Friday, September 17, 2010

Philosophy of Teaching

My philosophy of teaching is undefined, evolving, turning in on itself, and I have limited teaching experiences to draw upon. From these, I believe caring about students is a strength I possess and something that matters for students, a conclusion drawn from course evaluations and talking to students. I believe when students feel that a teacher cares about how they are doing in class, this tends to affect them for the better in terms of engagement.

Everyone at different times takes the role of teacher or student, and it has been said that perhaps teaching makes one the best of students. Teaching and learning are two sides of the same thing - to discover. When one has a passion, sharing that passion through teaching brings it alive for the teacher to live again and again.
I have often found it difficult to refrain from the old lecture mode, expounding on a subject to one's own delight, to the detriment of the listener.

While much criticism is heaped on the "old" methods of teaching as a kind of one-way conduit of information flowing from the sage to the student, who is expected to memorize and repeat the facts and figures, there is of course a place for this kind of teaching. We need to know the facts, formulas, and faces of our world. The exciting learning, though, always takes place somewhere in the conversation of ideas.
In this practice we have to let go of assumptions, experiment, fail and find our way back to knowing again.

We learn by making mistakes, as Edison famously said before inventing the lightbulb, "I have discovered 10,000 ways to do it wrong" or something to that effect.
The best discoveries take place within each student, and within each student's creative capacity. Creativity carries a kind of artistic stigma that it belongs to a gifted few, but creativity is necessary for every endeavor - we wouldn't survive without it.
People learn by doing.

1 comment:

  1. I like that "undefined" aspect. How often do we try something one way and discover another way to can reach the same results. When we move into this second way...we see yet a third...It is when we become set in our ways that we have lost that thrill of learning...and sharing...