“Children learn through curiosity, wonder and play,” said Dr. Rebecca Callaway. “If you’re lucky, the love of learning starts early and lasts a lifetime.” As a young student, Callaway observed her most effective teachers and discovered that many had attended the same university. Realizing she wanted to teach someday, Callaway set her sights on following their footsteps to Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) in Natchitoches for her undergraduate education.
Now a professor of instructional technology at Arkansas Tech University, Callaway is well-versed in the grit it takes to obtain a college education. But starting out, she was a first-generation college student along with many others around her. Callaway had a loving and supportive family who did not have the college experience to help her navigate her university education.
Callaway persevered and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NSU. After teaching physical education, computer science, math and English in Louisiana high schools, she enrolled in an educational doctoral program at Louisiana Tech University.
“You go into education to make a difference,” said Callaway. “My thought was, if I got my doctorate, instead of reaching 150 students a year, I could instill good teaching into the pre-service teachers—my impact would be greater.”
By the time Callaway applied at ATU in 2006 for an opening in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, she was enthusiastic about the difference she could make by training pre-service teachers. Remembering the friendliness and dedication of everyone involved in the interview process, Callaway said there was no doubt she would accept once offered the position—Tech felt like home.
Callaway describes her teaching style as constructivist. “I want my students to build on their prior knowledge,” she said. “Then I can guide them where they need to be.”
One of her favorite subjects to teach is research because Callaway enjoys teaching her students problem-solving skills. “I want my students to understand that they don’t have to be scientists or professors to be a researcher,” continued Callaway. “They can take a classroom problem and conduct research. They can hone their own skills and effect change in their own classrooms.”