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ANGELA M.

WILLSON
7122 Leawood Street, Portage MI 49024 ! (269) 271-1321 ! angela.m.willson@wmich.edu

Educational Philosophy
In my teaching I strive to encompass the ideas of a liberal arts education while guiding students
to discover the course content. Chemistry at its most basic level is about understanding materials and
phenomena that we interact with every day. By teaching chemistry concepts to students I can mentor
them to become more prepared to answer questions such as Why is a material behaving in this certain
way? or What is happening so that we experience this phenomena?. With this ability students will
be able to answer many questions such as: Why is the sky blue? What happens to the molecules of
water when it freezes that makes it float? What type of bonding is happening in certain plastics that
make them recyclable? As Edwin Powell Hubble said, equipped with his five senses, man explores
the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. I believe another aspect to this journey
is being able to equip students with the ability to not only make these observations, but also draw
conclusions and patterns based on this evidence.
As a teacher, I can mentor students to achieve Ausubels ideas of meaningful learning
through incorporating instructional techniques that make learning science more like doing science.
Meaningful learning means that knowledge is learned only when it is connected to other learned
facts (Driscoll 2005). One way to achieve this theory of meaningful learning is to use students
natural interest in the material to engage them. This means that in the classroom I strive for an
environment that encourages students to be active in their learning process. By doing inquiry
activities in my course, students are able to construct their own knowledge of chemistry concepts.
At heart I am a teacher who recognizes the importance of guiding my students and
facilitating their understanding of the content. This process enables the student to engage in critical
inquiry. I believe it is my responsibility as an instructor to guide these types of activities so students
do not rely on me to lead them to discovery. By structuring my instruction in an active way students
can work together in groups during these activities and bringing this social element into the
classroom encourages students to organize the information as they are learning. Using guided-
inquiry places a unique responsibility on the students, which can come with unique challenges for
an instructor, but there is nothing more rewarding that hearing someone say they finally
understand chemistry in a way they never have before in other traditional direct instruction
chemistry classes.
As a teacher committed to active learning and encouraging engagement with my students, I
am also committed to my own life-long learning. I am a collaborative teacher who believes that a
community of open-discussion about teaching and learning is very important. Keeping a discourse
with intra-departmental and inter-departmental instructors students will benefit from our improved
ability in the classroom. I have actively worked to make development of future faculty a component
of my graduate student experience by working with other Graduate Teaching Assistants to improve
our knowledge of college instruction for students.
I am devoted to the teaching and learning process that lead to excellence for my students. I
celebrate and welcome students whether chemistry is their major or not. It is important to me that
my students feel empowered to learn chemistry in my classroom. I am pursuing my Masters degree
in Chemistry through a concurrent program for my Doctorate degree in Science Education. I am
excited about being part of a faculty that supports and encourages innovative teaching for the
meaningful learning of all students, both chemistry majors, other science majors, and non-science
majors alike.
References
Driscoll, M. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.