My teaching philosophy focuses on the educator’s role as a guide to provide access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one’s life and interests. I believe that each student is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow emotionally, intellectually, and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the educator acting as a guide, (2) allowing the students’ natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people.
Even in an online format, 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 like to incorporate my background in Psychology and the Counseling, coupled with real life experiences in the nonprofit and business worlds to demonstrate that learning applies to all areas of life. 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.
My philosophy of teaching has evolved from both being a student and an educator. As I reflect on my beliefs regarding teaching and learning, I find that my mission as an educator is threefold:
- To promote positive learning;
- To spark learner enthusiasm for learning;
- And to ensure that I bring the textbook to life for practical application.