University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University
Get Your Hands on Your Future
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Get Your Hands on Your Future
Carol Johnson began teaching at UW-Stout in 2006. She has been involved for about 35 years in public education, 9 years at the college level. Johnson teaches in the School Counseling program. Her regularly assigned courses are Lifespan Career Development, Pre-K-12 Counseling, and Curriculum Assessment Lab for School Counselors, all graduate courses. She especially loves teaching grad students as they have some life experience, work experience and a level of maturity that contributes to the classroom.
Carol believes in "hands-on" learning. “I want students to learn things in class that they can try later that day or that week or that month. I want them to see what they are learning is real, it is happening around them and here are some strategies to present this topic or respond to the issues we learned in counseling class.” She works hard to stay current, reading professional journals and talking with other professionals in the field. As a result she can offer a relevant and updated perspective on what students need to know and apply in order to be successful in the field. Students “get it” when they go out on internships and “email me or call me and say, ‘remember when we did that in class? ......well, I am using it now and I am glad I know what to do.’”
One of her favorite testing strategies is the "In-basket" activity. Before the lesson in class, Johnson writes scenarios of events that might typically cross the desk of a school counselor. She puts about ten of these scenarios into a basket. Students review the scenarios, prioritize the order in which they will work on them, and give a brief written response on how they will deal with the situation. Students then form groups of two or three to talk about what was first on their priority list and compare notes as to why this topic should be addressed first. Then they compare and consult with their peers to see what others thought were solutions or strategies to tackle the problem. This activity is very interactive, hands-on, and gets all the voices heard during class sharing time. Says Johnson, “The sharing is very important to engage and involve the learner. Consulting is a practice I want counselors to learn. We consult with others to build our skills, learn effective communication and expand our thought process.”
In terms of innovation, Carol would like to have hand-held devices that allow the student to interact and project the results immediately in the classroom on the big screen. “I also wish we had the interactive white boards; . . . it is important that we use the latest technology to teach our students so when they go into the schools, they are not in awe of someone else's technology but respond, ‘We had that at Stout. May I show you some ways we used it in our program to engage students?’”