Friday, January 18, 2008

Teaching Styles

So far, I've taken four courses toward my B.S. here at OPU and I've noticed that each teacher has his/her own distinct teaching style. I'll outline them here:
  • I'll Teach My Own Stuff, Thank You: This guy really knows his stuff. He's involved heavily in research and loves teaching his material. He doesn't really have much interest in the textbook and his lectures cover very little from the book. He loves doing proofs and really digging into the material, especially the more complicated concepts not included in the curriculum. He's sarcastic, but not overly-so, and is available to his students. Pros: If you can keep up, you'll come out of the course with more knowledge than was expected of you. Cons: Lectures can be confusing and discouraging.
  • Snowflakes Are My Friend: This guy really knows his stuff, too, but even more than he loves his area of expertise, he loves his students. He makes sure his voice projects to the back of the room, smiles and makes eye contact with as many students in the lecture hall as possible and speaks with enthusiasm about everything. His lectures follow the structure of the textbook and he gives examples for every type of problem encountered. Pros: His enthusiasm is contagious and it's hard to get lost. Cons: It's easier to rationalize not reading the textbook.
  • No Bullsh!t: This man is intimidating. He's been teaching forever and encourages class participation...with a tone of condescension. He doesn't guild anything. He talks in technical terms and allows very little time for response when he asks questions. He seems disappointed for most of the class, but every once in a while smiles and cracks a joke. He doesn't dumb down material. Pros: You're forced to answer questions that you don't know the answer to, so you learn some humility. Cons: If you get lost at all, you end up frustrated and taking the brunt of his disappointment.
  • Oh! Let Me Explain...: This woman is so nice. She's just so damn sweet. And she's a pro at making the material easy to understand. She's well-prepared for lectures and encourages class participation. Pros: You can't not understand the material. Cons: When you get to the next level, you'll be a bit under-prepared. Also, students take advantage of her nice-ness.

I'm amazed at how much I have enjoyed/am enjoying these professors, despite their differences. In the end, each of them has something that I want and has worked his/her ass off to get where they are...and you have to admire that.

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