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Dr. Philip E. Bernhardt is an Associate Professor of Secondary Education and Associate Director of the Honors Program. From July 2013 - August 2017 he served as the founding Chair of the Department of Secondary and K-12 Education and Educational Technology. Dr. Bernhardt has spent almost two decades working in public schools, including eight years as a secondary social studies teacher working in co-taught classrooms. He also has experience as an AVID teacher and has coached soccer and basketball at a number of high schools in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Bernhardt regularly presents at national and regional conferences on topics that include the barriers to higher education, academic tracking, teacher professional development, curriculum design and assessment, teacher education program design and teacher preparation, induction, and mentoring.
In summer 2018, Dr. Bernhardt was appointed as co-chair of a 3-year Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) task force focusing on Effective Clinical Practice, and in fall 2016 was selected by ATE to be a Clinical Practice Fellow. From 2016-2018 he served as Co-Author & Senior Research Associate of a National Science Foundation Noyce Scholars grant and starting from in fall 2018 will serve as Chair of Colorado's State level ACT organization. Dr. Bernhardt has published articles in numerous journals including The Journal of Educational Research and Practice, American Secondary Education, The Community School Journal, Current Issues in Education, The Qualitative Report, The Field Experience Journal, and Educational Leadership.
Dr. Bernhardt recently had a chapter published in Teaching Social Studies: A Methods Book for Methods Teachers and he is currently working on chapter in Murawski, W. W., & Scott, K., (Eds.), What Really Works with Universal Design for Learning and co-editing a text on preparing mentor teachers and university-based educators to effectively support teacher candidate learning. Dr. Bernhardt earned his M.A.T in Social Studies Education from Boston University and received his Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He currently holds a Colorado Professional Teaching License in Social Studies Education (7-12).
Each of my experiences as an educator, learner, and researcher has been influenced by my beliefs about teaching. First, I am guided by a belief in the importance of education. I am a lifelong learner who believes research, experience and interaction with others are fundamental to the educational process. My goal is to help students learn by exposing them to new ideas, encouraging them to continuously seek out new knowledge and pushing them to critically examine the information they encounter each day. Second, my philosophy is shaped by how I understand the teaching process. Teaching is an extremely challenging profession that requires a tremendous amount of time, commitment, energy, flexibility and planning. Critically examining my own teaching strengths and challenges has inspired me to experiment with different pedagogical strategies and seek out advice from more experienced educators. For me, an effective teacher is one who is respectful, reflective, demanding, approachable, supportive and open to change.
My understanding of the learning process is the third component of my teaching philosophy. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and each day we have multiple opportunities to access knowledge and pursue different ways of thinking. I believe we learn by example and through discovery. As a beginning teacher I quickly learned the power of cognitive and affective modeling and the importance of encouraging students to try new things. This perspective can be summarized by an ancient Chinese proverb: “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me I understand.” Because we are influenced by our surroundings, I believe learning is also a result of the interaction between and among personal experience, relationships with others and the various social, historical and temporal contexts in which we are embedded.
Finally, I believe we learn from our mistakes. Some of my most important learning experiences resulted from mistakes.