How do you find your teaching philosophy? How do get to the core of your teaching beliefs and summarize it in a teaching philosophy statement?
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
philosophy of teaching and learning
When you take ideas to places of extremity, they become distorted. “It is not part of my job to make you learn,” Philosophy Professor Keith M. Parsons writes in his syllabus to first-year students. “At university, learning is your job—and yours alone. My job is to lead you to the fountain of knowledge. Whether you drink deeply or only gargle is entirely up to you.”
Earlier this year, a couple of contributions to The Teaching Professor (Haave 2014) and Faculty Focus (Weimer 2014) discussed the place of learning philosophies in our teaching. The online comments to Weimer’s blog post (2014) made me think more about how we as instructors need to be careful to bridge instructivist and constructivist teaching approaches for students not yet familiar with taking responsibility for their own learning (Venkatesh et al 2013).
The quest to identify the ingredients, components, and qualities of effective instruction has been a long one. Starting in the 1930s, researchers sought to identify the common characteristics of good teachers. Since then, virtually everybody who might have an opinion has been asked, surveyed, or interviewed. Students have been asked at the beginning, middle, and end of their college careers. Alumni have been asked years after graduating. Colleagues within departments and across them have been asked, as have administrators, from local department heads to college presidents.
It’s not always easy to differentiate between critical pedagogy, active learning, and the learner- or learning-centered approaches. Each is predicated on the notion of student
Writing a philosophy of teaching statement can make even the most experienced educator feel intimidated. Motivate students? No problem. Juggle an endless list of responsibilities? Check. Make course content come alive? Done. But when it comes to putting their teaching philosophy to paper, it’s hard to even know where to start.