Teaching Philosophy

In a science class, students learn to be critical and logical thinkers who can communicate their thoughts to multiple communities. Science literacy ensures that individuals can participate in their world by being able to read scientific labels, articles, and studies, and feel confident in their new discoveries. Having an appreciation of natural phenomenon enhances one's life and allows informed views on health, environmental, and technological issues encountered every day.

Mastery of course material is essential for success in any course but it is also the first step to a practical understanding of life or for success in a future career. One role of the instructor is to teach definitions and concepts so that students gain the vocabulary and ground work for the next step, higher-order thinking, but the challenge comes from the ability to make the material memorable and interesting since this is what ensures the students' retention of those ideas. An energetic delivery of the material by the instructor is crucial. One of the best tools I have found for accomplishing the transfer of material to my audience is to utilize the resources available outside of the textbook and to put the information into multiple formats that make the material personally relevant and inspiring. Creating curriculum that generates discussion about topics found in books begins to teach independent thinking of once unknown material. Vocalization of difficult concepts aids the written and oral communication skills needed to convey concepts to many different audiences. Hopefully, this will create the desire to continue to learn a subject rather than to compete with the fellow students; the idea of life-long learners can and should be nurtured by the instructor, whose own enthusiasm for a subject should be felt by her audience. But an instructor is a source of more information than just course material; she teaches students how to strive to discover more by encouraging and fostering further exploration. Therefore, the students in my classes will be asked to debate, present, and write about the classroom topics so that they gain the many skills necessary for success through the integration of many teaching and learning styles while being given positive reinforcement along the way. Beyond the course material, these skills will continue to benefit students long after the course ends.

Everyday as a researcher, I have the opportunity to change the views of the scientific community; but it is as a teacher that I have the responsibility to change the world view for every student that enters my classroom. Therefore, my goal as a teacher is to have students look back years after my class and say, "Dr. Poli's class was a turning point in my ability to think critically because I enjoyed the material and found the relevance of my training."

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