“Giant Pandas.” “Pivotal Strategies for the Education Leader: The Importance of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.” “Is Science Magic?”
The books authored by Benedictine University professor Ovid Wong, Ph.D., – and there have been 26 of them including those mentioned and “Prehistoric People” and “Hands-on Ecology” – are as diverse as the experiences he brings to the classroom.
Nurturing the curiosity-seeker is what Wong strives to do.
“Sharing knowledge and laughter with people is the joy of my life,” said Wong, who earned a Master’s in education from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta.
“The sharing comes in different sizes, shapes and forms, such as teaching, publication and research,” he added.
At Benedictine, Wong shares his knowledge with students seeking certification as teachers and with those who are interested in science, particularly biology, earth and space.
“Science method courses are my favorite,” he said. “The course integrates or hybridizes the best of two worlds – science and education.”
But teaching cannot only be about students learning for the here and now, Wong said.
“I encourage my students to be curious about learning and to become lifelong learners,” he said. “As teachers, we must show students that learning is real and interesting.”
Curiosity has never been a problem for Wong. When not researching his next book or a topic to share with his students, he is active in a number of professional organizations that help satisfy his interest in issues and ideas that will help him and others in the classroom.
“Professional organizations give you the support to grow and learn new things,” Wong said. “A teacher teaches knowledge and skills, and a teacher also produces knowledge and skills. This is where professional organizations come in to help.”
Among the organizations in which Wong is active are the National Science Teachers Association, the Association for Professional Development Schools, and the Association of Teacher Educators.
“I publish in professional journals with successful teaching ideas from the classroom,” he said. “In a way, I reinforce my success in publications and share that with people in the field.”
Wong also shares the professional knowledge he acquires by mentoring students at Benedictine University.
“Mentoring students means staying connected,” he said. “The ultimate student success goes beyond the academics, and this is where mentoring comes to life. I have students as advisees, and I also have students who are interested to stop by and chat.”
Sometimes, staying connected with students requires overcoming some formidable obstacles, like an entire ocean.
“I have a former student, a Master of Arts in Education candidate named Les Meuret, who is currently teaching in Taiwan,” Wong said. “We still share classroom stories across the Pacific.”
Meanwhile, Wong’s enthusiasm for learning is reflected in his books, his membership in professional organizations, his teaching, his relationships with students and his personal philosophy.
“I always tell my students, ‘Love what you do and you will not have to find another job in your life,’” he said.