Dr. Chris Carbone commands the attention of his students with a delicate balance between entertainment and knowledge. Teaching is clearly in his blood—but what students may not know is that teaching is also in his lineage. After years of watching his grandfather teach science in the Camden School District in New Jersey, Carbone caught the teaching bug and now uses his passion to educate students at Holy Family University.
“Teaching was more of a culminating experience,” Carbone said as he relaxed in his seat inside of his office. “My grandfather was a science teacher over in Camden. He got me involved very early. I always had a very inquisitive nature and he sort of inflamed that passion. It was more of an influence from him. It started very early in grade school, progressed through high school, and eventually translated into college. I was always fascinated by him.”
Now in his second year at Holy Family University, Carbone teaches classes in Anatomy and Physiology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Topics in Scientific Laboratory Research. According to Carbone, his specialty is in basic scientific research and medical biology, two of his favorite areas to bring together.
“I’m primarily a scientific basic researcher, but I also have experience in the medical field,” he said. “I like to combine both the medical profession and basic science research into what I teach to give the students a more well-rounded approach to learning the material.”
With a subject matter as complex and robust as the sciences, Carbone believes that student comprehension and engagement are some of his biggest hurdles facing individuals learning the subject. To combat that, Carbone uses a mixture of entertainment, real-world examples, and key subject terms to make the material stick.
“I kind of give the students a head-fake,” he said. “I like to have fun in the classroom and keep the students entertained, while at the same time, you’re still learning. I like to provide practical, real time examples that take the concepts in the book and relate them to the students personally. I try to break concepts down into the simplest possible form in order for the students to understand them. But first and foremost, you have to keep them entertained.”
As the field of science continues to move in a dynamic path, keeping up-to-date with the most pertinent information is critical to comprehension. Carbone is always looking for ways to discover new information and then relay that to his students in a matter in which they’d understand.
“I’m always looking at primary literature, things in the news to update and improve my lectures every semester,” Carbone said. “I go through and update things that are practical in the news in terms of basic science. I read primary literature to see what new and cutting-edge resources and clinical trials are out there. I’m always trying to discover new and current items that are coming out and then relate them back to the basic scientific principles to show them that what they are learning is practical.”
Students in Carbone’s class receive the necessary information to not only understand the material, but also thrive in an ever-changing field, all in an attempt to light the fire inside of them like Carbone’s grandfather had previously done for him.
“The true test of a good teacher is not the number of questions I ask my students that they can answer, but how many questions I can inspire them to ask me that demonstrates they applied critical thinking skills to the subject material,” he said. “I will work as hard as I possible can to ensure the students get what they need out of my class.”