Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Philosophy of Teaching

I have been an educator for over 25 years and I truly enjoy working with adolescents—both in the classroom and in the athletic arena as a coach, knowing that sports can be an integral extension of the classroom. I feel that I am able to establish a professional rapport with most, if not all, of the students or athletes in my charge because I make learning fun. Children prefer to take an active role in the learning process, but this only happens when they want to be in your class (or on your team.) By making learning fun (i.e., student-driven and teacher-lead, rather than teacher-driven and student-lead), I am able not only to capture and maintain students’ interest, but also ignite a spark in each of them.

My philosophy and goal each day is to leave class or practice confident that each student has taken away something worthwhile; whether it be some piece of knowledge, an improved understanding of a mathematical concept, or simply more self-confidence. 

The better teachers are those that have not only a mastery of their field of study, but also a way with their students that makes each one of them feel comfortable within their learning environment. 

Students should never feel intimidated by the course material. The “old-school” lecture-from-the-textbook approach is an antiquated and usually ineffective method of teaching. It is vital to be able to reach each student in each class everyday, regardless of his/her comfort level within a given discipline. To accomplish this, I incorporate technology, visual aids, peer teaching, and an overall hands-on approach to my classes. The use of multiple aids not only helps to maintain a fresh feel to the classroom, but it also allows me to make connections with students of varied learning styles. Through my teaching, I challenge my students to be the best scholars and well-rounded people they can be, while instilling in them a life-long love of learning.

As educators in the 21st century, it is vitally important that we adapt our individual teaching styles to best address the needs of our students’ diverse learning styles. 

We are here for our students, not the other way around. Utilizing the humanistic approach in my classroom helps me to effectively address this need. This positive and optimistic view contributes to the idea that people need to take responsibility for their own lives through intelligent choices and decision making. In order for students to realize their full potential, they need to believe in themselves. Ultimately, this humanistic concept promotes the necessity of addressing the needs of the individual student in order for that student’s growth and development to be fully realized. As more and more research is conducted on how best to meet the needs of our students, we will need to be flexible in our classrooms. We must be willing to keep up with the times and address future challenges so that we may be effective educators. We need to be as well equipped as possible to meet the educational needs of our students. After all, they represent our future society.

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