Charles J. Rop, Ph.D.


Research Interests

My research focus has been on participant perspectives on learning in high school science. This interest grew naturally out of my experience teaching high school chemistry. I have been attempting to understand the socio-cultural bases for how and why students make choices regarding their academic engagement. High school chemistry students are often aware of a choice between “doing school”--learning school science, and understanding the world--learning about real substances and their transformations. These students eloquently describe an “awesome “ world of wonderful reality, a world not revealed by the work required to succeed in the traditional school performances and expectations of school. Thus they describe an experience with scientific habits of mind that is both affective and cognitive: a passion for learning, the wonder of discovery, and the delight of playing with ideas. Sadly, most often they choose the traditional performances.

I am now interested in discovering whether or not engaging teachers in authentic interactions with the natural world can create contexts in which teachers can catch this same vision, can learn or develop these same habits of mind. I want to determine whether or not research can isolate or capture this idea in ways that can contribute to its cultivation in teachers' personal and professional lives in ways that can be passed on to their students.

Professional Experience

1996-Present: Associate Professor of Science Education and Curriculum

Teach undergraduate and graduate science education courses: Click here: courses.htm

Other Educational Service and Experience

1990-1992, 1995-Present. Field Instructor for Pre-service Teachers

University of Toledo: Undergraduate and non-traditional students

Michigan State University: Supervised student teaching of pre-service elementary and secondary school interns in all fields. Including Professional Development Schools.

1990-1996 Research Assistant.

Michigan State University

Third International Science and Math Study. International curricular qualitative and quantitative research conducted under the Survey of Mathematics and Science Opportunities

Professional Development School. Research concerning at-risk students and their attitudes about school, academic work and response to curriculum. Included grant writing to fund a new experiential learning program for students. Ethnographic study about student attitudes, values, and beliefs regarding science and science learning.

Technology in Elementary Classrooms Project. Exploration of the use of multimedia, electronic communication and other innovative and practical uses of technology in K-12 classrooms.

Science Assessment Project. Research and develop new student assessments for Middle School Science Programs.

1996 Visiting Assistant Professor

University of Michigan, Flint

Taught undergraduate courses in Multicultural Education and Social Foundations.

1992-1996 Instructor and Temporary Faculty Member.

Michigan State University

Taught undergraduate course TE 318 focusing on constructivism and conceptual change in science teaching.

Taught undergraduate course TE 250 focusing on issues of human diversity, opportunity, and power in special institutions.

Taught graduate course TE 860 focusing on constructivism, methods and materials for K-12 science education.

Teach graduate course TE 822 focusing on issues of culture, multiculturalism, ethnocentrism and education.

Grand Valley State University

Taught graduate course ED 589 focusing on science education methods and materials for in-service elementary and secondary teachers.

Michigan State University -- Overseas Programs, Bangkok.

Taught science education theory and graduate methods at the Ruamaudee International School.

1992-1993 Science Consultant/University Representative

Professional Development Schools--Flint Northwestern High School

Collaborator, curriculum consultant, researcher, and university advisor to science teachers in high school classrooms with at-risk students.

1991-1993 Interviewer of Prospective Education Students

Michigan State University Interviewed and evaluated students for admission to the Teacher Education Program.

1970-1990 High School Teacher and Department Chair

Taught science and other subjects, grades 5-12, in four schools in Florida, Wisconsin, Washington, and Michigan. Taught Biology, Physical Science, Chemistry, Algebra, Marine Biology, Middle-school Mathematics & Art .Also served as Science Department Chairperson with the responsibility of overseeing the high school and junior high science programs and curricula.

Other Related Educational Experiences and Responsibilities.

1987-1990 Environmental Education, Marine Biology in the Everglades and Florida Keys.

Originated and taught special curricular programs in Environmental Education and Marine Biology in the Florida Keys for Florida and Michigan high school students.

1970-1990 Informal Education, Outdoor Education and Alternative Curriculum Programs.

Organized and implemented a variety of experiential learning and outdoor education programs to complement my own science curriculum as well as consulting with other science teachers in experiential learning programs to enhance their curricula.

1970-1990 Curriculum Development and Implementation, Science Department Chairperson

Reviewed and restructured elementary and secondary curricula in several schools. Responsibilities also included overseeing senior and junior high science materials and instruction.

1970-1990 Youth Organization Leadership.

Served as faculty advisor for high school yearbooks and student councils. Served on Campus Life staff and as a science camp instructor.

1988 Supervising Teacher for Teacher Interns.

Supervised student teachers of Biology and Chemistry in my classroom in cooperation with the Calvin College teacher - education program.

1983-1986 Wilderness Learning Program Development and Direction.

Designed, initiated and directed the Wilderness Learning Program for high school students. These program were alternative education programs of wilderness education in the Outward Bound tradition.

1985-1986 Wilderness Learning Seminar Leadership.

Public presentations for educators on applications of wilderness learning in school programs and the use of wilderness learning in conjunction with schools and school curricula.

1971-1983 High School Implementation Committee Organization and Facilitation.

Recruited to assess projected needs, establish policy and curricula for the implementation of overall programs in new private high schools in Florida and Washington. Followed through with their implementation and development.

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