Most parents like to know about their children’s classes and it would be my pleasure to answer any and all questions parents might have. In the meantime, please take a look at my teaching philosophy—it helps to show what my classes are like. You can also visit my Links for Parents page for helpful websites.
My Teaching Philosophy
At its core, teaching is the transmission of knowledge. To be successful, however, a teacher must guide students to examine not only the “what” of knowledge, but also the “why” and the “how.” Many students, having been conditioned to follow the easiest path to an “A,” are hesitant to dig deeper. It is my job to help my students move past this trepidation and develop the critical thinking skills that will allow them to apply their lessons in the real world, as well as to view that world from different perspectives. This does more than help them in their schooling—it helps them to become more engaged global citizens.
I take a holistic approach to classroom learning, encouraging students to engage in real-world tasks. I find students gain a fuller understanding when more context surrounds the facts placed before them. They also become more involved when abstract principles are broken down to familiar, relevant situations. My classes also feature multimodal and interactive components. Engaging with social media, inviting guest speakers, and helping students to build online portfolios, I move past textbooks and set curricula to help my students to see the bigger picture. This allows them to make direct connections to what we are studying.
I also stress academic writing skills in even introductory classes. No matter what a student’s future vocation is, these skills will prove immeasurable. My students write often and in many different formats, ranging from short journal entries to in-depth critical analyses. By the conclusion of a class, I have conferenced with each student several times and we have discussed the strengths of his/her writing, as well as areas that could be improved.
Robust discussions are also common in my classroom. Though students initially approach these with trepidation, I create an environment where students help encourage and teach each other as I guide the process. Stressing civility and respect, I encourage students to express their opinions regardless of what those might be. These discussions ensure students push one another intellectually and look past preconceived notions.
I encourage my students to continue their discussions and explorations long after class ends. Because of this, I maintain an open door policy for those who wish clarification, have more questions, or just want to chat. These discussions benefit me as well—I have often come to view a given issue from a different perspective. Excellent classes ought to do much more than force a regurgitation of facts. Besides learning the relevant facts, my students become critical thinkers, better scholars, and more involved citizens.