Bringing the World of Experience to the World of Learning
Kevin Menton, SMC Developmental English Professor
Collective Exploration of Ideas
“I call my teaching style student centered based on the teaching style of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian theorist. His idea is that there should be a meeting between teacher and students so that the teacher becomes teacher-student and the student becomes student-teacher and there is a sharing of power and the possibility of a collective exploration of the ideas. So I try to evolve that way. It requires motivation on both parts.
So rather than having students read more traditional type texts, I try to find more contemporary readings and merge those with important traditional texts.
I really think that democracy requires education. If you want to change the system, people that are under-represented need to get into college. SMC seems like one of the places where that’s happening…
I think this notion of global consciousness is incredibly important… because of technology we’re becoming more connected. I think, in particular, in English, in my field, we need to struggle with this idea. We can’t keep teaching in an industrial model where it’s simply about written text, reading and writing in a 20th century manner. Now most of what kids are reading takes place on the hand-held phone, the computer, so that they’re not doing the kind of reading we did in terms of essay writing.
How do we adapt teaching literacy to a 21st century student? My ideal student is someone who comes from the street with consciousness and awareness and couple that experience with book learning.”
Alice Huang, SMC Accounting Professor
Real Life Applications
“I was looking for a credible institution where I would be proud to work. And only a couple of institutions made the list. I chose SMC for its reputation and commitment to education—I’m amazed at the caliber of the faculty! I bring to SMC public accounting experience at Ernst & Young, and international accounting and finance from the entertainment industry at Warner Bros, HBO, and Disney, and a really practical approach to accounting. I try to give students perspective and provide them with real life examples that they can relate to and digest the material more easily.
My ten years of experience in the corporate world allowed me to practice my trade and to travel internationally, which I loved, and also to deal with global issues. That was fulfilling, but I wanted something with more social significance. I saw a lot of transferable skills besides accounting that I could bring over into education…public speaking, being able to teach.
In class, we use humor, examples and break it down into very simple terms. We also use current events. I created a Jeopardy game during the elections by using fictitious companies with names and questions to try and make it a little more lively and relevant to engage students in the topic.
It’s important for students to be able to speak comfortably in a public business setting, so class provides a safe environment to practice thinking on your feet and speaking in public. I try to balance participation between vocal students and those who are not. It’s a technique that business schools use but here it is less competitive and more collaborative.”
Valerie Narey, SMC Biology Professor
Collaboration and Podcasting
“A lab where I worked was a hybrid, partially a university, partially private industry. That gives me a fuller picture of where some of our students may go. We have a lot of health professionals in our microbiology classes. They may become nurses, dental technicians. But there are so many possibilities for jobs, not just mainstream jobs, and I can give a different perspective for that. As for our Bio 21 students, many are going on to become doctors, yet there are so many more possibilities for job opportunities.
In Bio 21, since there are so many collaborative sections with labs,
I’m already able to work within the format. For instance, I introduced a photosynthesis lab last semester and everyone within the department was excited about it and very on board. In fact, our technician made the apparatuses needed to do the respiration and photosynthesis experiment.
I’ve also been working with getting more podcasting at SMC, where an instructor can check out a laptop and microphone and be able to record the lectures and have those lectures posted on line at iTunes university. We’ve recorded two lectures so far in microbiology, and these should be available shortly.
For me, SMC is essentially the best in California for community colleges…both in environment and transferability. It’s gorgeous. And it treats its faculty and students amazingly!”
Eric Minzenberg, SMC Anthropology Professor
Paths of Diversity
“I was a Peace Corps volunteer for two years and lived in the jungles of Ecuador and as I tell my students, I did the whole thing, no water, no electricity, walked literally three hours up and down hills to get to my hut. I’ve also spent three months working with UNICEF in Turkey with earthquake victims there…. Here you have students and faculty from all over the world, and as an anthropologist who studies cultural groups, this is an interesting place to be. When we’re talking about different agricultural systems or economics or gender systems, it really adds an interesting dynamic to the class.
One thing that I’m trying to do is get out of the classroom and into the community. In our sex and gender class, students go to look at some art and talk about how male and female bodies are depicted and bring that back and talk about it. Our students in ethnography will go to a public place and look at people and write certain things based on some questionnaires we’ve developed.
In the classroom, my direct experience helps the students get actively involved instead of just reading about it. And with the anthropology club, we are able to do different events within the community.
I’ve always included workshops and teaching in my work. That and diversity led me to SMC and the path I’m on right now. The interaction with the students in the classroom and with the community where I’m trying to get them involved are my favorite aspects of teaching.”
SMC Cares About the Future...
• Signatory of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment
• Provider of the Big Blue Bus Any Line, Any Time Transportation Program
• Building LEED Certified Green Buildings
• Member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
SMC Center for Environmental & Urban Studies
The CEUS provides resources and information to help individuals become part of the growing environmental movement and to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Be the change!
For information about CEUS, visit www.smc.edu/CEUS or call (310) 434-3909.
Sustainable Works is an independent nonprofit funded by Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica. We offer special programs that show individuals and businesses how to adopt sustainable practices that improve quality of life, preserve the environment, and reduce costs.
Sustainable Crews and Green Living Workshops – An environmental education workshop for SMC students and Santa Monica residents.
Business Greening Programs – Includes a free on-site assessment, list of recommended actions and follow-up meetings to ensure efficient energy, water, waste, chemicals, transportation, and purchasing practices. Save money and the planet!
or call (310) 458-8716
1744 Pearl Street, Santa Monica 90405
In the news…
SMC’s Small Business Development Center wins major awards
SMC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), one of seven centers that serve Los Angeles and Ventura counties, has captured the top three recognition awards for its services to people who are planning to start, improve, or grow a business.
The awards include:
• 2008 Best Overall Center Performance
• 2008 Highest Capital Infusion and
• 2008 Highest Number of Long-Term (Extended) Clients
The awards were announced at the annual Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network Awards on December 10, 2008. The awards indicate that the Santa Monica College SBDC is superior in making a noteworthy economic impact in the community.
SMC’s SBDC is funded by the federal Small Business Administration.
Free and Low-Cost Services
SMC’s SBDC offers FREE ONE-ON-ONE, CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS COUNSELING services to people who have a business idea and to entrepreneurs who want to grow or green the business they already have. The office is located at the Santa Monica Airport at 3400 Airport Avenue.
We also offer LOW-COST BASIC BUSINESS AND LEGAL WORKSHOPS. We invite the SMC community, including students, staff and faculty, and the public to CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT AT (310) 434-3566 to aid and support your business success.
Small Business Development Center
Tel: (310) 434-3566 / Fax: (310) 434-3891
Opening Night at SMC Galleries
Photo exhibit by SMC alumna Ishika Mohan (Mar. 2-27 at the Photo Gallery in Drescher Hall). Ishika worked with film director Danny Boyle to take behind-the-scenes shots on the set of the Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Dan Eldon: Images of War/Celebrations of Peace (Feb. 17–Mar. 12 at the Barrett Art Gallery). The exhibit shows the travel journals and images photographed by Dan Eldon, one of the first reporters to alert the world to famine in Somalia, who was killed at 22 while covering the strife in Mogadishu for Reuters.
For an Easy, Affordable Move into American Culture…
Santa Monica College is #1 in transfers to UCLA and the University of California. Many international students choose Santa Monica College to begin their college careers because of SMC’s transfer success, high quality teaching, and low cost.
Intensive ESL at Santa Monica College will help you make real progress in college. This program offers a strong plan to help students improve their skills in speaking, reading, listening, and writing English. For admission requirements and more information, you can contact SMC’s International Education Center on the main campus, or call (310) 434-4217. For information on the web, go to www.smc.edu/international.
SPEAK / READ / LISTEN / WRITE
20 hours a week of English instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Classes are provided at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. This is the best program to help you improve your TOEFL scores in a short time! Students can begin the academic program at Santa Monica College from any level. Classes begin June 22, 2009. Tuition is $1,500.
“Coming to a new country, it’s better to start small… SMC really helped! Intensive ESL is like a little community—you spend a lot of time with other students and the teachers are right there taking care of you!”
— Galina Inzhakova, transfer student to UCLA