Shawn Holmes, DMD, PhD

Shawn Holmes, DMD, PhD

I’m a passionate, experienced educator and practitioner who makes powerful shifts towards great teaching and meaningful learning.

You inspire people to make conscious choices and to take action. You share your expertise through presentations or trainings, to help people live even better lives.

I work with you to blend carefully crafted teaching frameworks with creativity, intuition and passion giving you the confidence, clarity and freedom to deliver inspiring, transformational learning experiences.  You will discover new ways of engaging with participants, and teach better than ever before. 

 

My journey - Key moments

I love learning. But more importantly, I know that knowledge is in the hands of the learner - rather than the teacher.

In elementary school, I was chosen to participate in a program where fifth graders taught first graders. This changed everything for me.

As I stood at the blackboard chalk in hand (remember the feel of chalk?) I looked at the class of first graders and felt a deep urging to say whatever I needed to say, or write on the board, or explain so the first graders understood the lesson, so they would learn.

At that moment, I knew it wasn’t about teaching - it was about learning.

I started to watch my teachers. I was curious about my own learning and became aware of how I learn, but could also figure out my classmates’ learning progress (or lack thereof…) based on the questions they were asking. Even the order of their questions gave me solid clues about their learning styles and how well they were absorbing the material. It was like working on a puzzle. Each question gave me a fuller picture about what the teacher was missing, needed to explain, draw, or reword and how the material needed to be reorganized.

I began to realize how creative and responsive teaching should be.

Ironically, it was in science class that I began to understand that not everything has a "right" answer, and that true knowledge was an interplay of both art and science - the proven frameworks and the abstract theories. It gave me success in high school and drove a career in science then dentistry. And back to my first love, teaching.

Buduburam Camp. Ghana, West Africa

Buduburam Camp. Ghana, West Africa

The Power of Language & Empathy

I earned a dental degree and had two roles as a clinical assistant professor in dentistry; treating my patients who were HIV positive and teaching dental and dental hygiene students. Both needed more than just my practical skills. Both needed me to understand at a fundamental level what was needed to help them learn. 

The same lessons served me well while treating patients living in a refugee camp in Ghana, West Africa. That experience reinforced what I'd taught my dental and dental hygiene students about patient care, reaching a broader community, and making a difference through teaching.

I transitioned from teaching dentistry to teaching high school science. I've always felt at home in a place of learning. 

My teaching was atypical. When I realized my students used all sorts of tactics to avoid using scientific language because, "Science is for smart people." I started teaching biology as a foreign language. They ended the semester fluent in biology, higher class scores than other classes, and I with long wait lists for my upcoming sessions. 

My creation - a kitchen table that seats four.

My creation - a kitchen table that seats four.

 

 

My interests have always been double-sided; art and science, teaching and learning. 

The classroom was another home for my creative expression and I focused my professional drive on a doctorate in science education. I earned a PhD because I wanted to share my passion for science and learning with a wider audience to have a wider impact. This meant that I needed to reach the source: the teachers. I taught teachers how to focus on learning, and use it to inform every aspect of their work.

My sisters say I’m a professional student. Four degrees might qualify me for that title. Yet it also gave me a ton of experience and confidence!

 

 

What I do

Teach people how to teach.

I have seen what works, what doesn’t and everything in between, and have used it to develop my unique approach to the science of creating curriculum and the art of delivery.

 

 

Turn your knowledge into an influential teaching platform -
Change lives and your business.

Workshops. Coaching. Consultations.

Connect with Shawn!

Shawn Holmes is a former professor in education and has over 25 years of experience as an educator and health practitioner. She has taught; curriculum development, teacher education, ethics, dentistry, science education, intercultural communication, adult education and personal coaching. She holds two doctorate degrees; dentistry and science education, has published her research in International Journal of Science EducationJournal of Science and Technology, and Research in Science and Technological Education. Her approach to facilitating, mentoring and coaching is learner success and reflective dynamic teaching. She is highly skilled and has held several faculty and consulting positions. Shawn has enjoyed living on both the east and west coasts of the US, the prairies of Canada and now makes her home in Victoria, BC.

Let's connect.

Mediation and yoga are at the top of my daily routine list.

I have a sweet spot for my hometown - Philadelphia.

I landed my first full-time job after I took a course in electron microscopy.

We lived in Long Beach, CA where we spent Thanksgiving Day on the beach.

We moved to Raleigh, NC where the summers were hazy, hot and humid. The Lake Park Swim Club was the best place to be.

I love, love, love the changing color of trees during Autumn.

Favorite flower: Black-eyed Susan.

Introduced to my husband by his mother.

Lived in Regina, Saskatchewan during an all-time record breaking snowfall. Too much for a Philly girl and my husband who is from southern California. We moved to Victoria, BC!

Trent, my son, admiring a Chilhuly masterpiece.

Trent, my son, admiring a Chilhuly masterpiece.

Flying over Victoria, BC. Photograph taken by Trent.

Flying over Victoria, BC. Photograph taken by Trent.