Reflections on Dr. McGuire’s Talk

It was very interesting that the assigned reading for the day was also about student motivation and its effect on learning. Listening to Dr. McGuire basically reinforced all those ideas. I have often times thought about how best to motivate my students in a General Biology class and the best I could do was to tell them to work harder in order to get better results. It was a revelation to me that there are these tested and highly effective strategies that can be used in a class room to such good effect. I am certainly going to use some of these methods including methods to build student confidence early in the semester, use strategies in the class to get them involved early, help them learn how to take good class notes etc. After attending the talk, I realized that there is a very fine line between challenging the students intellectually and affecting their confidence and motivation level. I realized that along with teaching biology, it is equally important to teach them about how to study biology; develop good study habits. I am also going to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy in my assessment methods and make the students aware of this as well. We all have some general ideas about how we have to remember and understand something before we begin to analyze and evaluate but we never take the time to actually discuss it in the class.I thought this was a great learning experience for myself and it will definitely reflect in my teaching in the future.

Sheepshead Bay Survey

It seems not very long ago, we were all nervously watching weather reports on TV waiting for the arrival of hurricane Sandy in New York area. I am originally from a part of India where weather related calamities are extremely rare. Therefore anytime there is a hurricane in the weather forecast or even high velocity winds, for that matter, I tend to get extremely nervous. Mercifully, Sandy did not have any major impact on our neighborhood but the devastation was only a few minutes drive from where we live, mainly in water front communities of Long Island. Most of the devastation caused by the hurricane was something that we saw on TV. For the most part, it was no different than watching the devastation of a major storm in some other part of the country. Visiting Sheepshead Bay on March 15 and listening to the first hand accounts of the devastation made me realize how real the impact was and that there are people who have yet to recover completely from the damage. It was remarkable to see the dedication of local volunteers who showed us around in the neighborhood. I was amazed at the resiliency of people who live there and their determination to move on with their lives as much as they can. This community effort made me appreciate the importance of giving back to the community because we are all part of this human community. I realized how helpless we can be in the face of such extreme events like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. It also made me realize how important it is to have emergency preparedness in communities that are the most vulnerable to such natural disasters. It was encouraging that most responders to our surveys did realize the importance of having such emergency plans for their neighborhood. Hopefully we all learned from this hurricane that the only way to minimize loss of life and property is to have efficient emergency response plans in place and that we as citizens should always heed to the warnings issued by the local authorities and respond appropriately before the disaster strikes and it is too late.