Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We Need More Dr. Michael Curran's In Higher Education



Recently, I had the distinct pleasure to speak to Dr. Michael Curran's two classes at Rider University. This was the third time over the past two years that I spoke to his students and I each time I am honored by the invitation to do so.  

Not only did I have the opportunity to speak with pre-service teachers, but I had the opportunity to speak in front of a true game changer in the educational field. 

Dr. Curran, is a type of higher education professor that the world needs more of. Yes, his experience, awards, and professionalism throughout the years are amazing stories, but that's not what makes him special. 


 


He understands and continues to bring innovative ideas to pre-service teachers to prepare them for what schools need in the 21st century, even when many schools continue to live in the 20th century. While we are 15 years into the 21st century, there are so many higher educational institutions that do not embrace digital/technological methodologies and/or pedagogical styles even when mission statements say they are. Many continue to "pump out" traditional mindset educators who like to play the game of school, while Dr. Curran continues to strive forward. Students are required to become connected educators, establish PLN's, and develop growth mindsets that focus on innovation. Yet, others in the field continue to ban technology in class, and lecture about DI, innovation, pedagogical strategies. 

Throughout this current semester, his students have meet Scott Rocco, Brad Currie, Star Sackstein, Magdalene Mattson from Australia, Rich Kiker, and myself. He stresses the importance of PLN's. He attends EdCamps, and other professional development opportunities where you RARELY see higher education professionals. This type of passion, and energy is simply amazing. He not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. 

Dr. Curran could retire whenever he wants, as he has put in more time then many of us can ever hope to do so, yet I hope that he continues for many years to come. 

Why?

Frankly, he needs to continue to demonstrate to others in higher education that we are relying on them to shape the minds of future teachers to take risk, be someone's hero/role model each day, be innovative, and not be second rate replicas of traditional styles of teaching.

I was lucky enough to talk with an amazing group of pre-service teachers from two courses, and shared some of the amazing stories of what we are doing at my school. Yet, I couldn't help to stress the need for them to rise up and become leaders in the field and that the greatest support system they will ever encounter is their PLN. 

I also asked them:


"What is the experience you are trying to make? Will you be their hero? Will you rise up and teach differently or will you subject your students to the same style of learning you dealt with?"

Thank you Dr. Curran!

Reflection papers from my time at Rider U who were much too kind:

By Samantha Tunnell: @MissTunnell 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By-3zAE8PmpbdUZVS3RBUVlVOEE/view?usp=sharing

By Alyssa DiFlora: @DiFloraA 

Kierstin Molnaur: @MissMolnaur