My teaching philosophy
Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.
I don’t know who coined the above maxim, but research shows that it holds true. Engaging students’ higher-order mental capacities (i.e., problem-solving, synthesizing, creating, etc.) gets the information into their long-term memories better and faster.
Learning should be a cooperative venture, and students must do their part. Teachers are not here to simply pour information into their heads.
In order to get students to become enthusiastic learners, we should encourage them to take charge of their educations by helping them arrive at their own conclusions. Their investment of time and effort gives them “ownership” of the process.
Neither are teachers the ultimate authorities. We are team leaders, not “the experts.” My students and I are learning this material together. I should set an example for my students as a knowledgeable and enthusiastic scholar in the subject; to do that I must show them that I too am striving to learn more.
I believe effective teachers must allow room for students’ individuality as well for a certain amount of spontaneity in the classroom. I like to use discussion techniques when possible.
It is important, however, to teach to different learning styles, not just to talk. Some students learn aurally, some manually, some visually, etc. In addition, having them work in pairs and small-group settings is often a better way of getting them to ask for help: nobody really wants to announce to the teacher-especially in front of a class full of people-that he or she doesn’t understand the material.
College can be a stressful experience, especially for new students. This is where the Golden Rule comes in: my number-one priority is to teach them in the manner I would like to be taught-with patience and sensitivity. A teacher should never discourage much less humiliate a student. I do not appreciate an atmosphere of fear in a classroom because fear is the great mind-killer. I feel that what students need most is a sense of confidence-all people perform better when they are confident. Teachers should of course demand and expect good performance from students, but we should raise the bar gradually.
Teachers ought to be kind, gentle and helpful to students in every way possible, although some students will take advantage of this. Nevertheless, we should be careful not to fall into the trap of letting a small minority of manipulators wreck our compassion for all students.
The experience should be stimulating and fun for both teacher and student. If the teacher is having fun, it can become contagious. This phenomenon also works the other way around: the students’ good natures and good humor often lift our own spirits. That is probably the best part for me and what inspires me most.