NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

K-12 Professionals

Faculty Experts

The following faculty experts offer professional development for teachers through NDSU Distance and Continuing Education.

Funmi Amobi, Ed.D., Assistant professor of practice

Areas of Expertise
Secondary education/curriculum and Instruction
General pedagogy (lesson planning and classroom organization/management)
Social studies education
Educational foundations

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
During instruction in Anytown USA elementary, middle, or high school classroom on any given day, a teacher will pulse and ask students this perennial question, “Does anyone have a question?” In nearly all cases, this question is met with silence. Equating silence with understanding of content knowledge or skill, the teacher moves on to deliver more content knowledge, and so the gap in student understanding of critical knowledge and skills widens…

According to Schmoker (2011), “When asked to find what concrete actions made the biggest difference in a ‘lesson plan,’ Teach for America  was surprised to discover that one single factor accounted for student success more than any other. The best teachers

‘Frequently check for understanding: Are the kids—all of the kids—following what you are saying? Asking “Does anyone have any questions?” does not work’ (Ripley, cited in Schmoker, p. 62).

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend K-12 educators read?
The book I would like to recommend to K-12 educators is Mike Schmoker’s Focus: Elevating the essentials to radically improve student learning published in 2011 by ASCD.

In this seminal resource on school reform aimed at turbo-charging student achievement, Schmoker strongly asserts that the key to student success is not innovation, it is simplicity and diligence applied continually to our highest priorities which are: What we teach, How we teach and Authentic literacy.

We will never educate all students until we…stop preventing them from engaging in …immense amounts of reading, discussion and writing. These are the indispensable and primary means of acquiring content knowledge and intellectual skills even—and especially—in the digital age. p. 75-76

In section II of the book, Schmoker unpacks best practices for implementing interactive/direct teaching and authentic literacy in language arts, social studies, science and mathematics.

Resources for Teachers: Common Core

The entire December 2012/January 2013 issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership comprises informative articles on the common core. Specific references are as follows:

Alberti, S. (2012, December/2013, January). Making the shifts. Educational Leadership, 70 (4), 24-27.

Billings, L., & Roberts, T. (2012, December/2013, January). “Think like a seminar.” Educational

                Leadership, 70 (4), 68-72.

Boyles, N. (2012, December/2013, January). Closing in on close reading. Educational Leadership, 70 (4),

                36-41.

Burns, M. (2012, December/2013, January). Go figure: Math and the common core. Educational

 Leadership, 70 (4), 42 – 46.

Doorey, N.A. (2012, December/2013, January). Coming soon: A new generation of assessments.

                Educational Leadership, 70 (4), 28 -34.

Hiebert, E. H., & Pearson, P. D. (2012, December/2013, January). What happens to the basics?

                Educational Leadership, 70 (4), 48-53.

Larmer, J., Mergendoller, J. (2012, December/2013, January). Speaking of speaking. Educational

 Leadership, 70 (4), 74-76.

Rothman, R. (2012, December/2013, January). Putting the pieces in place. Educational Leadership,

70 (4), 18-22.

Schmidt, W. H., & Burroughs, N. A. (2012, December/2013, January). How the common core boosts

 quality and equality. Educational Leadership, 70 (4), 54-58.

Shanahan, T. (2012, December/2013, January). The common core ate my baby and other urban legends.

                Educational Leadership, 70 (4), 10-16.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2012, December/2013, January). Teaching like a four-star chef. Educational Leadership,

 70 (4), 90-91.

Stacy Duffield, Associate Professor

Area of Expertise
Adolescent literacy, middle school, and curriculum design

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
Literacy skills are the foundation of student success and achievement.

Larry Napoleon, Jr., ASSISTANT Professor

Area of Expertise
Curriculum development, teacher preparation, career and technical education, and special education

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
Always believe in your ability to have a positive and lasting effect on the lives of your students.

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend K-12 educators read?
Curriculum and Aims by Decker F. Walker and Jonas F. Soltis

Robert C. Nielsen, Professor

Area of Expertise
School counseling and classroom management

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
Stay current. Continue in your lifelong learning process and share it with others.

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend K-12 educators read?
Choice Theory by William Glasser

Florin D. Salajan, ASSISTANT Professor

Area of Expertise
Educational technologies and their impact on teaching and learning

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
Aim to incorporate learning technologies in meaningful ways within the curriculum. The current and future generations of students grow up surrounded by digital technologies. This evolving trend represents a great opportunity to thoughtfully enhance instruction with the interactive nature of countless digital tools.

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend K-12 educators read?
Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser.

Justin Wageman, ASSOCIATE Professor

Area of Expertise
My research and teaching interests include classroom management, language methodology, program evaluation, professional development for teachers, and assessment.

If you could offer one piece of advice to K-12 educators, what would it be?
Teaching and learning occur through relationships. Never forget that we teach students first, our content second.

Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend K-12 educators read?
The latest book I’m reading is titled, Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques to Put Students on the Road to College by Doug Lemov. A DVD demonstrates the techniques in actual classrooms. Many of the techniques we have known for years as effective practice.