Learning & Teaching Philosophy

Professor X & the X-Men

My philosophy on teaching and learning is rooted in social constructivism. Whether I am working with students one on one, collectively in a group, or guiding collaborative activities where students are interacting with one another, I find myself constantly in awe of the ideas and skills that come to life through their learning. In my own teaching and learning experiences, I have found that sometimes the most powerful learning occurs through unplanned activities that arise as a result of the collaborative efforts of my students. Thus, I feel that it is my responsibility to design my courses in a way that carefully transitions my role from that of the teacher, when direct guidance is necessary, to that of a tutor, when reinforcement or redirection are needed. I also believe that an engaging learning experience transcends traditional boundaries by tapping in to the opportunities afforded by technology. In the end, my ultimate goal is to help my students help themselves, fostering critical thinking and problem solving skills that enable them to work both independently and collaboratively as they transfer their knowledge to situations outside of the classroom.

Preparing students to identify and fulfill their learning objectives requires both patience and careful observation. As an instructional designer, I am quite familiar with analyzing a situation to determine if a performance gap is due to a lack of motivation, resources, learning, or a combination thereof. As a teacher, I have become skilled at learning how to adjust my teaching style and delivery methods to maximize social learning theories that allow my students opportunities to exercise self-regulation, self-determination, and self-perseverance. For example, simply turning a lesson from one of content presentation to content discussion can have a significant impact on the overall mood and atmosphere of my class. Allowing my students to read or watch a resource and then share their personal experiences and position on the subject is better received than forcing them to listen to me talk about the subject matter. Furthermore, simply providing access to a variety of resources and encouraging my students to explore on their own fosters a level of self-perseverance as they see the benefits of applying the knowledge and skills they gain in my classroom to outside situations. It makes me both proud and humble when a student approaches me to seek assistance on a project outside of our class. This tells me that they value what I am teaching them as well as reinforces my personal goal of remaining approachable and helpful to all of my students.

Through the incorporation of a variety of technological tools, learning has the potential to come to life in whatever way is most relevant to my students. Whether it is a preference for how information is presented or simply a new way of looking at familiar content, incorporating technology into the classroom takes on a variety of different media and modes. From the use of websites and videos as unique resources to incorporating the use of specific software and applications, learning should never be a one-sided or boring endeavor. Moving learners from receivers of information to consumers means encouraging students to take the content and transform it into something entirely new and creative. Creating and constructing is the pinnacle of all of my classrooms. I have found that there is no better measure of skill and transfer of knowledge than to have my students complete a culminating project that incorporates all previous learning objectives and results in a tangible product of which they can be proud and share. By introducing varying levels of technological tools throughout the course of content delivery, I also encourage my students to take advantage of these advancements as they create this final project. In some cases, these projects may be online portfolios to showcase their work. In others, my students create digital stories or videos that demonstrate both what they have learned and illustrate their potential for future growth and production. Regardless of the subject or technology involved, however, I always work to inspire my students to approach every learning opportunity with enthusiasm and optimism.

Powered by: Wordpress