Sample Teaching Philosophy
I believe the fundamental goal of teaching is to foster learning. Learning takes place in many different circumstances and contexts. Although everyone is capable of learning, a student's desire to learn is a vital pre-condition to effectively mastering new concepts and skills. Humans have multiple learning styles: some learn best in lecture atmospheres, some are motivated by discussion, and others absorb best when they read and reflect on what they have read. The classroom setting can encourage or inhibit learning depending on the dominant learning style of each student. Accommodating different learning styles creates an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. Students take many of their learning habits from the instructor. If the instructor doesn't show interest in the subject and a passion for learning, students are less likely to put forth the effort to learn in that class. An instructor must convince students of his or her knowledge and expertise before they will show a willingness to learn.
My job, as an instructor, is to create an atmosphere that fosters learning. I am an instructor because I have a passion for guiding students through the learning process, in addition to a passion for the material I present. One of the best ways to foster learning is to demonstrate those feelings to my students. I encourage learning by creating a relaxed environment for students, stimulating conversation about concepts being presented and organizing material in a way that makes it easiest to understand. I treat subject matter as interconnected, emphasizing that everything students are learning fits together into a holistic understanding of the world, from which they develop their personal worldview. I believe this is best accomplished when I am demonstrating general research methodology. I demonstrate that learning how to find information applies to all areas of life and I use topics and examples that are multidisciplinary. Finally, I believe that respect for my students is one of the most important things I can show - not only to encourage their openness to the material I am presenting, but also to inspire them to respect each other and all other humans.
One of the most important concepts I hope to impart to students is that learning is a process that never ends. For me, the learning process includes improving myself professionally. I want to read more about formal learning theories to expand my understanding of how learning takes place. As I continue to instruct classes, I also aim to enhance my ease and confidence in front of classrooms and audiences. Finally, I plan to experiment with different methods and means of presenting information to classes in order to improve the learning atmosphere I create for students.