Congratulations are in order for SOE's Tamara Marder, who is this year's Excellence in Teaching Award, issued by the Alumni Association for each division of the Johns Hopkins University.
Marder, a program advisor in the Department of Special Education, has been with the SOE since 2008. Each Division of the University selects a faculty member to be publically recognized for their critical importance as a teacher.
The JHU Gazette did a Q&A with the winner of each Division award, including Marder. To read the full story, visit the Gazette's website.
My teaching philosophy is to focus on both theory and practice. When teaching, my class lectures include both the theory and principles of applied behavior analysis and the practical strategies that students can use every day. My goal for each student is that they will be able to take away a specific strategy from each class that they can apply the next day in their own classrooms.
Know your audience. I like to start the semester gathering information from the students, determining their current position in special education, previous experiences and future goals in the field. This allows me to tailor examples that I use in class to help them learn concepts. If they can hear examples that they can relate to, it will then help them to also apply the concepts every day.
All of my previous experiences, from professors in graduate school to employment experiences—working in hospitals, schools and in homes with families—and my experiences teaching, have all inspired me. I am able to reflect upon these experiences and what I have learned throughout my career and from students’ experiences and apply that in lectures and discussions in class.
There was a student in my class who was having difficulty modifying previous perceptions regarding how to approach a specific student who was displaying challenging behaviors at school. This student [of mine] was diligent and always asked questions to learn how to apply the principles of behavior change and concepts we were learning during the semester. By the time [my] student handed in the final paper, an assessment and development of a behavior plan for the identified child, the student commented that the exercise in completing the final project helped to synthesize all that was learned during the semester. It was evident that this student worked hard to learn and apply the concepts. I felt confident, based on the student’s performance on the project and in the class, that this graduate student learned skills that would be used in the future to benefit other students.
That although I may have many years of experience in a variety of settings as well as advanced degrees in the field, I can still learn something new every day.