ASM events
This conference is managed by the American Society for Microbiology
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Teaching Resonsibilities

BIO 320    Principles of Microbiology    I teach both lecture and lab.    Majors in Biology, Pre-professional Sciences and Environmental Health Sciences.  Most of the students are juniors and seniors.

BIO 102    Inquiry Biology for Teachers    I teach this in an inquiry format.     Pre-service elementary and middle school teachers meeting a general education requirement.  Most students are freshman or sophomores.

BIO 273    Clinical Microbiology    I teach both lecture and lab.    Students in Associates and Degree nursing.
Most students are sophomores.


Student Learning Challenges

    If one accepts the above premises about how students need to be educated, two issues arise. The first challenge is long-term retention of core knowledge.  This is base set of ideas necessary for working through new information and problems.  These are the truly important concepts that we would hope students know cold and have at their fingertips one, two or five years after leaving our courses.  I would like to know what students retain from my course after significant time has passed since its completion.  Further, improving our understanding about the influence of various pedagogical practices on this retention would be quite valuable.  These type of questions cannot be answered by limiting comparisons between pre- and post-tests given during a course.  I envision a preliminary study working with students who were sophomores and juniors when taking my microbiology class and testing their retention a year or two later as they graduate.  Future research would ask how much former students remember after  a longer period of time has elapsed.  Long-term retention of content on the scale that I am interested in has received attention elsewhere but, from my searching, not within microbiology.
    After students leave our institutions they are going to access information from a variety of readily available sources (from Wikipedia to online journal articles) and not, likely, from textbooks. They will need to be able to use this varied information effectively when gaining new knowledge and understanding, as well as, tackling problems and issues.  Consequently, the ability to critically evaluate sources for utility, accuracy, bias and relevance will be paramount.  These are skills that will need to be taught, practiced and evaluated.  Assessing strategies used to teach such skills and changes in students with regards to these abilities over a course would form the basis of a second study.  We use the Paul and Elder critical thinking model at EKU.  My searches of the literature to date have not revealed studies that have applied this model to microbiology


Professional Development Goals

    In the past 24 months I have continued a long-term commitment to professional development.  I am currently involved in  two professional learning communities here at EKU devoted to critical thinking.  With one, I am working on a project for my “Inquiry Biology for Teachers” class.  Specifically, I am having students critically assess each others’ open, inquiry-based seed gemination experiments using the Paul and Elder critical thinking model.  A problem with the inquiry approach for teaching is that it can create misconceptions amongst students (especially young children).  Future teachers need be able to think about evidence critically to avoid allowing such misconceptions to develop.  I see teaching critical thinking as a means to prevent the creation and perpetuation of misconceptions as a future area of scholarship. 
    In the past two years, I have attended several conferences on teaching.  In particular, the National Science Teachers Association regional conference in the fall of 2010 and the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching in the fall of last year both had themes on brain-based teaching.  In am endeavoring to better understand this topic and an currently working through Brain-Based Learning: The New Paradigm of Teaching by Eric Jensen.
    I routinely attend workshops and seminars on teaching held at EKU.  Currently, I am in a professional learning community with other faculty that prepare future teachers.   We are working to integrate the new writing and math standards into our inquiry-based science courses (biology, chemistry, physics and earth sciences) for pre-service teachers.

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interesting. have a good resource for a summary of the Paul and Elder critical thinking model?
Posted 11:42, 20 Jun 2012
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