Dr. Patrick O’Brien

Social Studies and Government Teacher

Patrick O’Brien comes from a small town in Pennsylvania and spent twenty-five years teaching English and American culture in higher education in Sapporo, Japan. He earned an M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawaii. His favorite approach to teaching is to use Hollywood film clips to illustrate a topic, whereupon the class learns to “read” a film. Patrick has a lovely Japanese wife and two young bicultural sons. His favorite activity is cycling, and he is an inveterate tree hugger.

Two Quotations

a. Given the age in which we live, using screens of all sizes to impart information is the norm, so I love to teach students how to “read” a film. It really warms my heart when a student finally exclaims, “And I thought movies were just ENTERTAINMENT!” That’s when I know I’ve been an effective teacher.

b. I’m convinced that learning comes from within, so I strive to motivate students to really engage in the history they’re studying. My background in American Studies gives me the ability to make popular culture a great source for discovering deeper messages from our culture, so I look forward to seeing this happen with Early College of Arvada students.