My philosophy of teaching comes from a wide variety of experience. I have enjoyed teaching positions at community colleges, universities, and flight schools. Though my experience is broad, I have developed a firm grasp of my own philosophy of education. Education is a wonderful discipline because we as educators are always striving to learn the next great educational technique and pedagogy. However, one aspect of education that I bring to the forefront is the student themselves. Without an understanding of the physical, emotional, and psycho-social aspects of learning, an educator may not find themselves effective. As students advance through different levels of education, it is paramount that I am able to encourage students to think not only of themselves, but to think of all of humanity while they go through their studies. As Aristotle says in his Nicomachean Ethics, ‘It is the mark of an educated mind to consider all possibilities without accepting them as true.’ I can only hope that I allow my students to further develop their educated minds through consideration of all possible viewpoints. It is also my hope to implement an environment that encourages students to be critical thinkers of the world, and to encourage critical thinking in their own families and environments years after they have had a class of mine.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to consider all possibilities without accepting them as true.”
As an instructor, it is my job to make sure that students are meeting the goals for not only their courses, but also for their future lives. Personally, I hold myself accountable every semester and in every class to allow the students to see how the material we cover in a class strongly relates to their own personal lives, even when the connection is not obvious. I strongly believe that preparing lessons and activities that include questions that ask the students to call upon current information in the course and tie it back to the course objectives is one of the best ways to incorporate these objectives, but in a way that asks the students to make the connection. As I believe that challenging the students to go deeper than just the surface level of information from the class, providing activities and incorporating discussion questions really asks them to think about these course objectives in more broad and applicable ways than simply in my class.
It is my hope that my classroom is a place where students feel safe and comfortable enough to discuss ideas and ask questions of me and their fellow classmates. Being able to ask questions of peers and the instructor are important in fostering learning for students. I also believe it is important for students to voice their concerns without fear of retribution. Not every student will like the way the course that I teach is designed, and that is their right. I feel that students should be able to come to me with those concerns knowing that I respect how they feel and try to understand why they feel that way. It is also my hope that an enriching environment is created through the use of collaboration groups that students are in all semester. I believe that this provides students with the opportunity to discuss ideas in a manner that is conducive to working with one another and being able to come to a consensus. Both individual work and group work are highly valued in my class, as both skills are absolutely necessary for success in the real world.
My philosophy takes the position that learning is an individual experience and process. There are absolutely overarching theories that contribute to the understanding of learning, but each individual must discover what learning is to them. Each learner must find the personal value in the information being presented and find that motivation to go beyond the surface level of what is being presented. The process through which learners discover these ideas is one that is likely to change as learners grow and mature and experience new phenomena in their lives. I hope to be at once a facilitator, guide, and advocate for each student as they learn.