About Me

I grew up in a small town in western Pennsylvania where my father was a coal miner and my mother was the local tax collector. From the time I was in 7th grade, I worked odd jobs throughout my community like mowing grass at a local racetrack, hauling bricks for stone masons, and carrying items for an auctioneer at estate sales. My parents stressed the importance of education and hard work. They told me that education opens doors, and so after high school, I decided to go to college to be a teacher so that I could help others improve their lives through education. During my time as an undergraduate student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I realized that I had an affinity for the English language and for teaching. After one year of studying biology education, I switched majors to fulfill my calling as a secondary English language arts teacher. As a high school teacher, I loved writing and literature, and I loved teaching young people to enjoy all that reading and writing had to offer, for both improving career options and focusing one's mind to enhance critical thinking skills.

 

I taught high school English for four years in Pennsylvania before moving to Kentucky with my wife. While teaching at Grant County High School in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, I worked as a teacher mentor through the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program and served on the district's Site Based Decision Making Council through the Kentucky Department of Education. Being a leader within the school system afforded me the opportunities to better understand how to aid teachers and preservice teachers alike. After eleven years of teaching an array of secondary English language arts classes, I decided that I was again being called to further my education and affect an even larger population of students by becoming a teacher educator.

I am currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education at the University of Cincinnati (UC). My main research focuses on teacher preparation through a better understanding of how teachers shape their professional identity and how their identity impacts their teaching methods and strategies. My research and publications span many topics, from distance education to learner engagement and from teacher reflection to educational technology. Along with Dr. Kay Seo of the University of Cincinnati and Matt Yauk of The Ohio State University, I co-developed the Learner Engagement Division (LED) through the Association for Educational Communications & Technology so that educators have a forum to come together to discuss research and practices related to student engagement. As I complete my degree, I also teach education courses and technology courses at UC, and I supervise preservice teachers in the field. 

Even though much of my writing is now focused on academia, I still enjoy writing poetry and short stories in my spare time. I have conducted creative writing workshops at high schools and public libraries in my area. I think that writing can be used to educate and as a form of therapy. Creative writing can be an outlet, and I think it is beneficial to find ways to incorporate writing into everyday life. 

In addition to writing, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. I think that expanding perspectives is a great way to develop understanding. My wife and I have two beautiful children and have recently traveled to the redwood forests in northern California, cenotes in central Florida, the mountain glaciers in Montana, seaside towns in Maine, and the scenic coasts of Ireland where we have encountered the most amazing sights and even more amazing people. Experiencing the world through travel and through writing helps me to find perspective. I think that using my perspective to relate to students is one way that I have been able to successfully develop a strong rapport with my students over the years, and that has helped me to become a better educator. I discuss the importance of rapport in Jo-Anne Kerr and Linda Norris's book, Thinking like a Teacher: Preparing New Teachers for Today's Classrooms. Making connections with students and being able to share my experiences with them allows me to help each student find their learning style and achieve their goals.

I hope to affect change in the field of education by providing preservice teachers with the tools they need to be successful in today's heavily-assessed and policy-driven educational environment. In addition, I hope to instill confidence in practicing teachers by helping them to develop resources that can energize their instruction and build student engagement through interaction, which is the focus of my new book, Learning Technologies and User Interactions: Diversifying Implementation in Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development, co-written with Dr. Kay Seo. In the book, we explore the way learners and educators interact with their environment to create meaning and develop cognitively. 

By combining my experiences growing up in a small coal mining town outside of Pittsburgh with my experiences in public education, I hope to meet all teachers where they are and help them to achieve their original purpose for becoming an educator, which is the same purpose we all became educators: to improve the lives of young people and foster an excitement for learning.

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I want to continue my research on the many ways technology can effectively improve teacher professional development and the teaching methods of novice educators. Education has been the backbone and a support structure throughout my life, and I want others to view education in the same positive manner. If you are interested in collaborating, or if you have any questions, please contact me--my contact information is listed in the "Contacts" section of this webpage.

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© 2021 by Scott Gibbons