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Category: Contemporary Pedagogy

It’s a mac and cheese kind of day

It’s a mac and cheese kind of day

I was talking to my mom about grad school and all the work I had left to do today. And she said: “Sometimes it’s a cordon bleu kind of day, and sometimes it’s a mac and cheese kind of day.” In other words, sometimes you can accomplish amazing things, and sometimes you just have to do small things. Today is a mac and cheese kind of day. But who knows, maybe tomorrow there will be cordon bleu. I switched fields two…

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Dear current and future creator, builder, developer, dreamer, problem solver, world changer

Dear current and future creator, builder, developer, dreamer, problem solver, world changer

Before I begin, there are a few things that you should know about me. I am quiet, goofy, kind, caring, shy, outgoing, creative, and bubbly. And I am an engineer. I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and I am currently working on an MEng in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Engineering Education. I want to improve the way engineering is taught and help to change the “chilly climate” that is synonymous with engineering. Engineering is not always a…

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Remembering my Teaching Future

Remembering my Teaching Future

My first experience teaching was about a year and a half ago. I started a new PhD program and started teaching at the same time. I was teaching the first year engineering course at Virginia Tech, and I was terrified. I thought I had to know everything. I was worried about talking for an hour and 15 minutes. I was worried about knowing the answers to every question. I was worried about being able to manage the classroom. But looking back on…

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Don’t judge me, Grades!

Don’t judge me, Grades!

I have a confession. I am very competitive. I want to be the best at everything I do. And in school, I care about my grades. A lot. I am trying to focus more on learning and expanding my horizons. But grades still loom over me. Judging me. An indication that I could do better, that I should do better. I keep having to remind myself that grades are not the end-all, be-all, that grades do not indicate my value. But the…

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Are there any questions?

Are there any questions?

Where do I begin? While reading Anti-teaching: Confronting the Crisis of Significance and the first two chapters of Ellen Langer’s Mindful Learning, I kept thinking about a book I recently read called In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms, by Brooks and Brooks. As described in this book, students construct their own understanding of the world and transform new information based on prior experiences. The book describes 5 principles of constructivist classrooms: Teachers pose problems that are relevant Teachers build…

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Which comes first: the what, the why, or the how?

Which comes first: the what, the why, or the how?

Learning happens all the time. I just finished watching the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. During the show and even after, I asked my friends and family questions, looked up information online, and just wanted to know as much as I could about the legal system and the specific case in the documentary. And I learned a lot. The show sparked my interest, I connected with others, and we all shared in the learning experience. This type of learning is part…

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