Davey keeps class fresh with interactive agenda

November 2, 2009 — by Denise Lin and Christine Tseng

Head bobbing up and down, world history teacher Mike Davey sings along to his favorite songs while working during tutorial. The posters on the wall, which sport The Beatles, Lord of the Rings and prominent figures such as Audrey Hepburn and the soft, patterned beige sofa in the corner make Davey’s classroom a comfortable place for students to relax and do work, though that is not the only interesting aspect of Davey’s teaching style.

Sophomore Kristal Kung, who is in Davey’s world history class, remembers one simulation in which he acted as a King Henry VIII and yelled at Kung, who represented another character in history.

“He grabbed my arm and yelled at me like what the bad king did to whoever I was,” said Kung.

Davey, who teaches in the Media Arts Program and American government in addition to world history, implements several classroom tools including role plays in order to keep the history alive during class.

“History allows you to do fun things like historical simulations and debates to get your message across ,” said Davey. “The student [gets] to live that historical event to a certain extent so it makes it more fun.”

Davey also makes examples about the history using students in class and connecting the historical event with one in students’ lives.

“I apply things to what students’ everyday life might be like,” said Davey. “I try to take historic events and personalize them as if they were students. I use examples every day in class based on what that would be like during history.”

One of the many problems that teachers have is dealing with students’ different learning styles. In the classroom, Davey tackles this problem by using various methods of teaching, trying to reach to all groups.

“I think you try to teach the different intelligences as much as possible. There are some students that learn audibly the best and some that learn visually the best and different intelligences,” said Davey. “You try to tackle each one as you go along. Some students learn best through lecture; some learn best by acting out, the kinesthetic learners. You want to teach to all different levels of learning.”

For example, Davey appeals particularly to kinesthetic learners with simulations.

Kung enjoys his teaching methods and feels they are not only fun but instructive.

“I learn best with both motions and lecture,”said Kung, “and Mr. Davey really gets that in class to everyone.We do simulations; he explains things interestingly.”

Sophomore Alex Chiang, also a world history student, agrees with Kung.

“I think his teaching methods are pretty good,” said Chiang. “He doesn’t lecture and he doesn’t just make us copy down the PowerPoint. He makes us pay attention in class with jokes about the class and the actual material.”

When asked what his favorite part of the class is, though, Chiang responds with a very unique answer: music.

“I like when he plays music when we do work,” said Chiang. “We don’t have to work in those weird awkward silences.”