Scott Morrison Educator - Innovator - Explorer

Educator with fifteen years experience teaching and managing a classroom.

Seven years international teaching experience, instructing both native speakers and second language learners

Lifelong passion for innovative student-centered learning, teaching and instruction

Extensive experience organizing students, student travel, and communicating with families.

Enthusiastic early adaptor of teaching technologies and emerging teaching strategies

Educator

My Experience

When I found myself teaching at the Village School in 2008, I had spent more of my adult life living abroad than I had in the US. My move to Houston was my third international move in three years. I needed a home, a base, a place to put down some roots. Houston and Village provided that, but now, I'm ready for a change of scene...

Professionally, my years teaching at Village have challenged me, taught me about myself and my limits, ignited a passion for travel and experiential learning, and helped me understand the power of teaching students to serve others in their world and community. Philosophically, it solidified an understanding about learning which at that time was probably just taking form: students remember what they experienced and how they felt, but forget much of what they were taught.

My primary roles these day is teaching IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK). I treasure the opportunity I've had to teach this course. For good reason, this is a mysterious course even among those who have worked in the International Baccalaureate program. Differentiated from core courses (literature, mathematics, experimental sciences, arts), TOK is an aspect of the diploma core, a requirement for all students to earn an IB Diploma (IBDP).

The aim of the course if for students to ask, "How do I know what I think I know?"

Innovator

I employ multiple teaching approaches and any tool that leverages learning. I’m not afraid to try a new tack if I see where it will yield benefits. I look for new ways to present texts that resonate with students.

Teaching TOK has required a great deal of inventiveness. I had to consider a wide range of tools and approaches. There is no standard or prescribed approach for teaching this interdisciplinary course, but the priority is for students to think critically and examine how they know what they know. There are only two assessments, both fairly short, so students must make tough choices about what topics to discuss, how to explain them, and how to structure their responses.

Teaching this interdisciplinary course has allowed me not only to draw from multiple sources and materials, but also to explore modes of teaching. Over time the course requirements changed, as did the number of the students in my classes. This meant that my teaching approaches must also change. My teaching approaches have included:

Four years ago I set and met the goal to make my class paperless. Technology is an integral part of my teaching ever since. With technology, students became more responsible for their own work and allows them to manage their time by completing and submitting assignments in a way that fits their demanding schedules. An added benefit, was that students unwittingly compiled a digital archive of notes, and course material.

Tech tools that I’ve employed in my classroom include the Google suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Classroom) for everyday use, Evernote for taking and sharing notes, Turnitin.com for submitting and commenting on student work, and various calendar apps to students self organize with notifications and alarms. More recently, stuents have used Bulb and Adobe Spark to prepare portfolios of their work and media.

Explorer

I’ve had the unique opportunity to travel with students domestically and internationally. I’ve met guides and instructors from the foothills of the Swiss Alps, to the Teton Valley, to the Kilimanjaro Plain who have influenced and guided my thinking and teaching. What I’ve learned from those journeys is that travel is education. From travel with my students, I’ve experienced the aphorism that education and learning is its own journey.

I’m an explorer, which means that...

  • I’m adaptable. I’m comfortable with uncertainty, chaos even. Schools and educational institutions are and should be dynamic, in a state of constant change. I meet the needs of the students in my room based on the best knowledge we have on hand. I try not to fight the waves.
  • I keep my assumptions in check. I take in the lay of the land before I form any decisions about what can, must, or should be done. I assume that if I haven’t taught a skill or concept to my students, and they have yet to demonstrate it, then that’s what I need to teach. I first meet students where they are, not where I am or think they are supposed to be.
  • I keep a level head. Thankfully, I haven’t had a serious crisis while travelling with students, or on my solo ventures. But I’ve had difficulty, adversity, and obstacles. I know they’re temporary. For the sake of the group, I know how to stay calm and patient.

Some of the trips I’ve taken with students that have shaped me as an educator include...

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Scott Morrison
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