuff. Students each have their own that come in different bags I have prepared. And if they see a part they don’t have, they have to ask another student, in Spanish, if they can borrow that part. So they get to use questions, body parts, colors…. After they create their own Mr. Potato Head® they present him to the class—they have to make up a name, like Jose Cuervo. Then after they introduce him, they have to describe him. “He’s wearing a blue hat, brown eyes.” I also play different games with them. For example I line all the potato heads up on the table, and then somebody gives clues as to which one they are describing, and the students have to guess which one they are describing from the clues they are given.
So the goal is?
To get them speaking. To get them thinking in Spanish. Instead of translating a sentence on the board from English to Spanish, they have fun creating the sentences and questions themselves.
You have been involved with Summer Fantasy recently. I think you were working on your online Spanish class.
Can a student learn Spanish online, Judy? I mean…really learn it…online?
[Laughs] It’s not the recommended way. You don’t get the same learning experience. Like any online course the students need to really work hard and be disciplined. It helps if they have taken Spanish in high school. I have had a lot of success by creating some talking power point lectures so they can see it and hear it and hopefully they’ll make the connection. It was Chuckie [Delano] who gave me the idea of making the short videos to put into the presentations. He helped me a lot.
Chuckie is a video tech wizard.
He is. I want to do more...with more difficult grammatical points...So if they don’t grasp the concept with the textbook, these online students can have another option...they can watch these short videos.
You juggled your teaching with being the Program Facilitator for Communications for the past three years. That must have been difficult.
Yes, I’ve learned a lot. Eric Warner took over as PF when classes resumed in January. I’m sure he’ll do a great job. And I’m looking forward to having some extra time to work on my online Spanish classes and to exploring new teaching technology.
Thanks for your time, Judy. And congratulations on completing your Ph.D. last summer.
Thanks. It feels great—a big relief.
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Dear Dr. Pantagruel,
I was told that the college tries to make it easy on new faculty, but I have five composition classes. I have papers stacked on my desk, in the trunk of my car, on my nightstand, and beside the toilet. How am I suppose to read nearly a million words a semester?
Capsizing in Communications
You read those things? What do you think this is, a private college? Listen—the interview is over; you got the job. Nobody cares about keeping up the sham of actually doing your job, least of all your students. Try this: for each class, give a couple of “A”s, a half-dozen each “B”s, “C”s, and “D”s, and the rest “F”s. Isn’t that how it turns out anyway? A few students might complain, but the time you spend threatening them into silence will be far less than what you’d spend reading their drivel, time better spent sprucing up your résumé.
Dear Dr. Pantagruel,
When I started teaching 20-some years ago, my students made better grades. These days I fail more than I pass, and I almost never have an “A” student. What’s wrong with them?
Sinking in Science
The good news: you’ve finally grown out of your grade-inflating tendencies. The bad news: You started teaching during the Cold War and are still here. Here’s a suggestion— Golden Pastures Senior Village has vacancies.
Dear Dr. Pantagruel,
I’m trying to take into account my students’ various learning styles when I design tests, but I’m not sure how to match them up. I think multiple choice tests are best for my kinesthetic students, essay questions best for read/write students, T/F best for visual, and read-aloud for aural. Is that right?
Waterlogged in Wellness
You’ve got it all wrong. You’re thinking about this from the perspective of your own learning style, which is G—gullible. Your errors are: (1) You wasted the college’s strapped budget on professional development funds to attend a learning styles workshop; (2) Worse, you used that travel money actually to attend the workshop instead of heading to the Keys like the rest of us; (3) Even worse, you swallowed the learning styles pabulum they fed you; and (4) Astonishingly, you “design” tests. Have you never heard of “The Professor’s Little Helper,” i.e., the test bank? (No—that bottle of Grey Goose in your desk is “The Professor’s Best Friend.”) Next time you’re “designing” a test on Friday afternoon, try to find your colleagues.
Dear Dr. Potogruel,
It seems like the same old thing each semester—inattentive students, asinine administrivia, idiotic legislation. I chose this career to make a difference, but I don’t feel it happening. Is it just me?
Beached in Business
Yes—it is just you. The rest of us never chose this career to make a difference. We chose it to have summers off. Your only worry should be how whale-like you’ll look in that bathing suit on Treasure Island in July, and if you’ve been sitting around brooding about this stuff, I’d suspect on the order of a baleen.
Dear Dr. Pooladrool,
I’ve heard the droning about outcomes for years now. Make it stop! Make it stop!
Immersed in Music
Enjoy the drone of the string section’s overture while you can. That occasional cornet’s toot is the leitmotif that heralds the thunderous horns of Assessment assembling behind the curtain. I have seen the gargantuan score: a deafening arrangement of dozens of trombones, trumpets, baritones, and tubas, with relentless poundings of bass drums and cymbals. By some nightmarish miracle, your screams of pain and protest will blend in right on key and become part of the orchestra, contributing to the very clamor you so despise. The composition itself is a self-generating strange loop, a musical möbius strip that will never, never end.
Or, you can just ignore it all and actually teach.
Dear Dr. Pantagruel,
Why’d they make Founders’ Hall so much bigger? Are we getting even more (gasp!) administrators?
Foundering in Physics
We have administrators?
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The Student Success faculty attended a professional development retreat earlier this academic year featuring student centered instructional strategies that promote academic and personal success. The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Marsha Fralick, author of the current SLS 1501 textbook College and Career Success Skills 4/ed.
The retreat was sponsored by the Teaching/Learning Institute and the Professional Development Center. The faculty members participated in many collaborative student centered learning activities that were designed to develop academic and personal success skills for students as well as received information and supplemental instructional resources to use in SLS 1501.
Those in attendance reported that they participated in many excellent activities and developed new ideas to enhance instruction. Dr. Fralick continues to serve as a resource for our SLS 1501 instructors.
Florida Philosophical Association
by Ron Cooper, Humanities
The 54th annual meeting of the Florida Philosophical Association was hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach on November 14-16, 2008. Professional philosophers, graduate and undergraduate students, a few philosophers from other states, and several now retired to Florida attended. The entire state was represented geographically and institutionally (research universities, private colleges, and community colleges, including Valencia, South FL CC [Avon Park], Pensacola Jr C, and of course CFCC). Most of the broad philosophical spectrum of philosophy was discussed; papers were presented on ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, contemporary epistemology, and ancient thought.
One session I attended was entitled “Exemplars in Environmental Ethics.” The author’s concern was the contribution of virtue theory to environmental, and his focus was on texts that record personal experiences that may serve as models of individuals employing exemplary virtues in their encounters with nature. The primary example was Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, which is of course our learning theme selection for this year.
As found in any academic conference, some papers were examples of works so highly specialized that they could be the products only of an academic industry that demands publications of its junior members. In a 1994 essay in the Journal of Philosophy, philosopher Scott Sturgeon argued that certain phenomenal states (the fancy term is “qualia”) do not fall within his taxonomy of epistemic evidence but serve as their own, self-supporting evidence. If correct, this would strengthen the “explanatory gap” problem. In the field of philosophy known as philosophy of mind, some argue that regardless of how thorough our descriptions of the nature of consciousness become, we are forever clueless at explaining how qualia arise from a hunk of meat in a skull. This is an important issue in philosophy, but this FPA paper focused upon a particular, minor claim in Sturgeon’s essay and was not a refutation (as the title claimed) at all. In fact, a well-trained philosopher unfamiliar with Sturgeon’s essay would come away from the session never knowing what Sturgeon’s full claim was.
A far better paper, especially in terms of general accessibility, was about the new field of “experimental philosophy,” something of an overlap of philosophy and sociology. In this field, philosophers poll the general
public’s views on particular issues and analyze the data to draw conclusions about rationality. This paper considered the work of two philosophers who conducted polls on free will and determinism. When asked if one can act freely in a universe in which every event is fully determined by antecedent causes, most subjects replied “no.” When given concrete examples, those subjects tended to answer differently. For example, subjects were told to imagine that Bob lives in a fully determined universe and commits a crime. Should Bob be held responsible? Most respondents were more willing to consider Bob blameworthy the more serious his crime. How do we account for this? The conductors of the poll suggested that serious crimes elicit strong emotions, and strong emotions tend to interfere with rationality. The presenter of the paper at the FPA conference argued that such an explanation assumes too sharp a distinction between thinking and feeling and that emotions need not be considered hindrances (in fact, can be aides) to rational decision.
Like other academic conferences, the casual chats over coffee were often better than the formal sessions. While many were technical discussions on philosophical topics, many were about teaching, and many were about budget cuts. For example, the UF philosophy department’s PhD program cannot accept new students. Also, travel funds have been reduced at most institutions, and the attendance at this year’s FPA conference was noticeably lower than usual. Of special note were gripes about learning outcomes. Some reported concerted efforts by faculty (not just in philosophy departments) at their institutions to oppose the trend while others advocated the stoical virtue of apathia and said that this too shall pass.
14th Slone-C International Conference on Online Learning
by John Anene, Citrus Social Science
This conference, held in Orlando December 5-7, was excellent and was attended by over 1900 participants from across the United States and abroad. The menu of e-learning activities included extended workshops, panel presentations, and plenary sessions. There were multiple and concurrent workshops and panel sessions for online instructions, for e-learn administration, and for technical support. Naturally, I focused on the instructional dimensions at the conference, and all my expectations were met. The conference exposed me to the cutting edge of the online epistemology and pedagogy.
The principles and practice of e-learn, now in the second generation, are beginning to transition to the third generation! It is increasingly becoming commonplace to use second life, social networking sites such as wiki, and dynamic syllabi to foster student learning. Many presentations at the conference suggested that theses “new tools” and the like make for effective content-student interactions, student-to-student interactions, and student instructor interactions. In addition, these new pedagogical add-ons may address the high dropout rate in online classes which was consistently mentioned during the conference.
Another point of interest in the second-generation principles and practice of online teaching is the internationalization of curriculum and education through the e-learn process. There were many presentations on effective partnership with foreign colleges and universities through the online course offerings. American instructors collaborated with foreign based instructors through online teaching and learning for the mutual benefit of their respective students.
In conclusion, I was able to pick up some ideas to further develop and implement in my e-learn classes as well as contribute some constructive suggestions in the sessions I attended based on some of the best practices that we use here at CFCC.
Mosby Clinical Learning Symposium
by Cynthia Ehrhardt, ARNP
This Orlando conference, held Jan. 4-6 and attended by Stephanie Cortes, Eileen McBroom, GN Niere, Roger Escarda and me, focused developing and expanding teaching concepts with the use of simulation for educators in nursing. The Preconference seminar covered how to learn to set up a simulation lab and get the funding. The second half of the day was devoted to how to create simulation exercises in Vital Sim’s Lab. We have Vital Sim’s mannequins, but I felt they had not been utilized to their maximum potential and this seminar allowed me to gain further knowledge to enhance this aspect of learning for our nursing students. I have created a scenario for the end of the semester to see if the students have “put it together” as a learning tool.
The next session was an active learning format to help engage students to learn through the use of visual cues to learn the steps of the Heimlich maneuver. Using a table grid format with pictures, you were able to recall the proper order of each step. I plan to implement this concept for student learning in various skills they must learn, and am sure I will find other uses for this concept. The common theme throughout all of these sessions was the gap between educators who for the most part are “digital immigrants” versus students who are “digital natives” and the need to adapt education to promote learning. This was one of the most beneficial conferences I have attended in several years. I look forward to Mosby’s offering of another session next year.
Roger Escarda: As with any other conference that I have attended, I went to Orlando with both enthusiasm and skepticism. Enthusiasm because I have always believed that there is always something new that another educator
or teaching institution can share with others, especially about keeping adult learners’ interest in the classroom. I was skeptical because we have been using simulation in class at CFCC in the ADN program already. What other ways could they possibly show besides different case studies? Then I read the phrase, “Learning by random opportunity” in one of the speaker’s slides. I felt somehow that I have deprived my past students of valuable experiences that could have been given in the laboratory.
Nursing clinical experience, just like in any other practical science, gives the best learning method to students. In the clinical setting, they get to see actual diseases, people’s reaction to these conditions, and the health care professional’s constant assessment and decision making in action. However, they all happen at random. This means that a few students may see all the top ten frequently occurring diagnoses and their management during one or two clinical rotations. But, a greater number of our students may never get that opportunity. Using the equipment (simulation mannequins, hospital setting in laboratory) we already have, we can provide this experience safely and effectively.
Full of enthusiasm and optimism, I put the simulation to work using small groups of four students. True enough, they felt the same nervousness, panic, and long pauses as expected but eventually performed satisfactorily as they are trained to be. Simulation takes much longer preparation but yields much better lasting learning. To quote a native proverb mentioned during the conference, “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may not remember, involve me and I will understand,” people do learn quicker by doing.
Florida Educational Technology
by Suzanne Breder, Citrus Social Science
On Jan. 23, I attended the Florida Educational Technology conference in Orlando. I teach EME2040: Introduction to Educational Technology at Citrus Campus, and felt that attending the FETC would allow me to learn more about current trends in educational technology as well as get a “hands-on” look at the latest technology entering our schools.
The first session I attended was a fantastic overview of Webbes (a free resource) and eBooks for use by the students to help them become authors. In Webbes, students can use a website to create a paper or eBook with their own stories or information. The presenters also showed how to use Webbes to differentiate instruction for students. In another session, I was able to obtain a CD of classroom resources and links sponsored by FDLRS (Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System). The CD contains information on helpful sites for teachers in all subject areas as well as assistive technology – many of these sites were free! FDLRS also produced a free booklet of many of the resources shared in the session and it is available digitally at:
I attended another session that focused on professional development practices – specifically making it fun for teachers to get more involved in using technology.
All of the sessions offered many new perspectives in using technology in the teaching and learning process. In the exhibit hall, I was able to see many new technologies at work. From the PBS Teacherlink booth, I was able to get some handy laminated tip sheets that will be useful to my students with evaluating internet resources – something we all need to watch for when surfing the web and visiting websites! All in all, it was a great day to visit the conference and become the learner instead of the teacher. I have many wonderful resources to share with my students, who will become our future.
by Ken Capps, Science
On March 20-21, I attended the 184th Two-Year College Chemistry Consortium (2YC3) Conference at Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City, Utah. 2YC3 is an organization comprised primarily of two-year college chemistry educators with the mission of enhancing student learning in chemistry. Overall, this was an excellent conference with speakers and informal discussions from chemistry instructors at various community colleges from across the United States. Topics included developing assessments; new innovative approaches to student learning; writing and submission of grants; the use of educational games; and guidelines for chemistry programs in two-year colleges. During this conference, I also had the opportunity to present on my Fulbright experience in South Africa. During my talk, I summarized my experiences, as well as provided comparisons between the curriculum and students in South Africa vs. the United States. General information on the Fulbright program was also provided. Overall, this was an excellent conference and well worth attending.
Association of Practical Nursing
Educators of Florida
by Kathleen Dismuke, Health & Human Services
The APNEF 2008 conference was held Nov. 6-7 in Altamonte Springs, and the first day’s sessions included a lecture from “Dr. Humor,” who explained the benefits of humor in education & healthcare. I also attended a Best Practice roundtable session entitled “Approach to Simulation & Recreating the Clinical Experience,” which helped with information for the PN program practicum. Finally, I attended a two-hour Prevention of Medical Errors class that provided licensure requirements and new data, which I found particularly useful since I teach this every fall to PN Students. In addition to our sessions, vendors from ATI/CRI testing were on hand to provide updated info for our testing service for PN’s, and the Evolve vendor reviewed new textbooks and curriculum information.
On day two, I attended update meetings with the Department of Education and with the Florida Board of Nursing Executive Director, which were very informative. I attended a lunch meeting with Deans and Directors to discuss concerns on staffing issues for new graduates, lack of clinical space, and to propose sending a formal letter to the Representative/Senators by our organization.
22nd Annual Marjorie Kinnan
by Ron Cooper, Humanities
The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society is dedicated to the study of Rawlings’s writing, the preservation of her Cross Creek home, the gathering of folk life of North Central Florida, and the celebration of Florida’s wider literary legacy. This conference in Gainesville, March 20-21, featured presentations on all those topics as well as a visit to Cross Creek/Rawlings National Landmark and to the UF library’s Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Collection.
Presentations included informal stories about Rawlings and her acquaintances (“Rawlings’s Cross Creek Pianist: A Recollection from hawthorn”), a poetry reading depicting 19th-century North Florida ethnic life (“Floridanos, Menorcans, Cattle-whip Crackers”), literary analysis (“Rawlings’s Last Stories”), and photographic exhibits (John Moran’s landscapes and Stetson Kennedy’s folk life series).
My participation was an interview with Stetson Kennedy. Kennedy, who is a folklorist, human rights activist, and author (his latest book was published just months ago), is 92 years old and has difficulty speaking for an extended time; so, I asked him questions, which allowed him to respond for a minute or two and then rest as I commented and asked another question. Kennedy knew Rawlings both as a writing instructor (he took a course with her at UF) and as a fellow writer interested in telling the stories of Florida’s common folk. Kennedy told of his days as the supervisor of the WPA’s Florida Writers Project in the 1930s and how that sort of research and writing differed from that of Rawlings. He also reminisced about Rawlings’s relationship to Zora Neale Hurston, the early efforts to preserve Rawlings’s Cross Creek home, and what Floridians can still learn from Rawlings’s writings.
A “Life-Changing” Experience
by Denise E. Moyer-Staker, Music Appreciation, Citrus campus
I attended the Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium VII; Understanding Music Expression, Feb. 5-7, 2009. This symposium was held at the University of South Florida, hosted by the Center for Music Education Research. I cannot thank Dr. C. Victor Fung, Director, Professor, School of Music; Director, Center for Music Education Research, enough for allowing me this “life-changing” experience. (http://cmer.arts.usf.edu/).
Research studies were presented by speakers from many parts of the world, including Taiwan, Poland, London, Japan, Canada, and across the United States. I was interested in attending, as my master’s thesis was a statistical research study in music education, and I have an article published in Journal of Research in Music Education. Some of these studies are ongoing and all were related to the theme of Musical Expression.
All of those in attendance were in the musical field and most had many degrees in music. Many had additional degrees in many other specialty areas. Can you imagine being in the same room with people with multiple advanced degrees and not only hear about their research and their philosophical theories, but also have a discussion with them?
For example, Dr. Elaine Chew gave a presentation titled, Decoding Performance Art through Music Science. “Chew earned Ph.D. and S.M. Degrees in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with an interdisciplinary dissertation on mathematical modeling of tonality, and a B.A.S. in Mathematical and Computational Sciences (honors) and in Music Performance (distinction) from Stanford University. She also holds diplomas in piano performance (F.T.C.L. & L.T.C.L.) from Trinity College, London.” (SMERS Program).
Dr. Chew has conducted several studies. One study that she presented indicated a use of a computer program in which a wheel, such as that used to drive a car, had buttons which the student can touch to change the elements of music. This allows the students to use the wheel as a musical instrument. They may press “dynamics,” (loud and soft) “tempo,” (speed) and other concepts or elements of music to change the video. Wouldn’t this be amazing to have at our school, so that our students could have this musical experience?
Another study, Role of Gazing Behaviour in Live Performances: Case Study by Satoshi Kawase, Osaka University, Japan. (SMERS). In this study, Dr. Kawase videotaped “gazing” behavior, analyzing eye contact between performers on stage. I see this as a study that may easily be replicated to instrumental or choral conductors and in our classrooms. How often do you notice a student verbalizing their opinion in class discussion, then looking across the room for validation or even possibly attempting intimidation?
I met Pei-Chen Lin, National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan, who was the presenter of another study, titled A Study of Music Appreciation Instruction on Music Textures for the Sixth Graders in Elementary School (SMERS). She used what I describe as a “zigzag” icon of thin ink to represent monophonic texture, a thicker icon to represent homophonic, and many icons to indicate polyphonic texture through private, applied piano instruction. I use texture of fabrics, such as terry cloth, or corduroy, or painting in art. Isn’t this interesting that people in Taiwan are attempting to find more interesting ways to teach the same concepts as in the United States? (She also invited me to another international research symposium in Taiwan!)
In my humble effort to attempt to summarize even a small part of this experience, these great speakers creatively expressed to us the challenge to continue to find avenues to allow our students more creativity; more opportunities for musical expression in the classroom and performance mediums. They suggested that we continue to find ways to teach in new ways relating our subjects to the world as they see it; to always be searching for ways to allow our students’ voices to be heard. Their philosophy is that the world is changing and we need to be aware that it is in fact changing, and we should continue to change with it, to continue to excite our students every day!
I think that we need not pass on our fears about this recession, but rather, look upon these times as a reformation or a transformation. We must not fear change, but convey positivity to our students that our future must get better!
by Deanna Stentiford, Health Occupations
In times of change, it is the learners who will inherit the earth, while the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exist. ~ Eric Hoffer
What does it mean to be a teacher? The variance of answers is probably as broad as the individuals who teach. What does it mean to teach a student? Do we accomplish that goal when we complete a lecture or when our exam scores are above average? I choose to view my teaching role as one who stimulates and facilitates learning that will continue throughout the students’ lives for many years to come. I believe that what we do in our classrooms is only a crack in the doorway to the educational room of wealth. We introduce concepts to students that are designed to be built upon as they continue to grow. Education is an evolution of knowledge for the teacher and the student.
My role in this position is multifaceted. I have an obligation to the student to research and present material. I must create an environment where learning will thrive and become contagious in the classroom. I continue to evaluate when learning has taken place and students are prepared for their next step.
I also have a responsibility to the college to uphold the high quality standards of Central Florida Community College (CFCC). I understand our mission and vision as I have been involved in two Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) visits and served as a facilitator for the sessions that created our directing statements. As a teacher, I must remain steadfast with a critical eye to ascertain that I carry the integrity of the position the college has bestowed upon me when I was entrusted to the classroom. We must align teaching experiences with the standards of our accreditation body, the learning outcomes the state requires, and the standards of our professional organizations while reaching each student and stimulating the love of learning.
Furthermore, I have a responsibility to our community and to the dental profession that through the program at CFCC, students become proficient in skills, responsible employees, and active citizens in our community. Students must also become proficient in critical thinking, communication and computer skills, analytical reasoning, and possess global socio-cultural awareness. The world of medicine depends on professionals that have honed these skills.
To achieve these responsibilities is a daunting task and one that I take seriously. Teaching can be a challenging, yet humbling experience. Just as each learning activity is different, each student learns the task a bit differently than the next. I begin my class with an understanding of each student’s academic abilities, learning styles, and personality types. I further share these findings with the other instructors in the program so they may also understand our students. I am fortunate to teach in a limited access program that allows me to better understand our students. My philosophy is that active learning is crucial for students to truly grasp and apply the information through the methods by which they learn best.
I find that communication is critical in order to successfully facilitate learning. Each student comes to us with a bag of presents that they sparingly open throughout the term. Many of our students come to college with a multitude of outside challenges; work and family obligations, financial challenges, lack of college preparedness, obscure expectations, lack of support, and lack of confidence or self esteem are only a few to list. Without our willingness to help them, they may not feel compelled to trust us and openly communicate. I demonstrate for students that I am approachable and a member of their learning team. I encourage students to visit me in my office where my door is always open. I often remain after class to chat with students. If they do not feel at ease to communicate with me about general things, they will not feel comfortable to talk to me about their challenges. Without this communication, I am limited on ways to help a student become successful.
My long-term goals are to create a European Study Abroad program for education. I also strive to become involved writing manuscripts for dental assisting textbooks. A lofty, though important goal, is to collaborate with another college to offer a dental hygiene bridge program while continuing to offer dental services to the less fortunate indigent population.
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Paul Rossiter Pays it Forward...
Dr. Cheryl Fante congratulates Paul Rossiter, Automotive Technology Instructor, on receiving a “ 25+ Years” Plaque from ASE (Automotive Service Excellence Organization) for having been an ASE certified technician for over twenty-five years. Paul’s Automotive Technology Program just recently went through the recertification process to maintain its NATEF Master Certified status.
...proving that Automotive Students are Certifiable!
Automotive Instructor, Professor Paul Rossiter, congratulates Eric Gellman, a December 2008 graduate, for having completed something that many veteran automotive technicians never achieve. Eric followed Rossiter’s suggestion to take the ASE Certification Examinations after each semester that the particular material was covered. Eric, a 4.0 GPA graduate, took and passed all eight ASE certification examinations. “You can’t believe how hard this is to do,” said Rossiter. “To be Master ASE Certified right out of the program is fantastic.”