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Wildwood Campus Welcomes Renowned Educator Dr. Harry K. Wong

September 15, 2011

Dr. Harry Wong shakes hands with students before his lecture.  
Dr. Harry K. Wong greets education students be-
fore his lecture on how to be an effective teacher.

What makes a good teacher? The question is asked by hundreds every year. Over 260 students in Education from St. Louis Community College at Wildwood and University of Missouri-St. Louis, and teachers from the community were given the answer on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

“To be a good teacher, you must first be an effective teacher,” said Harry Wong, author of “The First days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher.”

Dr. Wong is one of the most admired educators in the United States. His book has sold more than 3 million copies and he has won numerous teaching awards. Hundreds of his students have earned academic awards.

Wong and his wife, Rosemary, spoke to the full auditorium at St. Louis Community College at Wildwood. Teachers in the community, and education students from STLCC-Wildwood and the University of Missouri-St. Louis attended the presentation. The students are seeking either their associate degree in education at St. Louis Community College or a bachelor’s degree in elementary education through a unique partnership between UMSL and STLCC.

“Teachers can’t just cover a chapter,” Harry Wong said. “If you do, then McGraw-Hill is running your classroom. You have to teach. You have to give them (students) objectives and learning targets and then do it with them.”

Melissa Morris, a UMSL/Wildwood student teacher in the Hazelwood (Mo.) School District, said she’s a huge fan of Wong and has read his book.

“I even got him to sign my copy,” she said. “I really like the ideas he has and the techniques he talks about. One of those ideas is to put together a binder with your classroom management plan, having all that information on hand, taking it with you on interviews with potential school districts and knowing how you’re classroom will be run.”

Kelly Noonan, a second grade teacher from the Rockwood School District, has already taught for several years but still benefitted from the Wong’s advice. “After reading his book during my first year of teaching, I was glad to have a refresher and learn some new best practices. I can’t wait to share new ideas with my colleagues and incorporate these into my classroom.”

Rosemary Wong said that to be an effective teacher, each person needs to develop what works for them.

“We are giving you the tools and techniques to take back to the classroom and become one effective teacher,” she said. “Every student deserves an effective teacher and you can do it, but not if you don’t believe.”

Dr. Wong’s book is used by students pursuing their associate degree in education at STLCC-Wildwood. Dr. Carol Lupardus, coordinator of Teacher Education at STLCC suggested that it would be an extraordinary opportunity for the students to have him speak on campus. Together with Dr. Patrick Vaughn, vice president for Academic Affairs, they pursued the project.

Since the University of Missouri offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in partnership with STLCC at the Wildwood campus, it was logical for the two schools to collaborate on the lecture.

“Students will benefit from Dr. Wong’s presentation because his well respected leadership and writings provide a wealth of successful classroom practices ranging from enhancing student behavior to achieving academic success,” said Dr. Helene Sherman, associate dean for Undergraduate Education at UMSL.

The Wongs’ presentation was jointly sponsored by the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professorship of Tutorial Education at UMSL, College of Education at UMSL, St. Louis Community College at Wildwood and St. Louis Community College Foundation.

UMSL offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in partnership with St. Louis Community College-Wildwood. The two-year degree completion is designed primarily for students who have completed the Associate of Arts degree in Teaching with an emphasis in elementary education at the community college. Many of the UMSL courses are delivered on the Wildwood campus, providing students with the flexibility and convenience of taking courses in their own community.