Educational Psychology, a Teacher’s Best Friend

Do I Need to Know This Stuff?  🙁

No, you don’t need to be expert in the field of educational psychology to be a good instructor, not that it wouldn’t help mind you.  As I stated on my “About” page, there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of books out there that provide helpful insight into good pedagogy.   Therein lays the problem.  What the heck does pedagogy mean?  Even if an adjunct had time to identify and read the helpful literature, he/she might get bored to death with the onslaught of “academese.”  My goal is to provide practical, down-to-earth, user-friendly advice to instructors.  In the words of Joe Friday, I will provide the facts, just the facts.  Why?  Because it is really important to know something about how your students learn and how to design your lesson plan.  That’s right, lesson plan.  You know the saying, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

My guess is that many (most? all?) of my readers have some knowledge in this area.  Much of what I will share is intuitive.  However, intuition doesn’t always carry over into the classroom.  To compound the problem (I mean opportunity) most new instructors teach the way they were taught.  Sometimes their instructors weren’t, how can I put this tactfully, good role models.

How does one apply modern day learning theory to instruction?  What does VAK stand for, and what does it have to do with how an instructor teaches?  Including an appropriate group activity in your astronomy class makes sense, but how would one go about doing this?   These are some of the topics I plan to discuss.  Hopefully, in this category I will be able to add some value for everyone from time to time.

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.


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