Ph.D. Anthropology, Emory University
Important skills I want to teach my students
I’d like my students to develop the ability to learn for themselves. I’d like them to ask questions and explore their curiosity because they know where to go, who to ask, and how to figure it out for themselves.
Teaching methods that reach these goals
I begin teaching self-reflection and independence in ninth-grade Honors Biology by purposefully leaving note-taking recommendations, homework instructions, and laboratory requirements fairly open ended. Minimum expectations are established, but students may choose a number of different but equally acceptable paths to get there. In-class instruction utilizes PowerPoint presentations, whiteboard diagraming, verbal storytelling and analogy, and one-on-one interaction. I do not give the students a list of things they need to know, nor do I ever provide a straight answer to that question. Students are encouraged to find out what is important for themselves and dive more deeply into those areas of particular interest. This approach continues and progresses with AP Biology. By their junior and senior year in AP Biology, students are prepared to begin constructing their own investigations and explore their own questions. For each investigation, I provide the students a basic procedure and they’re tasked to extend the investigation to further their understanding and interest. Then, in their laboratory reports they’re asked to provide a context for this investigation, which requires more and more advanced research throughout the year.
My favorite projects
My projects and activities are changing every year. I particularly enjoy our plant growth and artificial selection lab in AP Biology. Over the course of two to three months, students gain experience growing their own plants, observe the power of selective breeding in agriculture, and gain hands-on experience with evolution in action.
What I like best about teaching at Seven Hills
I feel incredibly fortunate to work in a community that fosters such intellectually curious students and provides the financial, material, and administrative support necessary to nurture that curiosity in the classroom.