Classrooms Without Fear

Classrooms Without Fear

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Thomas A. Marino


Here is one teacher’s story of how new technologies, rising education costs, and personal, inward changes forced a reexamination of his teaching methods. “As I have spoken around the country, many have told me that they appreciate hearing this message from a scientist,” notes the author. “Other teachers often tell me that what I talk about rings very true to what they are feeling and they need to hear others in the academy who are going through the same difficult journey.” Through technology and awareness, the author hopes to replace his students’ fear of the classroom with a renewed passion for learning.

To read a sample chapter of Classrooms Without Fear, click here.
  • About the Book, iv
  • About the Author,v
  • Dedication and Thanks,vi
  • Preface: Fear,vii
  1. Teaching: What’s love got to do with it?
  2. Grammar School: The Strength of Memories
  3. Junior High School: It Gets Complicated
  4. High School: For the Fun of It
  5. Brown University: It was a Start
  6. Temple University: Not Learning to Teach
  7. Kansas. If I only had a Heart, Courage and a Brain
  8. The Return To Temple: The Odyssey
  9. I Could Not Do It Anymore
  10. The Garden
  11. The Safe Classroom: Teaching as Community
  12. Jazz
  • Postscript: Hope
  • List of Works Cited

Last Saturday I used Tom Marino's book to set the stage at Harvard for a day of alumni reflections on the impact of entrepreneurial activity in higher education. The previous day we had heard from a "new breed" of administrators and for-profit educators about the changing expectations for faculty and administrators in this new context. All day long I had detected subtle undercurrents of fear . . . fear of commoditization of education, fear of risk and failure, and particularly fear of getting too far out into unknown territory and losing control (or in the worst case jeopardizing one's brilliant career by making high-visibility mistakes). It was a natural to segue into Day 2 with Tom's book, Classrooms Without Fear: A Journey to Rediscover the Joy of Teaching.

I told the participants about Tom's career and how he had been very successful by all traditional measures, yet doubted his ability to respond to the changing expectations brought about by this age of technology, virtual universities, on-line education, and rising costs of medical education. I read excerpts from pp 107-108 with Susan Saltrick's speech and Tom's reaction to it, and I summarized his appreciation for the nurturing professional community to which he belongs (primarily the TLT Group). My key point was that, like Tom, my colleagues and I recognized that we needed to keep learning, maintain connections that support our work, and belong to a group that sustains us when we get discouraged. Like the TLT Group, the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education and the Alumni Seminar provide a nurturing professional community for many of us, and we shared highlights of that experience.

The alumni included several university presidents and other top-level administrators. The book was a big hit with them. One president (Jim Harris, Defiance College) asked me for the citation after the session, and Jen Morrison (the program coordinator) asked me for the citation because several people had asked her if they could get it. Tom's candid glimpse into the uncertainty and the need for support showed the group that it's ok to acknowledge this fear and work with others to conquer it (or at least beat it back a bit from time to time). It was clearly something that many had been feeling but hadn't dared to express, and the rest of the day featured an outpouring of emotion and discussion. At breaks throughout the day, the participants thanked me and told me how much they enjoyed our session. At the end of the day the Harvard faculty said how important that "stage-setting" had been, and they now want to find a way to work this content into their residential summer programs.

Nancy Cooley, Dean
College of Education and Human Services
Ferris State University

About the Author:

Tom Marino has been teaching medical students, and other students in the health science professions, since 1978 when he was an assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. From there he went to Temple University School of Medicine where he has taught gross anatomy, histology, embryology, neuroanatomy, developmental biology and cell biology to medical, dental, podiatric, and graduate students. Heavily involved in laboratory research earlier in his career, he studied the development of the heart. Of particular interest was the question of cell proliferation in the heart.

In the early nineties, Prof. Marino was the President of the Temple University Faculty Senate and then became the Director of the University Honors Program. During this time he became fascinated with using technology to help students learn. In particular, he taught a course in Intellectual Heritage at Temple and implemented the use of a class listserv to supplement class discussions. In his embryology course, he designed multimedia based lectures that helped students understand the three dimensional movements that occur during development. He also co-authored a CD called The Histology Laboratory Assistant with Drs. Albert Lamperti and Marvin Sodicoff that is currently used to help medical and dental students learn histology.

Since 1994, Tom has been a member of Temple’s Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable. Starting in 1997 he has been actively working with the TLT Group and has been especially involved with the development of the group’s Visions Workshops. He has spoken on the topic of “Technology and the Humanistic Classroom” at the TLT Summer Institute and written on “A Vision of a Safe Science Classroom” for The Technology Source. He is very interested in developing new classroom methodologies or infusing technology into old methods to help students learn in a safe and loving environment that is conducive to collaborative lifelong learning. Tom received his B.A from Brown University in 1974 and his Ph.D. in Anatomy from Temple University in 1978. He is currently a full professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Temple.

Details: 2001 [ISBN: 1-58107-040-3; 152 pages, soft cover; 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch]