I am writing the very first post on my new blog and website (clarissasorensenunruh.com) in response to an invitation from the ever awesome Katherine Haxton (@kjhaxton) to participate in a #chemedcarnival:
#chemedcarnival …sharpen your keyboards, the topic will be “The most memorable teaching session you have participated in.” D/L for posts, Feb 26th
calling: @seerymk @MichaelONeill89 @doc_kristy @scottsned @RissaChem https://t.co/x3GbJMq7Y3
— Katherine Haxton (@kjhaxton) February 12, 2018
(Her original blog post is here: http://chemedblog.kjhaxton.co.uk/blog/?p=5732 )
The most memorable teaching session I’ve ever participated in? Wow. What a question. It’s a question that feels a bit large and unwieldy but I think that feeling is due to the abundant number of teaching experiences that I’ve participated in that have been memorable. Therefore, I’ll recognize this feeling (and this opportunity to write) as the gift it is. Thank you, Katherine!
But perhaps the point of this question is to detail just one experience, and since I’ve been thinking quite a lot about BCCE lately, I’m going to intersect the memorable teaching experience with BCCE. So here goes.
In 2012, I went to my first Biennial Conference for Chemical Educators (BCCE). There I presented my first conference talk which analyzed the differences between traditional, hybrid, and blended education for general chemistry I. The entire conference was an extraordinary experience, but perhaps the most memorable talk was a plenary given by Dr. Subha Das.
See more information on his talk here: http://www.bcceprogram.haydenmcneil.com/wbcntnt/wp-content/uploads/Plenary_Das.pdf
Dr. Das used props, slides, audience participation, etc. to explain the inner workings of his Food and Chemistry class. His class even made treats! And it was a tremendous learning experience. He put a lightbulb in a microwave! It was bold and fantastic. Things I had never really considered – like why you can put coke in the microwave and it never loses it’s fizz (it’s because microwaves work on polar covalent bonds, not nonpolar bonds) – were explained clearly and with a great deal of humor.
I remember walking out of that talk with my mind on fire. How could I implement this at my institution? What would I need? Had Dr. Subha Das written his curricula in such a way (like in a book) that I could use it? Or would I need to create my own? And how fast could I make that class a reality?
I also remember thinking that the feeling I was experiencing was EXACTLY the feeling I want my students to have when they leave my classroom. #TeachingGoals
For more information on Dr. Subha Das, please see his faculty page (which has his website) here: https://www.chem.cmu.edu/faculty/das.html.