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Teacher's activities illustrate subjects

Staff writer

Hillsboro High School teacher Stuart Holmes attempts to use activities to illustrate what he is teaching students in his world history, sociology, and current events classes.

On Monday, he had world history students fill out a survey. It included 12 statements about economics and the government’s role, and students were instructed to put a check mark next to each statement they agreed with.

After students filled out the survey and discussed their answers, Holmes revealed that half of the statements were from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations,” and half were from Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.”

During discussion of the answers, without telling the students, he divided the class in half. When students in one half explained their answers, they received treats of gum. The other half of the class received no treats for involvement in class. Holmes explained this illustrates how communism fails to provide incentives for success.

Enthusiasm is crucial to educating students, Holmes said. It is easier for students to be interested in the material if the teacher is, he said.

“I get energy from the young people,” he said. “I enjoy doing what I do.”

In addition to the subject matter, Holmes wants his students to learn self-discipline and work ethic.

“I want to challenge the kids to really strive for excellence in all they do,” he said. “One of my key goals is to help students be successful, meet their goals.”

Holmes coaches cross-country, scholars bowl, and boys tennis. He said he sees extracurricular activities as extensions of the classroom — opportunities for students to learn self-discipline.

“Stuart has great leadership skills, and he does a great job passing those skills to his students,” HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said.

Heinrichs said Holmes is organized and forms good relationships with students.

Holmes is in his eighth year at HHS, and he has been an educator since 1984. He earned his teaching degree from Emporia State University.

Last modified Nov. 18, 2010

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