My philosophy of teaching is based on the belief that student learning becomes more impactful when I can effectively collaborate, communicate, and facilitate meaning making. These three components assist me in building a student-centered curriculum where learning can extend past the classroom. My teaching reflects Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory, which explains that learning is a reciprocal experience. The instructor is not in possession of knowledge instead, helps to stimulate the learning process.
Combining open dialogue, creativity, and technology into classroom activities is essential to engagement for all learning types. I am often the guide through the educational process for students and challenge them to evaluate, analyze, and critically think about learning within the context of various assignments. These include experiential exercises, evidenced based pedagogical research, and lectures infused with Socratic dialogue. This constructivist way of knowing and learning has made me more thoughtful about my contribution to mentor, support, and motivate students. Having this framework contributes to me being more intentional when integrating difficult dialogues on gender, race, culture, and translates into effective practices as an educator. This requires taking risks, asking questions, and incorporating ideas that might not otherwise be included.
Lastly, I realize that I am on a personal mission. I put a great deal of effort into building a safe environment, constructing a diverse and transparent curriculum to become the instructor I wish I had in the academy. My focus is not to allow learning experiences to create cultural isolation or lack of belongingness for any student. “True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” – Nikos Kazantzakis