MICHELE A. JOHNSON, Ph.D.


TEACHING
SAMPLE COURSE MATERIALS
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, FALL 2008
Syllabus                     Activity
TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Science is a process, not a collection of facts.  For this reason, I believe that, as a biology teacher, it is my responsibility to educate students not only in the most recently accepted explanations of how organisms and their components interact, but also in the process of biology as a science including observation, hypothesis testing, reevaluation of hypotheses, and communication of results.  I attempt to convey understanding of this process to my students while arming them with tools that will help them discover the relevance of biological science and scientific thinking to their own lives.  In particular, I hope my teaching will nurture my students' enthusiasm for understanding the natural world and will train them to clearly communicate and critically evaluate ideas, work both individually and as a member of a group, and use the scientific method to approach problems.


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MENTORING

One of the most important components of my teaching experience is mentoring individual students in independent research projects. To date, I have worked closely with nine students, many of whom are now pursuing graduate degrees in biology.  Most of their projects have occurred in concordance with my own research in tropical lizard behavior, and we have performed data collection both during extensive summer trips working in Caribbean countries and using molecular genetic and neuroscience techniques in the laboratory. Currently, I am supervising Michigan State undergraduate Joe Vandecar as he pursues an independent project that explores the relationship between reproductive morphology and reproductive behavior in Anolis carolinensis.  Joe's recent poster presentation.

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