Tag: Best Teachers

Curious David

Reflections on Advising, Mentoring and Open Office Hours

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Recently on FaceBook a former student, Jillian (now a high school teacher of AP Psychology) invited me to comment on Dana Dunn’s Psychology Today blog post about “The Overlooked Importance of Instructor Office Hours.”  Thank you, Jillian, for alerting me to his thoughts — and for continuing to stay in touch. I admire what you are doing professionally in “giving away” psychology in your teaching and coaching and mentoring of other AP Psychology teachers.

Dana writes well and gives important advice in his blog “Head of the Class.” Here are comments I made to him in response to what he wrote:

Well said! I am saddened at how fewer and fewer students come to my office to see me across the past forty years. I have an open door policy in addition to scheduled office hours. “Today’s” student seems to think that email communication serves the same purpose. I respect the fact that they are so busy with multiple jobs, student extracurricular activities, and their studies. Meeting them in person, though, in my office, allows for mentoring, my learning from them, and the building of a relationship that can in fact last across one’s lifetime. I have been so blessed.


I’ve been reflecting lately on my role as faculty adviser to undergraduates here at Carroll and about those faculty who played such a crucial role in that capacity for me. Without doubt their influence shaped how and why I relate to students and former students as I do.

At Oberlin College my most influential adviser was Ralph H. Turner. Ralph, the first faculty member to invite me to address him by his first name, somehow was able to provide me the right balance of challenge and support I needed both inside and outside the classroom. I fondly and respectfully remember him as intellectually curious, patient, playful, kind, and unusually generous in his time with me. Indeed he was willing to stay in touch with me even across the years that I was continuing my education at The Ohio State University. Thank you, Ralph.

I was blessed with a similar and even deeper rich and enduring relationship at Ohio State with Tom Ostrom, who was my adviser, research collaborator, mentor, friend, and role model until the day of his untimely death. Tom provided emotional support for me while I struggled with the likelihood of being pulled out of graduate school to be sent to Vietnam, listened to me as I sorted out my thoughts about getting married, wrote me a teasing letter about a study I should do if I ended up in jail, guided me in the transition from the intense research world of Ohio State to my current home at Carroll and inspired me to share with others my love of learning. His wisdom, lust for life, optimism, sense of humor, firmness, and candor still guide and humble me.

Both individuals so impacted my life in so many ways. I draw upon their wisdom each time I am interacting with a student in an advising capacity or with my student research assistants. Advising is much more than helping students make the transition from high school, providing advice in course selection, or giving guidance in deciding whether there is an afterlife after graduating from Carroll. The lessons taught me by Ralph and Tom aren’t and can’t be learned from adviser training workshops.

Alumni4

 

alumniCurious DavidDay 1

Day 1 (Professor’s Perspective) September 2017


Even after almost 40 years of teaching at Carroll, the first day of class is anxiety-arousing, pressured, critical, and rewarding. As a youth, I was so anxious about giving oral presentations that I fainted when I participated in my first school debate. I had a similar melt-down during the oral component of my graduate school general qualifying examinations in Social Psychology at Ohio State. With experience and a few set backs I’ve learned to over learn and to reframe (attribute) the performance anxiety I inevitably am experiencing into excitement for the task at hand. Sometimes I whistle a happy tune! Click that link and you’ll receive that sage advice from someone who sings better than I. 🙂

These academic first days of the semester pressures I feel are primarily situational nuisances : making sure that my syllabi and handouts are up-to-date, proof-read, and sufficient in number; visiting the classrooms ahead of time to better guarantee that there are enough seats and that the computer equipment works; thinking through how to handle disruptive classroom situations in particular classroom environments; and of course trying to respond in timely fashion to the myriad course-related emails. [Note the irony that I just now am posting this blog post due to first-semester busyness!].

For me the first class meetings are vital for relationship and credibility building—for getting to know my students, creating shared and appropriate expectations, and establishing standards for both students and for me.

This semester I am teaching two sections of PSY 205 “Statistics and Experimental Design” (and its two labs) and PSY492, a Research Seminar focusing on the topic of brain-training software.

Based on 1) student evaluations, 2) what my students demonstrate that they can do at semester’s end, 3) how I feel every time I teach it, and 4) feedback I get from alumni  “Statistics and Experimental Design ” is without doubt my best taught course. Among the challenges in teaching such a class successfully are the attitudes that some students bring (“I hate math”; “I don’t do well in math”; “I’m afraid”), weaknesses in students’ fundamental computational skills, and their inexperience with my strongly believed outlook that statistics (and data analysis) is a tool, a language and a way of thinking. Here are some reflections I shared a few years ago about teaching the course.  How amusing that even in that class, the one in which I am most confident and comfortable, I missed seeing the dog who was present!

Was my failure to notice canine Kia (whom I had met numerous times and who was even featured in a local newspaper story) an example of what Daniel Simons calls Inattentional blindness? Or was my attentional oversight/ blindness due to my being used to always having a canine companion near me, under me or underfoot?

 

I’m quite excited about teaching the Research Seminar PSY492. Every day we meet there will be opportunities for data analysis, critical reading, reflective writing, and discussion related to the course’s topic. Relationship building is easier here since I already know all 10 students.

Let Week Two Commence!!

Carroll University USACurious DavidDogs

Dogs have often proven to be among my best teachers…

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Today I am “dog-tired”—it was a three dog night yesterday as we celebrated a birthday with dear friends.

Several summers ago I was humbled at how much I have yet to learn about teaching and about learning. A friend Mary directed her, beloved, devoted blind Newfoundland Ernie to “rescue” me by, on command, swimming out to a rowboat where I feigned being in distress and he towed me back to shore.Blind Ernie

It has been 6 months since Robin the Newf left my life. She leaves me with many fond memories and enduring lessons about patience, love, persistence, forgiveness, coping with pain, loyalty, and playfulness.

New parents

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Her successor, Leo the Great, already is reminding me of all those lessons and, in his own way, offering me new things to learn.

Leo2

 

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Robin and Glenn the Big Dog and Mollie the Golden Retriever and Queenie and Duchess and Snapper and Freud and Leo have made me laugh and cry, exhausted and rejuvenated me, and constantly pointed out to me the frailties of being a human.

My father-in-law, Walter G. Schmidt deep love of dogs was extolled in a eulogy given by the Reverend Charles Valenti-Heine:

…”And that world, for Walter, included his beloved Canines. Lucy, Canis, Oaf, Chaucer, Trollope, and Freud, the last named because Walter was told that the companionship of a good dog was of greater worth to people than any other therapy! The one time I remember Walter speaking in church was when Trollope died, and he stood up during joys and concerns to opine: ‘If there is a place in heaven for Presbyterians, then surely there is a place for greyhounds.’

I have had many dog role models both real and fictionalized. As I child I fondly remember Mr. Peabody and his seven-year-old sidekick, Sherman. I am attracted to the nonsense of dog cartoons in the same way that my dogs are attracted to scents.  Though many of my friends claim I behave more like Dilbert, I have often learned from the philosophies of  Dogbert  and of SnoopyRudyard Kipling  and Lord Byron have warned us of how dogs can capture your heart! Dogs continue to teach me so much! Some day soon I hope to be their full-time student.


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Thank You, Global Educators, for Your Impact

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A provocative blog piece by Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in La Mancha, Spain… We had “interacted” in prior years when he shared with me how he used Animoto  to make a Carnival 2014 video. Now we interact on Linked-in and, soon,  Skype. Thank you, Colleague, for helping me to discover new ways of learning and sharing my learning via Padlet

A care package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan,  in Turkey who was the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely followed…

 Thank you, Inci, and congratulations on your recent wedding….

A Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals years ago and whetted my  interest in global communication. Heartfelt thanks, Irma—though we have lost touch, what I have learned from you and with you has been enduring….

An informative hour-long  Fuzebox.com  conference with Julie Lindsay, an educator in Australia, about the Flat Connections Global Project —my world continues to expand as it shrinks. Thank you, Julie—I find your China project particularly intriguing and hope that we can be in touch again soon.

How does one keep up with “the learning revolution” or Classroom 2.0? How does one keep abreast of developments in International Education? I try to keep reasonably aware of international events through reading articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. I occasionally shadow Global Education Conferences  and follow several WordPress blogs dedicated to Global Education. And yet I am so globally illiterate. Here are some of my past musing about these questions

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/08/06/loosely-translated-a-lithuanian-a-turk-an-american-and-a-teacher-from-poland-enter-a-virtual-meeting-room/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/05/07/three-questions-raised-from-attempting-to-create-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/14/reflections-on-creating-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course-lessons-learned-part-1/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/21/pioneering-a-virtual-european-cultural-immersion-course/

Here are my some of reflections on this topic a few years ago… The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done. I’d welcome your thoughts.

  • Increase awareness and use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine.
  • Incorporate Kiva into the classroom.
  • Explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being.
  • Tap into high quality online  or “portable” courses.
  • Explore other languages.
  • Capitalize on cultural universals such as musiccusine, sports, and literature.
  • Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?

And here are even earlier reflections…..

I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst century? What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded? Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread?  Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools?   Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology?  Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones?  What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?

Ayuda me. I’m going postal 🙂  global!

Curious Davidelearning

Heartfelt thanks to all my teachers I have never personally met—and one in particular


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Winding up; winding down. As I shoveled cleaned out  organized books, folders, software, and files in my office today I came across materials from the First-Year Seminar “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools” I taught to 25 freshmen in the Fall of 2008. To toss or not to toss—that is the question. I ultimately rejected Marie Kondo’s advice.

It’s fascinating to see how technology tools have evolved since 2008. My electing to teach that course was based upon the positive learning experiences I had for a year blogging for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That’s where I met you, Pamela Gustafson—once, in person! You helped me bridge the Kindergarten to Higher Education gap.

Without doubt my most formative and informative learning about blogging and internet learning tools came from someone I have never personally met but to whom I am eternally indebted—the indefatigable, ubiquitous, Friend and Colleague across the pond Jane Hart. I urge all my readers to visit her web site on a regular basis and avail yourself of the rich resources.

As I re-examine my  teaching, writing, and personal professional development records  across the past 1o years  I time and again find ample, wide-ranging evidence of her constructive impact on what I know, how I teach, how I learn, and how I consult. Thank you, Jane Hart. My research students and I will be dedicating our student guides to you for your profound influence upon us.

—David

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Curious David

What is the Role of a Faculty Adviser?

DSCN8480I’ve been reflecting lately on my role as faculty adviser to undergraduates here at Carroll and about those faculty who played such a crucial role in that capacity for me. Without doubt their influence shaped how and why I relate to students and former students as I do.

At Oberlin College my most influential adviser was Ralph H. Turner. Ralph, the first faculty member to invite me to address him by his first name, somehow was able to provide me the right balance of challenge and support I needed both inside and outside the classroom. I fondly and respectfully remember him as intellectually curious, patient, playful, kind, and unusually generous in his time with me. Indeed he was willing to stay in touch with me even across the years that I was continuing my education at The Ohio State University. Thank you, Ralph.

I was blessed with a similar and even deeper rich and enduring relationship at Ohio State with Tom Ostrom, who was my adviser, research collaborator, mentor, friend, and role model until the day of his untimely death. Tom provided emotional support for me while I struggled with the likelihood of being pulled out of graduate school to be sent to Vietnam, listened to me as I sorted out my thoughts about getting married, wrote me a teasing letter about a study I should do if I ended up in jail, guided me in the transition from the intense research world of Ohio State to my current home at Carroll and inspired me to share with others my love of learning. His wisdom, lust for life, optimism, sense of humor, firmness, and candor still guide and humble me.

Both individuals so impacted my life in so many ways. I draw upon their wisdom each time I am interacting with a student in an advising capacity or with my student research assistants. Advising is much more than helping students make the transition from high school, providing advice in course selection, or giving guidance in deciding whether there is an afterlife after graduating from Carroll. The lessons taught me by Ralph and Tom aren’t and can’t be learned from adviser training workshops.

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Syllabus Creation Time (David in Candy Land)

This is NOT my office.

This is NOT my office.

 

Refreshed, recentered, rejuvenated, and fortified by candy (hence David in Candy Land) from Galena, Illinois, I’m back in the office preparing syllabi. Classes resume tomorrow (Tuesday) for me at Carroll. Even though I am teaching only one class (twice) this semester (“Statistics and Experimental Design“), syllabus creation takes quite a bit of thought and time. I hope to get a lot of writing done this semester. Alas, I say that every semester! Maybe I’ll instead follow up this statistical investigation of Candy Land🙂

 

Psychology 205SyllabusSP2015Psychology 205SyllabusSP2015


Curious DavidMothers

Whispered Words of Wisdom

Whispered Words of Wisdom from My Mom at Her Memorial Service

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sun City, Arizona

Good Morning! I am David Simpson, Pat’s oldest (perhaps Prodigal ) son sometimes called  “David D.” by her.  A Professor of Psychology for the past 35 years, I am wont to speak for 50 minutes or to twitter for 140 characters, but here, as she would wish, I shall be uncharacteristically brief.

90th Birthday Celebration: Bruce, David, Connie, and Mom

*smaile

*Family 1955

*clownsClowning at 90th Birthday Party

My mother was a life-long Teacher. She taught me how to read.  As soon as I learned how to read, I tried to teach Baby Bruce. Even today I love reading and teaching.

Mom taught me about life and about death and how to pray the 18th century Children’s prayer (personalized version):

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take

God bless Mommie and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma

Connie Sue and David and Brucie and Queenie

And EVERY BODY!!!!!  Amen

My mother was both simple and complex. She was a lady —prim and proper. She was good-humored, reflective, energetic, slim and vivacious. She loved children and music and clowns and cows and rainbows and especially took pride in her own children— respecting, accepting, treasuring, and nourishing their differences. Mom was a worrier—especially about the well-being of her guests. I do not doubt that she is worried right now about this service and that the guests feel welcome.

Mom leaves me with these whispered words of wisdom:

*truck

  • Don’t worry about doing THE Right Thing, but do A right thing.
  • Live, Love, Learn, and ——Give.
  • Be Good (for Goodness’ Sake).
  • Be Nice to your Brother and Sister.
  • Be Patient.
  • Be Kind
  • Be Giving.
  • Be Forgiving.
  • Be of Good Cheer.
  • Be You.
  • Be—–

and

  • Let it Be.

Obituary: Patricia Ann Stover (Simpson) Swinger

(Thanks to Sister Connie Sue and Brother Bruce for writing this).

February 2, 1924–April 18, 2014/ Sun City, AZ

Born in Robinson, Illinois to Nelson T. and Beulah Copley Stover, she had two siblings: Robert Nelson Stover and James Copley Stover. Her summers were spent at Interlochen, a world-renown music school/camp where she studied a number of instruments, including flute, piano, and organ. Her life centered around her family, her faith, and her music—not necessarily in that order.

After graduating from Robinson High School, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio where she met and later married Frank C. Simpson of Cleveland, OH. Frank was in the United States Navy, and soon after they were married June 30, 1945, she moved to FL to be close to him. Three children were born to them: Connie Sue (born in 1946), David Durell (born in 1949), and Bruce Copley (born in 1953).  Pat was a stay-at-home-mom until Bruce entered kindergarten; she then began a teaching career in Ohio, and completed her student teaching and her Bachelor’s Degree through Kent State University in Ohio before returning to the Buffalo area to teach at The Park School for a number of years.

Frank’s job with General Electric and later with several steel companies in Niles, OH, and N. Tonawanda, NY, led to numerous family moves, and when Bruce was to enter the 9th grade, the Frank, Pat, and Bruce finally settled in Williamsville, NY near Buffalo, NY. Pat was involved in church music, church activities, teaching activities, and, of course, school activities of Bruce as he moved through high school. Frank died in New York in 2001.

In the meantime, Pat had moved to Sun City, AZ where she renewed acquaintance with Paul Swinger whom she married in 1994. Ironically, they had attended all twelve years of school together in Robinson, IL. Small world….Paul’s family consisted of two daughters– Vicki (and Leon) Midgett and Paula (and Randy) Britt, and their daughters and grandchildren.

Throughout her life, Pat maintained her interest in music, specifically the organ and the piano. She continued to take lessons throughout her life and was the organist and director of several choirs as well as mastering the hand bells of Paul’s church in Sun City. She traveled to various churches in Europe as a result of her membership in the American Guild of Organists, which regularly traveled overseas; she was able to play the European church organs of composers such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, etc. She and Paul did extensive traveling after they married: Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe were some of their adventures. Pat continued with her music playing at Royal Oaks and elsewhere until macular degeneration curtailed that activity.

After she moved to Royal Oaks in Sun City, she took up golf and made many friends through that activity. She continued to golf throughout her life–and was quite good at it, too, and modestly had trophies to prove it. Part of an octogenarian golf team, she will be missed by her golfing buddies.

In February, Pat celebrated her 90th birthday with all three of her children and her friends in attendance. On April 18, 2014, she died peacefully at home in the company of family members. Services will be held in Bellevue Heights Baptist Church at 11:00 am the morning of May 17, 2014; and interment will be next to husband Paul Swinger (who died in 2008) in the columbarium of Bellevue Heights Baptist Church, a church where she was active in church activities from volunteering for the annual Rose Festival to serving on various church committees and participating in Bible studies and activities involving numerous churches in the Sun City area.

In addition to her children Connie Sue (and Keith), David (and Debbie) and Bruce (Kai) and many special friends, Pat will be missed by her grandchildren Andrew (and Misty Bowman and their two boys Nicholas and Daniel) of Hinwil, Switzerland; Blaise Connor Simpson of Frederick, MD; and Lisa (and Christopher Miller and their son Bryan) of Bucyrus, OH.

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OMG: Discovering What My Research Assistants Are REALLY Doing…

Phoumany

Bookwhacked

Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

I’m going to miss these two student friends/students/best teachers/fellow conspirators when they depart campus on May 11 as graduates. Thanks, Phoumany and Ryan for all the laughter and learning and for making my Carroll experiences more joyful.

Things we’ve done in Dr. Simpson’s Office Over the Past Few Years: (red items added by DumbleDave)

  1. Catalogued over 1,000 books (Dr. Simpson most likely has read them all!)
  2. Decorated the office for his birthday.
  3. Decorated every other holiday.
  4. Played Temple Run.
  5. We wrote a book!
  6. Played nose-goes when the phone rang.
  7. Learned how to use fountain pens.
  8. Created and Conducted Rogers Hospital Climate Survey.
  9. Almost got killed… multiple times.
  10. Utilized all furniture in the office.
  11. Became PC savy and MAC savy.
  12. Played with random trinkets.
  13. Conducted “Power of Ten” study.
  14.  Researched Purple People Eater

15. Helped Evaluate Carroll University’s Alumni  National Day of Service Food Drive

16. Wrote a winning grant to received IPads to develop a Virtual European Immersion course.

17. Tooled around with most of Jane Hart’s technology learning tools.

18. Made sure that Dr. Simpson ate his lunch.

19. Laughed; cried; cheered; booed.

20. Complained.



 

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“Best” Teachers

Abby

Several weeks ago I came to the realization that my concept of “best” teachers has changed dramatically. Perhaps that awareness came in part because it dawned on me that so many of my best teachers have died. But clearly my definition has broadened and become enriched rather than diminished as it has changed across the course of my lifetime.

Simpson family

Without doubt early in my life my best teachers were members of my immediate family—in fact they still are and I love and respect them dearly for how they have impacted my life. Also, I can easily identify significant high school, college, and graduate school master teachers and Carroll emeriti who nurtured my love of learning, introduced me to new ways of thinking, challenged and encouraged me, and served as role models of scholarship, intellectual curiosity, fairness, integrity, and decency.

Cole

Many of my “best” teachers, today, however, are much younger than I, or are of different species, or are scattered across the globe or, are virtual, rather than human.

I learn so much from playing with two (and almost two-year-olds) and four-year-olds in all their innocence.

*Training with Abby

Robin the Newf

Newf Teacher

Robin-the-Newf at 8 years of age continues to teach this Old Dog, if not new tricks, the value of being puppy-like.

My research assistants are always teaching me new things or by their behaviors reminding me that I am no longer nor ever will again be 21-years-of age! My new Internet International friends in Turkey and Lithuania and Spain remind me, through their teaching, of the universality of a belief in the importance of teaching and learning and of the importance of creating bridges of  learning activities across age, culture, language, and gender differences.  And, I find more and more resources available for computer-mediated professional development and self-directed learning.

Who (what) are your “best” teachers?