Making sense of concepts through experiences
Associate Professor of Reading and Elementary Education

A finalist for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence. Polly’s teaching philosophy is guided by three primary themes:  a learner-centered curriculum and pedagogy where students are actively engaged, have ownership of their learning and engage in activities based on their needs and interests; a rigorous curriculum that requires them to apply content directly in the context of practice, utilizing higher-order thinking skills; and experiences directly informed by and connected to the work being conducted in public schools.

“I believe learning is an ongoing process that occurs by personalizing and making sense of concepts and knowledge that people encounter through meaningful experiences,” said Polly. “Sometimes a lot of the learning process occurs as individuals apply their new knowledge and skills in situations or activities. In the field of education, specifically teaching future teachers, this point is critical.”

Georgia Walker, a senior majoring in elementary education, stated of Polly, “Having professors that invest in learning empowers students for their future career.”