Jeff Goodman ’93 is not above sticking his head in a bucket of water to illustrate the principle of displaced volume. Or, to teach about light and color, to turn his Reich College of Education classroom literally into a camera obscura, blocking all but a pinpoint of light and flipping his students’ viewed world upside down and backwards.
This Appalachian State University senior lecturer is all about the experience of learning. Using props such as glowing pickles, flaming Gummy Bears™ and juggling pins – always encouraging his students to join in – Goodman makes learning memorable because the concepts he teaches become tangible.
“More importantly,” he said, “the activities strengthen the class community so that when we talk about (what we’ve learned) and share personal experiences, we are more open to one another and more likely to make meaning from the discussion. And,” he added, “we laugh a lot.”
The former Harvard University undergraduate believes laughter builds classroom community. “I don’t mind looking silly to set the tone for the class and to connect students to one another,” Goodman said. He cites one exercise designed to differentiate emotion and complex cognitive brain activity: students cast as cavemen clutch rocks and chant “limbic system! limbic system,” while classmates with extended pinkies hold tennis balls and sing “prefrontal cortex.”
Silly? Sure. Memorable? You bet.
Goodman, who holds a master’s in educational media from Appalachian, also is tuned into evolving learning/teaching models. He helped develop one of the Reich College of Education’s core classes, Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, which examines how emerging technologies are transforming our society and schools, as well as the implications these changes have for teaching and learning.
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About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.