Teaching context and philosophy
My approach to teaching focuses on three main objectives. The first is to develop within each student the capacity to be a critical thinker and reflective learner. Using a Socratic and feedforward approach I aim to foster within each student the capability to analyse a problem from multiple perspectives and becomes an active participant in their learning.
The second objective is to clearly define the roles of the teacher and students within the classroom. I believe my role as an educator is to facilitate, rather than to instruct or direct, the student learning. My role is therefore to empower students to become self-directed learners. In order to achieve this, I provide a safe and structured environment in which they can develop the confidence and tools to be responsible for their own learning. By providing clearly defined assessments and learning objectives I aim to foster active and long-term engagement with the learning tasks, which in turn promotes student independence (Ramsden, 1992).
The third objective recognizes that students are individuals, with differing learning interests, identities, and contexts. It is important not to make hegemonic assumptions about student learning, as it is an inherently subjective experience formed by these learning identities and contexts (Crossan et al., 2003). I therefore strive to diversify my teaching in order to reach an equally diverse and inherently heterogeneic audience. I provide a blended approach to teaching and learning, offering a range of different learning modalities including flipped classrooms, group work, advanced educational technologies, interactive online content, and a range of multimedia resources to cultivate individual interests in the course content. Research points to the fact that when students are motivated by the content of the course in this way, rather than by achieving high end grades, deep learning is more readily achieved (Bain, 2004).
I take a critically reflective approach to my teaching. I recognize that my teaching philosophy will continue to evolve over time, and that continual improvements are necessary in order to achieve a level of excellence. I believe this is best achieved through the use of reflective self-, student-, and peer-lenses (Brookfield, 1995). As Brookfield (1995) states “a teacher who models critical inquiry in their own practice is one of the most powerful catalysts for critical thinking in their students”.
In this regard I continually self-evaluate my teaching strategies. I emphasise the importance of student feedback through the Myexperience survey; taking note of how learning activities, course design and levels of support are received by the students. I also encourage and seek out advice and critical review from my peers on areas such as presentation style and student engagement.
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Harvard University Press.
Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Crossan, B., Field, J., Gallacher, J., & Merrill, B. (2003). Understanding participation in learning for non-traditional adult learners: learning careers and the construction of learning identities. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(1), 55-67.
Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. (2nd Ed). London: Routledge Falmer.