Showcase Interview

Amy Gillett talks about activites that tie learning into individual experiences.

Amy Gillett

Faculty Profile
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Amy Gillette has been an educator at UW-Stout for over 18 years. In addition to teaching, she has been an undergraduate program director, a graduate program director, and the chair of the Education department.Amy holds a B.S. in Music Education from St. Cloud State University ~ 1977, an M.S. in Special Education from St. Cloud State University ~ 1982, a Ph.D. in Teacher Education with majors in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Measurement and Statistics from the University of North Dakota ~ Grand Forks ~ 1987.

Gillett instructs a variety of courses at Stout. She has taught and revised many of the required courses needed for certification in special education at undergraduate and graduate levels, including the graduate level research courses.

Her favorite course to teach is Research Foundations. Watching the transition or growth of the students over the course of the class fascinates her. In this class she gets the most diversity, ranging from international students to students from different backgrounds, and different fields of study.

In order for her students to “get it,” or fully understand the concepts she is teaching, Amy provides activities to tie the learning into their own experiences. Once the students connect the concepts to their experience, they realize that they understand—they “get” the point. She also helps students by bringing both her personal and professional experience to the classroom in order to provide examples illustrating her points.

Amy’s favorite strategy is creating situations in which her students interact with one another efficiently and effectively. Once they learn to work well in groups, they seem to learn better and work well with others. However, Gillett is willing to mix up her strategies. At times, individual learning is best. Sometimes small groups are best, sometimes large groups. Gillett encourages her students to work together. While working together they can recall, analyze, interpret, and evaluate better.

Amy is working on a book “designed to be used in research courses like the one I teach.” Interestingly, she would not use her book in her class. The students “need differing views, so having a text by me wouldn’t give them that experience. For me it’s an ethical issue, I guess.”