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Lighting Up the Classroom

John Plomondon, MCTC mathematics instructorWalk into one of John Plomondon’s American Studies classrooms at MCTC and you’ll feel the electricity. “I am always energized by classroom conversations at MCTC because they take many different forms,” said John. “The energy is fed by the students’ thirst for knowledge and the diverse mix of ages, races and cultures represented on campus.“

John began as a guest lecturer at MCTC in the mid-1980s and joined the faculty full-time in 1987. His face lights up when he talks about his students and his constant goal to make the classroom a safe and respectful space for everyone. “When students discover they have an important voice and learn how to communicate effectively using that voice, they realize they can share their knowledge with their own community and make a difference in society,” said John.

John was one of two MCTC faculty members who received the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching this year, which is the highest honor earned by faculty members in Minnesota State, given annually by the Office of the Chancellor. Click here to read about Marcella Jones, the other 2013 award recipient.

Long after John began teaching, he discovered he had a great grandfather—also a teacher—named Plato Ross. “I hope he would have approved of my using the Socratic method of teaching which asks questions to facilitate thinking, ideas and dialogue,” said John. No doubt he would have won his great grandfather’s admiration as an instructor who helps students understand that what they’re learning in the classroom has meaning in their own lives.

Published April 2013


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