“Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.”
--Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, "Seven Principles for Good Practice"
Teaching and learning for me are intricately interwoven; understanding my philosophy of teaching is coupled with understanding my philosophy on learning. I teach because I love learning. I approach each teaching situation as an opportunity for me and my students to learn. I look to the classroom as a unique learning environment where questions can be raised and answers sought. On the first day of class and in my syllabi, I position the classroom as a learning community in which thoughtful participation and active involvement is expected.
For me, teaching is not simply conveying subject matter to my students, but rather providing opportunities for students to engage ideas in relevant and useful ways. I use the classroom as a forum to pose questions that push students to think critically about the issues that are important to them and bring them into intellectual dialogue with others. I rely on a problem-posing pedagogical model wherein I present an educational task, generate and address critical questions, draw attention to possible resources, and offer individualized mentoring while students are involved in self-discovery. I strive to create the exigency that allows students to make their own connections and improve on their own practices.
Inquiry and dialogue are foundational to my pedagogical practice. Because I believe that individuals learn best when they are interested in discovering answers to personally relevant questions, my teaching relies on active learning strategies. As an advocate for active learning, I look to the classroom as a social space where ideas can be shared and different points of view can be discussed. In order to facilitate an environment that is conducive to active learning I situate the course as one that relies on social interaction and collaborative learning. Allowing student interests to guide classroom topics can often be unsettling and seem disjointed; however, by allowing the flexibility to meet student-driven inquiry, classes are often more interesting, more relevant, and more rewarding to both the instructor and the students. I encourage students to work together both as co-investigators and as critics in considering the on-going discussion and the audience’s reception of their ideas and writing.
My hope is that when my students leave my class they will use the types of inquiry that that we used in the classroom to engage issues in their daily lives, actively participating in their own educational and life learning.
My method of teaching is best described as "just in time" teaching.