Geology: The Foundation of Everyday Life

Rob Rohrbaugh, El Paso Community College

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Over the past five years I have been a geology instructor for college and high school students in the border town of El Paso, Texas. El Paso also consists of one of the largest military installations in the country. These demographic factors create a very diverse student population, both culturally and socio-economically. Coupled with the student demographic, El Paso also consists of some of the most ideal geological exposures in the country. My geologic study at the University of Texas El Paso provided immense local knowledge of the regional geologic setting, which has become my trademark as a field oriented instructor.

Most of the students I encounter, have had little or no exposure to natural processes or settings. My classes are typically a gateway into the natural world, and my numerous field trips, play a key role in triggering interest into the geologic realm. My foundational instructional strategy is correlating all my class content with everyday life necessities and hazards that can impact everyday life. Sustaining that correlation of content to life significantly enhances content retention and interest.

Having just completed three years of high school instruction, in conjunction with 2-year college instruction, I have obtained unique insight into the typical academic abilities of incoming students. I will utilize this unique insight to provide a transitional instructional strategy that builds academic development for the rigors college instruction.

Constantly evolving my instructional methods for efficiency and effectiveness is a yearly goal in order to maximize both the educational impact and awareness of my students. Creating stronger individuals with a heightened conscious of geoscience is my prime directive.