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Andy McGarvey

Dean of Middle School & Middle School History Teacher
B.S. Comprehensive Social Studies, Miami University
M.Ed. Elementary Education, Xavier University

Teaching Philosophy

Important skills I want to teach my students

The lessons I like to emphasize and teach are a combination of collaboration and presentation skills. Students learn the importance of listening to others and accepting ideas that are not always their own when they work together in small groups. They learn to compromise and sometimes not have everything they feel is most important in the final product. Presentation skills go along with this, as students have opportunities to present their projects and ideas to their peers.

Teaching methods to reach these goals

The students work on various projects together, in pairs or small groups of three or four. They are given direction, step by step at times and very general at other times, to allow more creativity. I find when they know what the final product is to be and they have a clear goal to work toward they are most confident and more focused. The method of how to present the material can vary.

My favorite projects

I have a few favorites of my own, but one that gets much positive feedback from the students is when I allow them to become the teachers. For the project on Africa they have guidelines as they work together in small groups to research a geographical region. They decide (with approval) what method to use as they create a presentation (lesson) about the physical features of the specific region. Along the way, they will create a quiz to help them with feedback. Another favorite project: while studying Asia we look at the importance of the various raw materials in some countries. The students will pick a resource and do research to learn what and how products are made from this resource. They will then prepare and present this information to the class.

What I like best about teaching at Seven Hills

The two most important things I feel that influence my desire and love for teaching at Seven Hills are the students, and the flexibility and support we have as classroom teachers. Overall we have a student body that is curious and has a strong desire to learn and be challenged. As for our classrooms, yes, we have guidelines but the faculty are able to be creative. We are given broad boundaries and encouraged to explore new ideas and expand on current ones.