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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Jeremiah Lynn

   

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Jeremiah Lynn, instructor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, for his learner-centered and engaged teaching style that sparks enthusiasm for German and reduces the anxiety students often experience when learning a foreign language. He accomplishes this goal by emphasizing the systematic simplicity of the German language and by encouraging students to explore different ways of expression that exploit their most intricate objective ideas and subjective needs.

Mr. Lynn employs a learner-centered approach. His classroom is a place where both teacher and student are equally responsible for the teaching/learning process and outcomes. They become collaborators at any level of teaching, including in first-year courses. Such an approach allows students to work in small teams (or with partners) to practice newly acquired material in a meaningful context. He relies on positive praise while subtly and gently correcting errors which gives students a sense of accomplishment and builds confidence. Mr. Lynn believes that “everyone has something valuable to contribute . . . regardless of previous exposure to the German language or culture.” To facilitate student activities further he also effectively uses PowerPoint presentations and displays an energetic and encouraging demeanor. Since Mr. Lynn’s arrival in 2007, his impact on the German program has been profound and he is highly regarded by his peers and his students.

In addition to the regular elementary (GER 1105 and GER 1106) and intermediate (GER 2105 and 2106) courses offered three times a week, Mr. Lynn has successfully developed and implemented accelerated elementary (GER 1114) and intermediate (GER 2114) courses offered both during the spring semester (taught four times a week) and during the summer (taught daily). This accelerated approach to language acquisition allows students to minor and major in German and/or study in a German-speaking country, even if they start learning the language during their college years. Furthermore, Mr. Lynn has impacted the communication skills at the third-year level by teaching a German Oral Proficiency (GER 3125) course and by creating and teaching a six-week intensive language course for Virginia Tech’s Dual-Degree Students in Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt (TU-D) in Germany during the summer 2012. The course focused on technical vocabulary, grammar, and conversation through concepts in mathematics, science, physics, and engineering.

In addition to his duties as a German language instructor, Mr. Lynn was a student mentor, resident advisor, and travel guide for Virginia Tech students at TU-D. Mr. Lynn has also enhanced the knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, German culture among VT students by designing and teaching the course German Culture and Civilization (GER 2724) in English. Beyond the classroom, Mr. Lynn has been successfully mentoring the student-led outreach program “Teach for Jamie” dedicated to the memory of VT German instructor Christopher James “Jamie” Bishop. The program has approximately 50 children participating, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. It is served by approximately 20 VT student-instructors who meet with the children once a week after school at four local elementary schools: Beeks, Prices Fork, Kipps, and Harding. In 2009 “Teach for Jamie” was awarded the National Education Association’s Award for Youth Leaders in Literacy to pay for materials that foster reading and language development.

Mr. Lynn’s SPOT scores speak for themselves. In Spring 2012 Mr. Lynn received an average of 5.37 (out of 6) for all four courses he taught. His highest overall score was 5.54 for the accelerated beginner German course (GER 1114). It doesn’t come as a surprise that students frequently praise his engaged and enthusiastic teaching style with comments such as: "Can relate well to what students are going through" and "One of the nicest people you will ever meet. Cares so much for his students, and he wants you to learn." Jay Coman, a graduate student, who observed several of Mr. Lynn’s GER 1105 classes in fall 2012 in preparation for becoming a Graduate Teaching Assistant for German elementary instruction, also pointed out Mr. Lynn’s “very positive and upbeat delivery style” that ensures a comfortable learning atmosphere and lively classroom discussions. Conference presentations and workshop participation indicate that Mr. Lynn continues honing his teaching skills and sharing his expertise to inspire other teachers.





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