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Topic: Re: It's the Community-College Life for Me
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Posts: 114
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: It's the Community-College Life for Me
Posted: May 27, 2001 3:05 PM
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Jodi -
You definitely sound like one of the students I see so often at
GateWay - the returning adult. Congratulations on your acheivements. I too,
had fantastic instructors who encouraged me. I've been mulling over this
whole thread and have come up with a few more ideas to throw into the mix. I
did go through a four year college at the start but it was a small one --
about 1000 students -- and it helped me a lot. I had always been classified
as a "gifted underacheiver" and it was while I was there that I found out
that I have a different learning style. Once I learned to work with it, I
started to do a great deal better. In addition to the math that I love, I
found a new field of interest that I didn't start to explore until I had
children of my own.

In the community colleges there is a completely different emphasis -- at
least here in Arizona. Our original charter was teaching -- not research.
The entire system is focused on that one idea. When I attend district
sponsored conferences, and there have been quite a few of those, the focus is
on some aspect of teaching rather than research. A key component of
teaching is communication and we are always looking for better ways to
communicate knowledge to our students. We try to keep current in our field
and find ways to explain it to others. One of the most successful components
of that effort is the ability of community college instructors to be positive
and encouraging with their students. When students are encouraged, they do
better. I found this to be true with all levels of students - including
those who had entered the state correctional system for juveniles. (True,
some of those students had to be taught first that being positive did not
mean being weak, but that only strengthens my conviction of its worth.) In
the community college, this attitude is encouraged. During my graduate
program and during my classes at two of our local universities, I definitely
did not find this to be the case.

To sum it all up, there is a completely different emphasis within the
community college system here in Arizona and it appears to be similar in
other states. I love that emphasis because we get to include so many more
people and help them succeed in all areas.

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