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2015 Winter Magazine

1 0 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Winter 2015 Love, a teacher at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville for five years, said that in order to engage with today’s students, you must understand what will catch their attention so they explore it on their own. “When I see something really dumb or really fun, I realize that I can use it as a hook to capture a kid’s interest,” Love said. That’s how the unicorns ended up in his classroom and he uses them as a learning tool. Love said the “stand and deliver” style of teaching doesn’t work with today’s students who are surrounded by distractions from technology and social media. As educators, teachers must find the most effective way to connect education to subjects that students are interested in, Love said. If teachers can generate interest in those ideas and concepts, they will help those students become lifelong learners. It is not all just fun and games. One of the most powerful parts of his curriculum is a field trip to the Medical Teams International “Real. Life. Exhibit.” It recreates a series of disasters around the world, such as the Southeast Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, and displays stories of children affected by disaster, conflict and poverty. After viewing the exhibit, Love divides the students into groups, takes them to a grocery store and with just $2 per group, they have to find enough food for all of them to live on for one day. “It’s a way to talk about how the world operates and to create empathy for people who are suffering, as well as awareness for events elsewhere,” Love said. “They don’t think about people in the Sudan hiding from the militia because it’s not part of their world. But bringing that to them gives them an understanding.” He devotes the last two weeks of every school year to Geography Games, where all the geography and history they have studied is reviewed through a series of games. Students have fun and compete for prizes, but they also learn and remember concepts they have studied throughout the year. Love credits his success to the support and mentoring he receives at Duniway, led by Cathy Carnahan ‘73, the 2010 national middle school principal of the year, and to the liberal arts education he received at Linfield. He cited professors Brian Winkenweder (art), Steve Bernheisel (education) and David Sumner and Ken Ericksen (English) for fueling his passion, providing unconditional support and teaching him how to apply almost anything to his own life. “Being able to tap into any subject, whether it is science, history or geography and incorporate it into your language arts curriculum is beneficial,” he said. “The broader your understanding of the world, the more you can inspire passion in those fields. As a teacher it’s been invaluable to have that broad foundation. The art of teaching is something that Linfield emphasized and prepared me for.” Teaching sustainable technologies A passion for environmental sustainability has grown from an interest to a teaching career and is now a mission for Nathaniel Wight ’99, founding teacher of the Bronx Design and Construction Academy. For his efforts, Wight earned the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. Wight said the $2,000 award will allow him to focus much more on creating and managing projects that teach about environmental sustainability. “I’m motivated to teach our youth about sustainable technologies; after all, many solutions to environmental problems will be addressed by generations after us, through education,” said Wight. He, along with his students, installed an 1,800-square-foot green roof on the school in 2011 and developed an ecology class that uses it for educational purposes. The academy, serving some of the poorest students in the country, educates high school students about the connections between sustainable technology and real-world environmental issues. It opened in 2011 with 110 students and is now at capacity with 625 students. Students learn about economics and the environment and how they relate to the building trades such as electrical, plumbing, carpentry, heating, ventilation, pre-engineering and more. Wight helped found the high school to prepare youth for high-level secondary education and post-secondary employment. Students graduate with endorsed diplomas and are able to surpass union apprenticeship requirements and land highly-skilled and high-paying jobs in the building trades. Wight and the Bronx Design and Construction Academy have received other awards including the prestigious $100,000 Zayed Future Energy Prize for the Americas region, one of only five schools recognized in the world. The prize is being used to build the Energy Environment Research Center By the numbers Linfield alumni currently working in the education field: Primary/secondary teachers/coaches 1,469 * Others working at primary/secondary level 287 College/university professors/coaches 297 * Others working at college/university level 93 Linfield alumni in the McMinnville School District Teachers 26 percent (103) Administrators 18 percent (4) * Individuals working in non-academic positions


2015 Winter Magazine
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