Lawrence Scott, Ph.D
Show Date: March 20th, 2019
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Lawrence L. Scott, Ph.D.
Asst. Professor of Educational Leadership
Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Dr. Lawrence L Scott’s award as the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2018 Man of the Year, was indicative of his insatiable passion to make an indelible impact in the lives of others through education. He has dedicated his life to changing success trajectories for students at all age levels and demographic backgrounds.
Prior to teaching in higher education, Dr. Scott served over 16 years in the K-12 sector as a secondary teacher, coach, guidance counselor, district-level curriculum specialist, and administrator in San Antonio ISD, a district in which he is an alumnus.
He is also the Executive Director of the Community for Life Foundation, which has given over half a million dollars in scholarships to eligible college students nationally. Due to his passion to create and sustain equitable educational opportunities for all students, Dr. Scott began S.E.N.D. Consulting, which specializes in training educators, counselors, administrators, parents, community leaders and stakeholders on “best practices” to reach at-risk students. He has given trainings for many universities, school districts, churches and even organizations such as Teach for America, SA Youth, Catholic Charities, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He has also served on the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee for the City of San Antonio.
He received his Bachelor’s Degree from St. Mary’s University in Political Science, History, and Education. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling from University of Texas in San Antonio, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word. His research interest include non-cognitive factors influencing academic success of underrepresented populations, leadership development, and teacher efficacy and retention. He lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife Chiara, and his young children, Gabriella and Christian.
Dr. Scott’s Teaching Philosophy
Holistic Education is KEY to Student Educational Success.
Teaching for me is not a career, but rather a calling. As a product of a neighborhood devoid of hope and the ubiquity of impoverishment, I had to make educational choices that were conducive to not just my growth and development, but the development of my family, friends, and the community that helped to shape my worldview. As an educational leader, I plan to use my expertise in educational success to bridge the gap between the empowered and disempowered, privileged and underprivileged, and the educated and uneducated. My philosophy can be simplified by the following statement: To do whatever it takes to help students obtain, understand, and practically apply the information that they learn in any classroom setting. Throughout my teaching career, I have employed several strategies to guarantee learning in the classroom.
Through adequately adapting to the personal pedagogical needs of each student, providing a student-centered environment, and constantly evaluating progress, I have succeeded as a middle school teacher and as a SAISD teacher specialist (teacher trainer). My goal for the first class is to ascertain the needs of my students, while setting a corporate goal for my classroom. This method can be achieved through simply having students introduce themselves and encourage building educational relationships with other students.
As a teacher specialist for SAISD, one of the needs I readily recognized was that I can not mentor each of the 150 teachers under my purview to support; one of my personal goals for my teachers was to empower a cadre of teachers who can help to develop other teachers. Under my leadership, we established measurable results of our networking system because our veteran teachers are constantly reaching out to our novice teachers. We also built a weblog sector on our website to facilitate the communicative valves whereby teachers can share ideas and strategies that have proven to work in their classrooms.
Through our workshops, I noticed that our teachers will not just learn from us, but they learn from each other. I also realized that knowing the student population (pedagogical content) helped me adjust instructional strategies to facilitate their learning. Using collaborative group work, student led-powerpoint presentations, and reflective writing assignments has helped students develop their multiple intelligences (audio, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic) and modalities of our students (Gardner, 1993). Creating a student-centered environment will give students the confidence and leadership to guarantee their success in my classroom and beyond. Invariably, I encourage students to get involved in the discussion and not learn through passively receiving deposits of information, such as a banking system (Freire, 1972).
I plan to train teachers how to maximize student participatory learning through group presentations (technological integration), off-campus extra-credit opportunities, and personal reflections to help them practically apply the information they are learning. As a middle school teacher, I named my class the “Zone of Success!” Each student was well aware that failure was not an option. I empowered a leadership team (a President, Vice-President, and cabinet members) that would help organize and control the educational climate and culture of the “Zone of Success!” My leaders would help refocus those who were off-task, make announcements, and lead discussion groups. To this day, many of my leaders from the “Zone of Success” are leading in their respective high schools under various capacities. When you empower and influence others to lead,
you build their confidence and open the door for them to believe and see their leadership potential (Maxwell, 1998).
My teaching philosophy can be summarized by the following 10 principles:
- All people can learn! Despite socioeconomic background, age, culture, and ethnicity.
- Open the heart of the student, and you will open the mind of the student. New York Times best-selling author John Maxwell quoted in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If students know that you truly care for their well-being, they will allow you to help them reach their fullest potential.
- Two is better than one (collaborative learning). When you involve group activity, you allow others to take responsibility for the learning task.
- Kinesthetic activities increase learning. Make the learning experience more than passive note-taking or book reading. Giving students the opportunity to pragmatically apply what they learned will increase their learning retention and potential.
- Learning is a life-long process. Allow learners to be the experts. Each learner has specialties to contribute to the group’s learning experience. John Maxwell quote: “People take part in what they help create.” When you keep student expectation high, students will rise to the challenge. The implication is to take the experiences of the learner and make the content information understandable and relevant.
- Show learners how they can be successful (competent). People gain momentum when they see the finish line. It is important to goal set as a group as well as individually. As an instructor, it is my duty to help students recognize their learning process through metacognitive, reflection-based techniques.
- Involve Debriefing and discussion. Give learners a chance to explain their decision making process. This will allow students to remain accountable for their learning.
- Be a facilitator not just a teacher. A facilitator’s role creates dialogical exchange. Dialogical exchanges eliminates barriers for learners by providing an environment conducive to successful learning processes.
- Keep a learner-centered approach. It is important that I recognize the learning styles of each class, each group, each student. Knowing the various learning styles of my students will facilitate any instructional modifications that need to be made.
- Continue to evaluate my progress. I must be cognizant of the need to improve my instructional style, research methods and deliberation, and relationship with the students, faculty and staff, and the surrounding community. As I grow as an instructor, my students should become more knowledgeable with the content and gain a greater zeal for learning.