Tales of a Teacher: Mat Schulz
by Kelly Stone. This is the third of three Centre for Teaching Excellence Teaching Stories that will be featured in the Daily Bulletin this week.
For many youths, choosing a career path takes time as they consider a variety of options. On the other hand there is Dr. Mat Schulze, who knew as a young teenager that teaching was the path he wanted to pursue. Explaining ideas came easy to Schulze and he was often told by others that teaching would be in his future. Now, after 13 years of teaching in Waterloo’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, ten years prior at universities in England, and an education in Germany before that, you might say that Schulze was destined to be a professor.
Schulze notes that many students undertake his courses in grammar or linguistics with some trepidation, believing that the material will be dry. By the end of the course, however, he finds that those same students report that the material is actually quite interesting. Facilitating this shift in attitude is one of the things that Schulze enjoys about teaching. He also finds it rewarding “when people come back after the fact or you hear or see that they have succeeded with something that is related to what I have taught them.” Like most instructors, Schulze finds the success of past students to be an incentive for striving to teach as effectively as possible and for continually refining his teaching practice.
As an editor and contributor of the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) Journal, Schulze often collaborates with other scholars. When asked about what it is like working with other authors, Schulze explains that “collaboration requires a lot of trust but you end up with a better outcome.” This cooperation is also reflected in Schulze’s courses, where he has his students engage in collaborative writing projects. In his most recent graduate course, relating to language islands, students were asked to create wiki pages on course concepts and then encouraged to edit and develop each other’s sites. This editing was tracked directly on the wiki page, allowing Schulze to monitor each student’s level of collaboration.
In relation to applied linguistics, Schulze works in a field known as Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning (ICALL). Schulze’s work on ICALL, which provides students with preemptive feedback based on their previous submissions, has a strong connection with his teaching. By using ICALL, students can receive the appropriate personalized feedback they need to improve their writing, which is especially beneficial for those who choose to take online language courses.
In the hands of someone like Schulze, technologies like ICALL can transform how students learn new languages. CTE Faculty of Arts Liaison, Kyle Scholz – who is a former student of Schulze – explains that Schulze has “blended research into the pedagogy of second-language development with engaging course design, constructing a motivating and conducive learning space for students.” For Schulze, the ongoing evolution of his teaching practice recalls a piece of advice one of his former professors gave him: “It’s reasonable to change 10% at a time. I don’t believe in wholesale change. But if I do this change every couple of years, those 10% increments add up to something very significant.”
Mixed emotions a sign of depth, says study
from the office of media relations
Experiencing mixed emotions shows emotional complexity, not indecision, and people living in different parts of the world vary in their ability to distinguish between multiple feelings they're having at once, according to new research.
A project from the University of Waterloo examined how people across 16 cultures vary in their tendency to see situations as either all good or all bad, or in a more complex fashion by seeing a little of both. Previous studies have linked lower emotional complexity with a reduced ability to control one’s emotions, and higher incidence of depression.
Read the full release.
Three Minute Thesis: 1 slide, 3 minutes, outstanding ideas
by Tasha Glover and Alyse Martin
For the fourth year in a row, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition is taking place at University of Waterloo this winter term.
"What can YOUth do?"
On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Sustainable Youth Canada (SYC) partnered with the Waterloo Region Environment Network (WREN) to host a one of the largest local sustainability-themed networking events for youth in our community. What can YOUth do? A Conference by Youth for Youth engaged hundreds of university and high school students throughout Waterloo Region who have a passion for environmental issues and creating sustainable change.
Collaborating with world-changing thinkers and innovators, the conference featured a panel of local community leaders in environmental and ecological sustainability, including three representatives from the University of Waterloo: Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Coordinator in the Faculty of Environment, Tania Del Matto, Program Director at St. Paul’s GreenHouse, and Elle Crevits, fourth year Peace and Conflict Studies student and founder of Food Not Waste.
“At Waterloo, we have developed a range of sustainability expertise in areas such as climate change, sustainable energy, water, transportation, biodiversity, business engagement, and more. Bringing our knowledge to youth engagement events like these, offers the next generation opportunities to self-reflect, connect with peers who care about similar issues, and find ways to be a part of sustainable initiatives happening in their community.” – Mat Thijssen
Read the full article.
The Daily Bulletin joins in congratulating the following recipients of the 2015 Waterloo Engineering Faculty and Staff awards: Sean Peterson, James Craig, Alexander Wong, Irena Baltaduonis, Richard Morrison, Ray White, Luis Ricardez-Sandoval, Yuning Li and Guang Gong.