As an undeniable Hibernophile, Matthew Yaple is fascinated with all things Irish. Listening to Irish folk music, reading Irish literature and even cooking Irish food rank high on Yaple’s list of hobbies. This Columbia College-Kansas City adjunct instructor’s intense appreciation for other cultures and perspectives comes through to his evening students.
“I get excited about my topic as I get going, and students say that it helps them to get more interested in the topic,” Yaple says.
Yaple teaches early and modern American history and Western civilizations. He received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Over the past 10 years that he has taught at Columbia College, several memorable experiences with his students stand out.
“I’ve had students who served in the Middle East who have told me about their experiences, and that brought a new light to the history of Islam,” Yaple says. “I had a student from Liberia in Africa who had a completely different view of American history than I had ever heard before. It’s also exciting when the students learn new ideas and perspectives that they had never considered before.”
Yaple has the opportunity to work with a great number of students, as he also works full-time as a high school social studies teacher. He also coaches the football team and scholar bowl team. Although he’s very busy, he manages to craft a classroom environment where students feel comfortable enough to engage and share their unique historical perspectives.
“I have been described on evaluations as having a conversational lecture style,” Yaple says. “Students call my class ‘laid back.’ I like to get students talking and thinking about the historical perspective of the time, during both lecture and discussions over primary sources.”
In his free time, Yaple is also interested in perspectives shown through films.
“I’m a big film buff,” said Yaple. “I watch classic movies regularly. I enjoy watching documentaries on movies and movie-makers and reading books