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Meeting Sheila Tobias

Last week I had a very special opportunity that I almost missed…  UBC Faculty of Applied Science invited Sheila Tobias to present a special lecture .  I have learned about Sheila Tobias many years ago. When I was working on my Ph.D. at the University of TX at Austin, my supervisor advised me to read Sheila’s book “They Are Not Dumb, They Are Different”. I remember how big an impression this book made on me. It not only influenced the course of my own doctoral studies, but also my views on science teaching and learning. Later, I found out that Sheila had a very interesting professional path and was one of the trailblazers in the field of science education, focusing on how we engage students with science, how we teach it and what the outcomes of this traditional teaching are… I read other Sheila’s books, such as  “Rethinking Science as a Career”, “Revitalizing Undergraduate Science” and I know she wrote many more.

So I was very excited. I planned to attended this lecture and meet the woman whose work I so much appreciated. I was looking forward to it and I was especially excited that my sister, Svetlana Chachashvili-Bolotin (who is also a teacher) was in town that day. However, at the very last moment, a special Departmental event came up and I had to miss the lecture. Luckily my sister  attended the lecture and then arranged a meeting with Sheila. So after all, thanks to my sister, I had an amazing opportunity to meet Sheila Tobias in person. I am planning to re-read her book “They Are Not Dumb, They Are Different” once again, as it will give me some good ideas for discussion with my future physics teachers. I wish my students could attend that meeting as well.

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