Local professor uses Dr. Seuss-concepts in teaching

1:43 PM, Mar 2, 2012   |    comments
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PHOTOS: The creative world of Dr. Seuss

"There are so many things that you can learn from different stories that you can apply to real life," Management Professor Dr. Bill Carnes said.

He says everyday issues relate to many of the lessons learned in the children's books. 

"I first started using it with to talk about diversity because a lot of people are still uncomfortable talking about biases and prejudices, but when you can talk about a character like 'Sneetches,' and the only difference between them is a star, then it eases the conversation and allows students to really express themselves. Then we can take it back, and try to apply it to real issues." Carnes said.

He said it himself: college classes can be boring. 

"The first time I used it I had a class that wasn't very engaged in what we were doing... And I thought , 'why not dress up as Dr. Seuss?' I had the white shirt, I had the white gloves I had the hat, I bought a red bowtie, and I went into class and the students loved it," he said.

The latest Dr. Seuss story to hit the big screen is Lorax which hit theaters Friday. Turns out, like most other Seuss tales, there is a lesson in that book too! 

"We talk about social responsibility and with the Lorax, the "Osler " who is the person who destroys everything. He asks himself at one point, 'should I stop cutting down trees?' which would actually mean 'now, I have to lay off 100,000 people.' So, now you have an ethical dilemma; should we save the forest or should we save the jobs and keep the workers?" Carnes said.

Carnes says he is sharing this concept with other professors in hopes they consider new ideas in teaching. 

"I attended a conference in Las Vegas in December and I presented the paper that I had written on how I use Dr. Seuss and other movies and stories and things to help in the classroom, and I'm hoping that some people will start to use different ideas to try and break some of the monotony, take away some of the boredom and make learning more fun, even at the college level," he said.

"I was a student for many years, and I know how boring it can be. And how sometimes something simple can really help to make it 'click' and make it easier to remember."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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