Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2005

Faculty Award winner

Karen Verkler

 College of Education

 Teaching and Learning Principles

I believe that content area instruction is of secondary importance. Of utmost importance is the establishment of a caring, positive learning environment in which the student is encouraged to believe in himself/herself and to demonstrate self-respect and respect for others. In addition, I adamantly espouse the view that learning can and should be fun.

As one whose background is primarily foreign language education, I embrace the significance of the affective filter, a hypothetical second language acquisition construct that regulates student readiness to learn. When students experience discomfort within their instructional environment, the affective filter goes up, rendering the students less receptive to acquiring information. Conversely, the affective filter is lowered when students feel comfortable in their learning environment. I seek to develop self-respect and respect for others in my students. I actively encourage them to express their opinions with consideration for others’ feelings in class.

Finally, I demonstrate that teachers can simultaneously demand quality work and have fun. However, my high standards do not preclude the presence of a sense of humor. I