For the last 16 years, I have been a full-time classroom instructor. The last eight of those years have been spent in the community college classroom. During those 16 years, I have taught courses in English, literature, Spanish, drama appreciation, journalism, speech, American history, world history, European history, world religions, Georgia history, African American history, academic writing, and college success/preparation. Those years of experience have given me a firm foundation and an ability to be creative in pedagogy/andragogy. In addition, I have experience tutoring students at the high school and college level in both academic areas and life/college skills.
My approach to education/tutoring is that all students have potential. Through research conducted both professionally and personally, I have found that intelligence is not only measurable, but it can also be developed and honed. For many years, the general public, and sadly, educators, believed that intelligence could not be developed and built. In other words, it was a generally accepted theory that if you were not "born smart, you could never be smart." Educators and researchers like Dr. Kathleen Hopkins Ricard and Dr. Terry Doyle have repudiated that claim and demonstrated that students of all ability levels can learn and develop skills previously thought unattainable. Through my years of professional experience I have also learned that with content knowledge and retention, instructors and tutors should focus on building skills in their students. Critical thinking, critical reading, argumentation, persuasion, public speaking and independent learning skills are all examples of learning and life skills that should be developed in students by their instructors. The ancient Chinese proverb "Give a man a fish, he eats one meal, but give a man a fishing pole and teach him how to fish, and he eats a lifetime," is my guiding principle in terms of teaching and tutoring. In many instances, under performing students oftentimes suffer from lack of learning skills rather than lack of intelligence, thus creating a lack of motivation to learn. Students become frustrated because they cannot understand the importance and greater lessons of the academic content they are studying. Once students understand a better approach to learning and what deeper lessons and skills can be gleaned from their subject material, they tend to approach the study in a more positive manner and with a more welcoming attitude.
Above all else, I enjoy watching my students learn. I enjoy demonstrating to them how the content material can be used in their daily lives outside the classroom. Having authored four books on Georgia history and taking the helm of two historical societies in the metro Atlanta area, I have the unique opportunity to show students how my expertise in reading, writing, history, research and genealogy have benefited my personal and professional lives.
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