One by one, the crowd enters the large auditorium to take their seats. As a man dressed in a black suit enters onto the stage, he instantly commands everyone’s attention. Within seconds of speaking, the crowd is throwing their heads back with laughter. The tears go rolling down cheeks simultaneously. Everyone is mesmerized, but this isn’t a comedy show or a magician. This is a typical communications class taught by the one and only, Alan Goodboy.
Don’t be fooled, Goodboy is actually teaching. With his unique style, the students are absorbing every word he says. Goodboy has his doctorate in instructional communication and interpersonal communication. He is well trained to know that students react better to this style of instruction. He is knowledgeable of instructive humor and instructive relevance, “If you use humor in the class room your students will learn more because they like what they’re learning more. They’ll attend class more, they’ll get a kick out of it, they’ll pay attention more and they’ll take better notes.”
One of Goodboy’s students, Jennifer Rinaldi, commented, “Although Dr. Goodboy is known for being funny and creating an entertaining learning environment, it is his ability to make students look forward to going to class, and his genuine concern for his students’ success that makes him such a great professor.”
Goodboy explains a concept called student affective learning, as well as his teaching philosophy, “If you make students like you, and you make students like what they’re learning, it increases their cognitive learning.”
When asked if he ever worries about how students perceive him he replies a simple but endearing, “No.”
Goodboy, 31, is not new at this. He has developed a very comfortable approach to teaching. He has been teaching since age 23. Throughout most kids’ careers as students, they have seen their teachers’ colors change the moment an adult walks in the room. Goodboy doesn’t adapt depending on who’s in his presence. His humor, personality, and charm come naturally.
Goodboy is open with his students and he treats them like adults. In fact, some of his students are adults. He is not intimidated by the non-traditional students in the classroom, and he doesn’t change anything about himself.
He talks easily about things that he knows his students can relate to. He asks about slang, the phrase “going HAM,” and “The Jersey Shore.”
This goes very far with his relationship with his students. He never wants his students to feel like his classes are pointless and not see the benefit in the real world. He uses the term “take-aways” which are concepts students can use in their real lives.
“I talk to my students like how I would talk to my friends, my family members, and treat them like adults,” Goodboy says, “We talk about serious subjects, but can be relaxed about it.” He also explains that a lot of times books treat college students like kids, but he thinks that they are smarter than that.
When teaching a class that encompasses a lot about relationships and drama, he isn’t shy when he discusses parties or partners. In return, his students aren’t reluctant to speak up and participate, despite the fact that Goodboy does not score based on verbal participation.
But how can anyone be so confident in what they are teaching? He wasn’t always like that; he used to worry about how others saw him. Before coming to Bloomsburg, Goodboy had “only” published three articles. He has now published 42 in some of the best journals, and has received awards of excellence to top it off. He is currently developing a text book for the University. He says that his research informs his teaching, and his teaching informs his research.
He is an incredibly achieved doctor in his field of expertise, and is ranked as one of the top communication scholars in the country. He has been rumored to be number two and three in past years, but he is certainly one of the top five. His current rank will come out this year.
Goodboy is more than a professor to his students, he is an inspiration. While most teachers try to glaze over their past mistakes, he embraces his. He doesn’t hide behind his past because he believes in his students. He admits that he wasn’t always on the right track. He knows a lot of teens can identify with this, “I like to instill this idea in students that despite the mistakes we make…you can still excel and do something really important in your life and not continue with those bad decisions. I like giving students hope.”
Now, those same people who mentored and helped Goodboy, want him back as a colleague. He is excited to be going to West Virginia University in the fall but, “I have nothing bad to say about Bloomsburg, it has been very, very good to me.”