Monday, 24 April 2017 12:28

Barbara Doyle is LEA’s Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator

Barbara Doyle, a math instructor at Valley Lutheran High School, has been named the Lutheran Education Association’s 2017 Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator award. Doyle was selected for this honor by LEA’s Secondary Educators Network leadership team.

Chuck Winterstein, assistant superintendent of Lutheran Schools for the Michigan District presented the award to Doyle during chapel Monday, April 24, at the high school.

Doyle, a 1991 graduate of Valley, is also the mathematics department chair, a class advisor, and director of the hand bell choir. She earned a B.S. in secondary education from Concordia University in Mequon, Wis. and an M.A. in teaching secondary education from Saginaw Valley State University. She is the author of Greater Expectations, which was second on the Amazon Hot New Releases list in the category of Math Teaching Materials. It’s a guidebook, which outlines her techniques and tricks for achieving teaching success.

Doyle has observed the difference between students discussing math in groups and trying to learn it individually. For several years, she has been seating her students in groups of four.

“One of the practices is being able to discuss and to critique and to evaluate and to rationalize and to use vocabulary correctly,” she said. “All these things go together. When these things happen in your classroom, the knowledge grows exponentially.

“If I try to internalize something, I’m just sitting there trying my hardest to learn, learning will take place. But, if I have to discuss it with somebody else, all of a sudden I have to organize my thoughts, I have to be able to put them into words, I have to take in somebody else’s ideas, I have to compare them to mine and decide what’s good, what’s bad, who’s right, who’s wrong. Can we merge this, are we saying the same thing, are we saying different things? And all of a sudden the level of learning is just gigantic compared to, ‘I think I get it. ’ ”

Doyle’s efforts have been worth it by the response she’s gotten from students.

“One of the most repeated comments that I get is, ‘Mrs. Doyle, I still don’t like math. But I really enjoyed coming to class every day.’ To be able to say that about a math class, to me, is like, All right. At least I’ve opened the door for the learning. It’s there.

“I don’t look for ways to artificially insert God into my math classroom. Word problems about the multiplication of fish and loaves of bread are ultimately not very effective in teaching high schoolers about God’s love for them. By being my authentic self with my students, I am fully willing and able to live and teach the Christian faith.”

Doyle was recognized during Sunday worship services April 23 at Bethlehem Lutheran, 808 Weiss St. in Saginaw, at 9 and 10:30am.

Valley has a recent history of LEA award recipients. In 2014, Eric Smith was named Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator. Ben and Amy Cooper won the award in 2015. Rebecca Eifert was named 2016 Outstanding New Lutheran Secondary Educator. 

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