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Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (History)
University of Pittsburgh (Master's)
University of Pittsburgh (PhD)
It is my contention that real, true, and proper learning does not usually take place within the standard classroom setting. When it does, it is usually the exception. In fact, most genuine, lasting learning takes place within small, interpersonal dialogues. For my teaching and tutoring, I adopt the time-tested Socratic Method. By constantly and consistently engaging students in discussion about the ideas they are exploring, my methods challenge students to literally develop their own thoughts rather than regurgitate the ideas of others. I do not drill facts and figures, dates and details, but force students to grapple with the *meaning* of the past for the present and the future. Apart from understanding what actually happened in the past--a difficult enterprise in its own right--it is the job of the historian to consistently ask better and better questions about the past. This is the main skill set, therefore, that I seek to expand and develop in my students.
Students who are best able to discuss and debate interpretations of the past are also best able to write in an intelligible and meaningful manner. Unfortunately, classrooms generally do not allow much space for students to express their thoughts verbally, either spoken or written, and my approach reverses this model. Typically, in a two-hour tutoring session, I would spend 30 minutes refreshing details, lecturing on givens subjects, and explaining broad historical processes. 45-60 minutes would be set aside for discussion and writing preparation, and the remaining 30-45 minutes would be spent team-writing in response to an essay question addressing the day's material. The key dynamic at each stage remains constant, consistent discussion and debate of key ideas and concepts. Students emerge not only understanding concepts far more completely than school curricula have yet allowed, but they are also able to communicate ideas and concepts to others in a systematic, structured, and well-polished format. Effective argumentation is the most important aspect of historical writing, and producing an effective argument requires deep understanding and rigorous, logical thought. It is my contention that real, true, and proper learning does not usually take place within the standard classroom setting. When it does, it is usually the exception. In fact, most genuine, lasting learning takes place within small, interpersonal dialogues. For my teaching and tutoring, I adopt the time-tested Socratic Method. By constantly and
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Throughout my time as an undergraduate and a graduate student, I have been constantly practicing my public speaking skills. I have presented research at dozens of academic conferences (including awards for Best Oral Presentation) over the span of eight years, including invitations to deliver guest lectures, brown-bag seminars, and organizing group speaking events. As an undergraduate, I founded and chaired meetings of "Socrates Cafe," an informal philosophy debate and discussion group which honed my own speaking skills and dramatically helped me learn to help others improve their speaking skills. Since beginning graduate school in 2010, I have been teaching college courses including lectures that can last from fifty minutes to three hours, providing me with a breadth of speaking opportunities and a variety of speaking methods.