I strongly believe that, as educators, our roles as teachers and researchers are closely intertwined. Hence, an effective research program informs and invigorates the classroom experience. My teaching philosophy in general emphasizes relevance and critical thinking. I often customize my teaching approaches and techniques to the specific learning context. My teaching philosophy is strongly embedded on research-infused teaching. I believe that effective teachers not only convey new knowledge to their students but also help them discover their independent intellectual voice through critical thinking. I continue to strive to create an intellectually challenging, tolerant and relevant learning environment.
The essence of my teaching philosophy is to engage students through personal interaction, active learning and collaborative learning. I believe students are most successful with instructors that interact with them inside and outside of class, have "active learning" exercises that encourage them to "learn by doing" and collaborate with peers both on short, in-class problems and in major, team-based projects. I believe that an imaginary barrier often exists between faculty and students that hinders learning during these interactions and my philosophy is that student engagement and learning can be enhanced by "breaking the barrier."
As a musician and teacher, I am passionate about my work and strive to inspire and empower students to utilize the lessons that they have learned through their studies to become more engaged, productive citizens who will positively impact their communities and the world. My objective is not only to prepare students for their careers by improving their technical and practical skills, but also to actively engage them in their individual learning processes and to provide them the opportunities to develop the critical thinking, listening, problem-solving and communication skills needed to become independent and lifelong learners.
I believe that engineering education is not just about learning how to solve specific problems related to a discipline; it is about learning a way of thinking. My teaching philosophy is to recognize and build upon students' past experiences as I teach them new concepts and conventions. More importantly, I strive to use my subject matter as a medium to help students develop the ability to define and solve engineering problems. This is a timeless skill that will prepare future professionals to meet the growing and changing needs of the society.
In today's fast-changing world, it is important to create a classroom environment in which students can thrive by learning to think critically and develop their own processes for solving problems. Rather than simply learning particular design techniques, architects will increasingly need to understand their role within larger environmental contexts to affect sustainable and positive change across sectors. As such, my teaching philosophy is based upon inspiring students to think holistically and challenge convention in their research and design.
Teaching and learning is more than the instructor assigning reading from a textbook and students completing assignments. Instead, teaching and learning means that students learn to analyze and synthesize information so that they can solve real world problems. As the instructor I create those opportunities for students to engage in these processes so that they are more prepared to speak intelligently about the field, ask relevant questions, and improve educational outcomes for the students with whom they work in K-12 settings.
I think an educator's attitude is a vital component of the learning process; therefore I use my enthusiasm for biology to engage students. In class, my goal is not to have students memorize facts just to repeat back on an exam, but motivate them to comprehend concepts. In all classes, whether lecture or lab, I strive to nurture and challenge students to reach beyond their present and into the future with a deeper appreciation of biology's fundamental role in society.
It is essential to teach a broad and stimulating curriculum to our undergraduate students, which not only installs important core skills, but also focuses on teaching chemistry that is relevant to the future of society. I endeavor to teach fundamental chemistry that facilitates a clear understanding of key concepts, in unison with the use of topical examples.
I think the skills I teach in my courses are skills for life. I teach my students to approach texts both critically and open-mindedly, to apply a patient, sustained attention to everything they encounter from a poem by Browning or Shakespeare to their own writing. I believe the habits of careful noticing and critical reflection, the practice of close analysis and argument, and the willingness to try to inhabit a perspective very different from one's own are all essential skills for any future course of study or career path.
In my literature courses, I guide students to explore the concept of positionality that is, how their life experiences and characteristics, compared with those of others, shape their perspectives on and their actions in the world. In doing so, I hope to deepen my students' capacities for critical self-reflection, while also expand their abilities to bridge the theoretical and historical with the personal and the political. In order to achieve these aims within the literature classroom, I balance a traditional close reading approach to narrative with lessons and assignments that connect our literature to pertinent social issues of the day.
Reading is often a solitary activity, but the skills required to understand the lessons literature can teach us about culture and history are best learned as part of a classroom community. I am deeply invested in creating an environment that validates each student's choice to be in my classroom and encourages her to see herself as an important member of its learning community. My hope in every class I teach is that students will learn the skills necessary to deepen their understanding and appreciation of literature. I endeavor to give them both the confidence and the technology to do so.
Respect and challenge are the two principles that inform my teaching philosophy. Respecting students' knowledge, viewpoints and experiences is critical to cultivating a classroom environment where students are actively engaged. And challenging students to confront their own preconceived notions and think critically is equally important in facilitating their learning process.
As a teacher educator and literacy educator my primary mission is to equip my students who are current and future teachers--to thrive in their teaching situations and to become models and resourceful facilitators for their own students' learning in a highly digital age. My role as a literacy educator is to teach what is constant and important about the process of becoming literate while also leading students into engagement with new and emerging digital literacy practices. I model flexible thinking, enthusiasm for learning, and openness to change. Effective teaching requires resourcefulness and special attention to engaging students in meaningful ways.
My pedagogical approach to teaching revolves around my goal to evoke inspired learning, which entails motivating my students to feel that they want to (rather than have to) learn. When students want to learn, learning outcomes are more effective, long-term and sometimes even life-changing. This is what most motivates and inspires me to continue striving to grow as an educator and have a positive impact on my students' learning experiences and lives.
My goal as a teacher is not to remake students in my own image but rather to model for them, and encourage them to undertake, a process of critical engagement that distinguishes education from mere training. Such critical engagement requires they scrutinize even their most strongly held beliefs — be they about poetry or human nature or anything else that matters to them — that they might discover new and better ways of thinking, making and being.
As a science education professor, all of my efforts are focused on providing my students with the knowledge and skills they will need to create a positive science classroom where every one of their future students are held to high expectations and achieve maximum learning. Based on this foundation, my students and I cooperatively create a positive classroom environment in which we build quality relationships where we learn from one another. In this "safe" space I model and allow my students to create and teach hands-on scientific inquiry learning activities with the awareness that mistakes and setbacks are opportunities to learn.