Professor publishes book to help other teachers

Paul Watson

Making teachers better is what one WKU professor aims to do.

Rebecca Stobaugh, assistant professor in the School of Teacher education, just published a new book on critical thinking strategies for teachers, and improving teachers’ performance in the classroom isn’t just something she writes about.

“It’s a practical book, not an aloof one,” she said.

Stobaugh teaches secondary education students and also works with graduate students. The focus of her work, she said, is getting teachers hands-on practice to prepare them for the classroom.

“My book is teacher friendly,” she said.

She say she used real world examples in her book to illustrate the principles of teaching, specifically related to critical thinking, which are often theoretical and academic.

The book challenges teachers to push their students to the highest level of thinking. But Stobaugh similarly challenges the students in her class room.

She said that real world practice is how great teachers are made.

“My classes aren’t theoretical,” she said. “You work.”

Margaret Maxwell, an associate professor in the School of Teacher Education, agreed with Stobaugh’s description of her classes.

“Her classes are very dynamic; high energy,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell also talked about Stobaugh’s work with WKU’s student chapter of the American Society for Curriculum Development.

Maxwell said that the student chapter raises funds every year and Stobaugh takes the students to the national conference.

“She is very popular with the students,” Maxwell said.

The book began as a collection of materials Stobaugh put together for conferences. Subsequently, she was approached by a publisher to compile her work into a book for teachers.

Stobaugh worked to put the book together for a year, writing both a version for secondary education teachers and one for middle and elementary school educators.

The work that Stobaugh has compiled already seems to be impressing her colleagues.

“Critical thinking is extremely important,” Maxwell said. “I think the book is great.”