Fall 2001
Vol. 18 No. 3

Burst of Energy

Amazing Discovery

Heart for Teaching

Tool Shed Development

Evolution of a Seal

Samford Ranks Fifth

Class Notes


Little Encourages Students To Master Content,
Develop 'Heart for Teaching'

David Little has been teaching since he was a 10-year-old in Chilton County. "I would teach what I had learned in school to my younger brother and friends from down the street," he recalled. "I charged them five cents per lesson."

A Samford faculty member since 1988, Dr. Little is the 2001 winner of the John H. Buchanan Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching. He received the award and accompanying $1,000 check from Samford Acting Provost Joe Lewis during the semester-opening convocation in August.

Little is director of elementary education in the teacher education department of Samford's Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies. Finalists for the award were nominated by members of the 2001 graduating class.

"Students who nominated him consistently spoke both of his willingness to stay late and do whatever was necessary to help them succeed," said Lewis.

It's understandable why his former students so readily approve of his teaching strategies.

"I wake up in the morning, and I'm ready to come teach," said Little. " Why? I can tell that the students need me. I can see it in their eyes, and through their requests and questions."

Buchanan Award winner David Little says he wakes up ready to teach.

Little teaches undergraduate students classroom management and strategies that will encourage their students to read. He teaches advanced courses in reading strategies to graduate students. He is coordinator of the Samford Summer Institute for Teaching Excellence, a program for outstanding educators, and of the Horizons program for freshman students.

Little's skill and dedication, noted Lewis, contributed to the Samford education school's 2000 National Award for Effective Teacher Preparation from the U.S. Department of Education.

Educating future teachers is more than imparting information, Little believes. "I want my students to develop a heart for teaching as well as master the content," he said.

Little earned his undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of Montevallo and doctorate in elementary education at the University of Alabama. A counseling and psychology major, he became one of the first elementary school counselors in Alabama. But he wasn't happy.

"I wanted to be teaching," he recalled. So he moved to the elementary school classroom for 13 years and ultimately joined the Samford faculty. He believes that experience gives him more credibility with university students.

Little's greatest reward, he says, is seeing Samford students graduate and become teachers.

Thinking back, Little recalls that his childhood buddies still owe him tuition for all those lessons he taught them. Perhaps the Buchanan award check will help erase the tab.