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Find out about Mr. Green.
Read Mr. Green's teaching philosophy.
Read about the courses Mr. Green teaches.

 
         

   

Mr. Green in his office.
  Education is about finding out what form of work for you is close to being play—work you do so easily that it restores you as you go. -- Mark Edmundson
 



 


   
 
   
   
 

 

     
     
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  About Mr. Green  
    Mr. Green is Associate Professor at Dixie State College where he teaches Political Science and American History for the School of Arts and Letters. He began teaching at Dixie in 1978. Mr. Green has a Masters degree in Political Science from Utah State University where his major fields were Public Administration, American Government, Economics, and Philosophy. His BS degree is in History also from Utah State University where he also minored in Political Science and Economics. In 1996-7 Mr. Green completed one year of work in the Ph.D. program in Political Science department at the University of Utah.
 
         
  Mr. Green's Courses  
    Mr Green currently teaches POLS 1100: American Government, HIST1700: American History POLS 2100: Introduction to International Relations, POLS 2200: Introduction to Comparative Government, and POLS 2300: Political Theory in the Social Science Department. During his tenure at the college, he has also taught Western Civilizations I and Western Civilizations II, Economics as a Social Science, Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Business and Professional Ethics,Technology, Growth, and the Environment (a humanities course with Dr. Payne, Professor of English), and Developmental Writing.  
         
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  Mr. Green's Teaching Philosophy  
   

My teaching philosophy centers on three goals: 1) courses should be challenging, 2) courses should demand excellence, and 3) students learn best when they teach themselves in an environment that encourages them to be creative.

 
       
     

College courses should be challenging. A challenging course has two characteristics. First, students earn their course grade. All exams, papers and other assignments will be course relevant in their content and college level in their requirements. The grades on these assignments will reflect the level of understanding the student demonstrates, and will not reflect the need to maintain a scholarship, or athletic eligibility, or the need to work while they are in school, or any other irrelevant consideration. Second, students will expand their logical and cognitive capabilities. Ultimately, the value of a college education is that students become better thinkers. This means that the students possess much more factual and theoretical information than when they entered, but it also means they have acquired logical tools that allow them to process the information in more systematic and knowledgeable way. Therefore, course activities must give students the opportunity to learn and explore information they don't yet know, to use logical and other analytical tools and procedures that are new, and to create unique and distinctive insights from the material they are studying. Since this is hard work, challenging courses have a reputation for being hard.

 
         
     

College courses should demand excellence. The college work must not only be challenging, but it must be excellent as well. A good definition of excellence comes from my colleague, Mr. Reber of our English department, who requires that student papers be correct, substantive, and interesting. By correct, Mr. Reber is asking that student papers be grammatically and factually correct – that students draft their papers and otherwise spend the time at the library or the writing lab so that they get the details right. In a math class, correct would mean solving problems using correct procedures and getting the right answer. In Economics, it means that the students understand the terminology and theory of economics—correctly. By substantive, Mr. Reber means that the paper must show a full and complete understanding of the topic the student is discussing. In economics, substantive means the student who correctly understands economic theory can apply it to concrete situations drawn from real world examples. By interesting, Mr. Reber means that the student creates her own unique and compelling insights “that go beyond the obvious” as Dr. Payne, another of my English faculty colleague likes to say. In my courses, I define interesting work as work that goes beyond the obvious while saying something relevant.

But excellent is more that correct, substantive and interesting. In the final analysis, students should do the assigned work, do it well, and do it on time. Students should be asked to treat their assignments as if they were being prepared for a boss or a client. Late or sloppy or inadequate work should be graded for what it is, while excuses for it should be forthrightly and publicly rejected. A student paper, for example, should be neat and formatted so that it invites reading. It should be on time. In this I am completely in agreement with the sentiment express by John Ciardi's poem On Flunking A Nice Boy Out of School, reproduced below:

 
             
       

On Flunking A Nice Boy Out of School by John Ciardi

I wish I could teach you how ugly
decency and humility can be when they are not
the election of a contained mind but only
the defenses of an incompetent. Were you taught
meekness as a weapon? Or did you discover,
by chance maybe, that it worked on mother
and was a good thing--at least when all else failed--to get you over the worst of what was coming. Is that why you bring
these sheepfaces on Tuesday?

They won't do.
It's three months work I want, and I'd sooner have it
from the brassiest lumpkin in pimpledom, but have it,
than all these martyred repentances from you.

   
         
     

Students learn best when they are free to teach themselves. I believe students learn best when they express their understanding of information and concepts by writing. I believe students will be more creative in learning information and theory if they write about it. I believe writing is superior as a teaching method to the so called objective measures for both discovering how much and how deeply the student has learned and in getting the student engage and learn even more than is expected. This philosophy is based on the ideas in Bloom's hierarchy of thinking skills which is reproduced below. The list begins with lower level cognitive skills and moves to higher levels:

 
         
      Bloom's Taxonomy  
     
Function   Student Behaviors
     
Knowledge   defines, describes, identifies, names, lists, labels, states, selects
     
Comprehension   converts, explains, infers, estimates, gives examples
     
Application   changes, modifies, demonstrates, teaches, uses to solve, computes, applies knowledge
     
Analysis   breaks down, diagrams, outlines, differentiates, subdivides, categorizes, predicts, distinguishes, compares
     
Synthesis   creates, plans, rearranges, generates, constructs, rewrites, designs, composes, formulates
     
Evaluation   evaluates, appraises, concludes, justifies, interprets, supports, defends, prioritizes
 
         
     

Primary and secondary schooling should move students up the hierarchy of cognitive skills. By the time they arrive at college, students should be working at the higher levels of Bloom's hierarchy. So called objective measuring techniques, such as multiple choice exams, are limited in the levels they can measure. They are pretty good at assessing knowledge and comprehension, they are adequate at measuring application, and if designed correctly, they can help in determining the student's ability at analysis. But objective measures cannot assess synthesis and evaluation skills since these require new insights and creative solutions. There is no way to tell if the student is being innovative when they are limited to questions with four or five set answers. If a course uses only objective measures, it is forced to focus only on lower levels of cognitive development since that is all it can measure. The more objective measures are used in a college setting, therefore, the more it dumbs-down and devalues the college experience.

 
         
      Only when the student writes or calculates or carries a project from design to completion –- like the process used in an auto mechanics class or a web site development course –- can the student show the teacher unique insights, create new ideas, find different organization frameworks, or invent new theories or procedures. In theoretical courses like economics, writing is the best tool for getting students to work at higher cognitive levels and allowing them to engage and experiment at those levels. Most of the grade in my courses, therefore, will be based on the student's ability to express his ideas and knowledge in rigorous writing assignments.  
         
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