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Making learning seem easy

By Maria Haynie

“Eclectic multimedia” is how Columbia College instructor Jon Weimer describes his teaching style.

Eclectic may also define his collection of diplomas: a doctorate in engineering psychology from Texas Tech University, a B.S. in psychology from St. Vincent College and current enrollment in a dual Masters in Jewish Studies/Masters in Jewish Education at Hebrew College.

“I wear half a dozen different hats, but I think the common thread is communicating difficult subjects in the simplest possible terms,” says Weimer.

This clear style of communication is the foundation of this Kansas City-based instructor’s philosophy for teaching. Over ten years in the classroom has convinced Weimer that the “teacher as translator” approach is the best for his students.

“The best teachers, in my experience, are those who can take complex principles and ideas and translate them into everyday language and examples,” says Weimer. “This makes the learning process seem effortless and removes a large portion of the intimidation factor.”

This is helpful for introductory-level students in all of the subjects he teaches. In addition to Introductory Psychology (PSYC-101), Introduction to Computer Science and Information Systems (CISS-170), and Statistics for the Behavioral and Natural Sciences (PSY-324/BIOL-324) at Columbia College, he also teaches courses in business statistics and quantitative analysis for Avila University.

“I lecture to hit the high points,” Weimer explained about his teaching method. “Then I use a mixture of video and hands-on exercises to give students a variety of different windows into the material.”

After teaching for “every adult education institution under the sun,” Weimer appreciates the enthusiasm CC students have for improving themselves and their situations through education.

“They seem to ‘get’ that learning is a life-long process that leads to the betterment of their lives, rather than just a post-graduation bump in their paycheck,” Weimer said.

Applying his gift for explanation in a different way, Weimer also works as a contract technical writer at Ericsson, a telecommunications company. His hobby is playing the video game “Fallout 4” when he’s not busy teaching, writing or studying comparative religion.

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